Sitting in the media center at Eastern Christian High School, the scene there would best be described as beautiful. Over 60 people are praying out loud, speaking different languages, yet there is a sense of universal love echoing around the room. People show their worship in different ways - some have their hands raised up, others are bowing with their hands folded together. Some are praying as loud as they would talk, while for others there is barely a whisper.
This was from a part of the Eastern Christian Prayer Summit, that took place on December 4. This event was the result of efforts from multiple different groups and people from EC, combined with parents and pastors. For many, this event was the fulfillment of prayers that had been spoken for months, including Mrs. Leah Genuario, yearbook and journalism teacher.
The summit was not something that just came about easily, but an event that was carefully put together. “The Eastern Christian Prayer Summit grew out of some discussion on some of the revival happening at the high school, and how can we provide an environment where transformation is sustainable,” said Mrs. Genuario. “Part of that is partnering with local churches and families. It was an idea that was really born out of the understanding that something is happening at EC.”
Much of the planning that was done from this event was by the Project Focus group and a few teachers. “We invited pastors from the top ten sending churches, pastors that have been cleared to speak in chapels, and pastors that Project Focus students had a connection to. Through that, there were a number of parent pastors invited as well. In the end, we had sixteen pastors that RSVP’d yes,” Mrs. Genuario stated.
The Thursday Project Focus group served as the primary time to plan the event. “A number of students came up with questions to ask, and then other students came up with the format for the prayer,” Mrs. Genuario said. “Also, the students worked together to invite the pastors. It took a lot of manpower to pull the summit together, but everyone took it up equally, so it was overwhelming for any one party.”
However, there were more adults that came to the event than just parents and pastors. Mrs. Genuario said, “Simultaneously, there has been a Parents in Prayer group that started in October, that were also invited. The invitation was extended to parents outside of that group, too. It’s hard to know how many people showed up but if I were to guess, I’d say it was about 75.”
According to Mrs. Genuario, the event “was really a time of praying for our local communities of faith, for our national communities of faith, and then praying for revival to hit our area and the world. After praying, we finished off the summit with a time of brainstorming and ‘what happens next.’”
Mrs. Genuario was present at the summit itself and thought that the discussion went very well. “In my small group, I thought the discussion was excellent. Some of the general discussion focused on the importance of a child having strong access to the church, family, and school, and what happens when one of those legs breaks down,” she said. “There were some really great ideas tossed around, and a lot of excitement over what the Lord was doing in the area.”
A pastor who attended the summit, Pastor Richard Jones, felt the same way about the summit as Mrs. Genuario did. “It was amazing to see the response of parents and pastors/leaders,” Pastor Jones said. “Honestly, I expected it to be a gathering of about maybe 15-20 pastors/leaders, but was blown away to see the collaboration between EC students & staff along with the parents and pastors/leaders.”
Pastor Jones also thought that it was significant that the event truly was student-led, and how the teachers were open to student’s thoughts.“I thought it was great that the students of Project Focus were leading the event. Equally important, was that willingness on behalf of the EC administration/staff to open to the students contributing and leading,” said Pastor Jones. Mr. Jones also felt that “There was an openness to hear from God and a heartfelt desire to share with God challenges that the Christian community faces.”
Another pastor who attended the summit, Pastor Will Reinmuth, also thought this collaboration between the attendees was important. “I saw students leading administrators, teachers, parents, and pastors to come together and seek the Lord in prayer together. There was a joy and unity as we realized that many of us have been praying the same prayers, and experiencing the same call to prayer. It was wonderful to see the servant leadership of our students, leading with humility, courage, and expectation.”
Pastor Reinmuth felt that the summit was true proof of just how much God is working in EC, truly through the youth and the prayers spoken. “I heard confirmation again and again of revival through our youth! There was a strong call to prayer and repentance, accompanied by the zeal for the Kingdom to come at EC as it is in Heaven,” Pastor Reinmuth stated.
While there were multiple types of prayers done during the time, one of the more unique styles was simultaneously out-loud prayer, towards the beginning of the summit. “Hearing all the different groups during the prayer time was just so beautiful,” Mrs. Genuario said. “I was touched by the unity, passion, and excitement in the room, and I think the chapel right after was a testament to the Lord working at our school.”
The chapel that Mrs. Genuario is referencing took place minutes after the summit ended. Pastors and parents were invited to come to ECHS’s chapel if they had the time to. Many pastors were able to do so, and what happened in the chapel, with a message spoken by substitute teacher Mr. Philip Strangolagalli, was truly an incredible and unexpected movement of God.
To Mrs. Genuario, this chapel was something that had been slowly approaching the school for some time now. “We’ve had a series of excellent Bible teaching in the chapel, with awesome testimonies, and I think that the Lord is ripening a harvest here,” she said. “What happened during that chapel was somebody decided to do something completely different in a chapel setting than what’s normally done, and they gave a direct alter call for people to surrender their lives. Because the spoken message of the chapel was so short, it really provided enough time for people to actually walk down to the front of the auditorium and pray.”
“I would say it was almost a culmination of what the Lord had been preparing for weeks, and it was such a visual picture of the Lord answering our prayers,” said Mrs. Genuario. “It was so beautiful to see the body of Christ in various generations working together.”