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Christian Prayer Club looks to the light


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Joined by linked hands, eyes closed and in a circular formation, the Christian Prayer Club begins their meeting joined in prayer for the victims of the Florida Parkland shooting, explaining how thankful they are for their safety and security.

 

The club has been relatively popular in the past, with a sizeable number of students coming together with peers of the same faith. However, club director Ross Howatt has been increasing efforts to bring in new faces.

 

Howatt said that bringing in guest speakers and having monthly meetings at the pole in the front of south building is all an effort towards encouraging students to join, but “the club is limited as far as what we can do in the school.”

 

In public schools, teachers and faculty are not allowed to spread their religious ideologies among students. At times, this can be a subject of controversy since Illinois law only allows for a small amount of non-instructional time for students to freely exercise their religion.

 

“Even though I’m a Christian, I can’t preach, I can’t teach and I can’t read scripture,” Howatt said.

 

Despite this, he said the club is like a “comfort zone,” where students can share their ideas, prayers and thoughts with people that have the same beliefs as them.

 

“I want students to know that there are people out there that are not ashamed in their beliefs,” he said.

 

There has been a significant decrease in the amount of teenagers that participate in religion and religious activities. The growing trend of individuality in society, the more progressive nature of youth and several other social shifts occurring in the 21st century can be attributed to this.

 

According to Pew Research center, “compared with their elders today, fewer young people say that religion is important in their lives.”

 

However, senior Antonio Archilla explains how he believes that more young people being involved with religion and spirituality can advance our culture and society.

 

If we as young people learn how to share and listen to others’ spiritual values appropriately, society can begin to progress into an era of empathy and understanding between people from all religious backgrounds. I believe that’s where faith oriented communities come in,” Archilla said.

 

The idea of students being afraid to express their Christianity has not been a subject of concern for the club in the past, but several members of the club emphasized the importance of a safe space for their ideologies.  

 

“Faith and religion can be very touchy subjects in today’s society,” he said. “This club helps young people express their religious views in a safe environment.”

 

Due to the controversies and arguments surrounding religion and school in the media, sophomore Asia Gardner describes how lucky she feels to have a club like this at her school.

 

“I go to church,” Gardner said. “But being surrounded by youth is great because they go through the same problems as you, and they can relate to you so you don’t feel left in the dark.”

 

The Christian Prayer Club meets every Friday at 3:15 p.m. in room 104 in North building.

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Christian Prayer Club looks to the light