RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - As students and teachers around the state gear up for another school year, a Columbia non-profit is reminding people to say a prayer for those within the state’s public school system with new roadway signs.
Vanessa Frazier, founder and director of Christ Teens, developed the “School Prayer Zone” signs that can be found near several schools in Richland County. She first came up with the idea in 2016 and spent the last three years ironing out the details with the South Carolina Department of Transportation.
“We want this next generation coming out of our public schools every 365 days to be productive citizens with wisdom, understanding, knowledge, skills, and ability,” she said. “You know, everything you would want from a graduating class.”
To aid in that mission, Frazier said daily prayer is needed.
“These signs will hopefully encourage people to pray morning, day, and night for our teachers, students, and parents,” she said.
SCDOT said the signs are placed on private church properties and are outside of the highway rights of way. Therefore, the agency said, the signs are a legal addition to the side of the road.
Jane Jorgenson’s husband, Daniel, is the pastor at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Blythewood. The church sits a couple hundred yards away from Blythewood High School. Frazier approached Jorgenson earlier this year about purchasing a sign from Christ Teens.
“Literally on the spot I said, we’re interested. There’s no doubt. We want to do this,” Jorgenson said.
The sign was installed on the church’s property about a week ago, according to Jorgenson, and has received a lot of positive feedback.
“We’ve had people talking about it and even a younger gentleman who is an alum of the high school noticed and thought it was cool,” she said.
Frazier said three signs have been installed in Richland County so far this year. In addition to St. Mark’s Lutheran in Blythewood, Harvest Fellowship Church and Restoration Life Ministries have “School Prayer Zone” signs on their properties. Frazier said additional signs have been installed in Aiken County, too.
“This is a perfect example of church and state,” Frazier said. “We’re staying out of the area of the state but we’re bringing it onto the land of the church.”
Both Frazier and Jorgenson said prayer and religion, in general, is lost upon some in the younger generations. The subtle reminder on the signs, they said, will remind people to say an extra prayer and potentially bring new meaning to students.
“We want a nurturing environment for these kids and I don’t think there’s a greater power that could lift them up than the power of prayer,” Jorgenson said. “Prayer costs nothing. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. It’s not going to hurt anything to say a prayer. I think once you experience the power of prayer in your own life, you’ll be sold for a lifetime.”
Visit this link for additional information on the purchase and installation of a “School Prayer Zone” sign.