Students bring Bibles to school

The Rev. Gary Smith, New Providence Baptist Church minister of education, looks through a Bible with third-grader Kaylynn Kerr at Loudon Elementary School.

Students across Loudon County, like many of their counterparts across the country, clutched Bibles as they walked into school the morning of Oct. 3.

National Bring Your Bible to School Day has been an annual event for five years, but it wasn’t until this year that New Providence Baptist Church encouraged youth to take their Bibles to school.

“The purpose of it is, it’s through Focus on the Family,” the Rev. Gary Smith, New Providence Baptist Church minister of education, said. “It’s a national event. It’s called ‘Bring Your Bible to School Day.’ We’re just trying to get Bibles out and let people know that they can bring them to school. That’s the big thing. Then we try to get kids to bring a Bible and maybe even give a Bible away.

“Last year, there were about half a million kids (nationwide) registered that did it, and so we’re shooting for a million this year,” he added. “It’s hard to get them to register because they’ve got to do that online.”

The church expected 40 students to take Bibles to school. Students put up fliers around the school to let other students know about the event.

“(Loudon Elementary School) Principal (Christie Amburn) told me one of the third-graders was walking down the hallway and was holding her Bible, and she said, ‘I’ve always wanted a Bible’,” Smith said. “‘Never had a Bible. I just prayed I’d get one when I was in the third grade, and I’m in the third grade and I got one today.’ So that was real cool.”

LES cafeteria worker Karen Ridge joined in on the Bible-based event and bought a case of 18 Bibles to hand out at school.

“I knew that legally or however you want to put it that we could have Bibles in school, so I just felt led to buy a case so that way the kids could get it if they wanted it,” Ridge said. “Whatever they do with it is between them and God.

“I mean, if it can get them close to God, because some of these family situations I know are bad,” she added. “If it can help plant that seed in their life or even if they lay it down at home, you know, maybe a parent or brother or sister can be led. That’s what we’re supposed to do is plant the seed.”

Ridge said the Bibles were gone within 30 minutes.

Third-graders Natalie Pinkston, Kaylynn Kerr and Adriel Ketner brought their Bibles school in commemoration of the annual event.

“I wanted to bring my Bible to school because when you bring your Bible to school, you can share the gospel with people who have heard and never heard,” Pinkston said. “That gives them a way to have a better life.”

Her philosophy on Bring Your Bible to School Day uplifts the day’s purpose.

“If they bring that Bible and set it on their desk, which they’re encouraged to do because they can do that, it’ll just initiate questions,” Smith said. “‘Why’d you bring it? Why do you read it?’ That’s where the connection comes in. It has to be a one-on-one thing to make it work.”

Religion-related events have to be organized by students under law, Smith said.

“We don’t actually do anything because anything that you do in the school, religion or Bible-related, has to be initiated by the kids,” he said. “If they wanted to during lunch, they could go out and read their Bible, or during recess or any of that stuff. We don’t have a Bible study for them or anything like that.”