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Sunday May 29th, 2016 7:57AM

Prayer groups meet for third straight day in Hall Co.

By Staff
GAINESVILLE - As Hall County students gathered before school for a third day of prayer Friday in light of a legal threat from an atheist group in Washington, DC, community members gathered at at least one off-campus site to pray for students, coaches and teachers.<br /> <br /> The American Humanist Association (AHA) this week sent a letter to the Hall County School System, the Hall County School Board and Chestatee High School demanding that the system forbid coaches from participating in prayer with Chestatee's football team. The AHA claimed in its letter that it was making the request on behalf of a concerned citizen.<br /> <br /> Since the letter was made public, students at Chestatee have gathered for pre-school prayer on War Eagle Field behind the high school. Students from other Hall County schools have rallied around the students at Chestatee and held prayer vigils on their own campuses.<br /> <br /> Lakewood Baptist Church in Gainesville hosted a community prayer session Friday morning at 8, in an effort to alleviate some of the numbers of adults that had shown up on the CHS campus. The additional vehicles had caused traffic problems on Thursday morning. <br /> <br /> An estimated 60 people attended the informal prayer service at Lakewood. Noting the continuing emotion over the issue, Pastor Tom Smiley encouraged those in attendance to act with kindness toward those who hold opposing views.<br /> <br /> "So let's be careful as we go about talking about this issue and speaking to people about this issue that we speak about it in a Christian way," said Smiley.<br /> <br /> Another Gainesville-area church, Montgomery Memorial Baptist, plans a service Sunday morning to tell parishioners what their constitutional rights are as Christians. Jason Lester, the Area Director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, will speak at the 11 a.m. service.<br /> <br /> The Hall County School System has not said yet what it will do in response to the request in the letter from AHA.<br />
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