Geography Prayer Fair Lets Students Pray for Others

By Strickland, Sandy | The Florida Times Union, April 25, 2009 | Go to article overview

Geography Prayer Fair Lets Students Pray for Others


Strickland, Sandy, The Florida Times Union


Byline: SANDY STRICKLAND

At the door, the students took off their shoes because they were entering "holy ground."

Then they moved reverently into the room where they looked at exhibits of 30 countries ranging from Australia to Thailand. The student-made displays gave such information as the country's cuisine, industry, history, natural resources, topography, climate, dress and language.

At each exhibit, the students silently prayed. Some reached out to touch a picture or artifact. Others bowed their heads, knelt and clasped their hands.

The event was a geography fair sponsored by Harvest Community School, a unique private Christian school that combines traditional and home-schooling. Though not affiliated with a denomination, Harvest is housed at New Covenant Ministries at 2360 St. Johns Bluff Road on the Southside.

Students from age 3 through grade 12 attend the school Monday through Wednesday and learn at home on Thursday and Friday. Harvest is the only school of its kind in Duval County and one of four in Florida, said founder Jack Wilcox.

The fair added a spiritual element to what the students normally do in class, Wilcox said.

"We wanted them to have awareness of the global community so they would understand different religions and different cultures around the world, how they live, what they eat, what they wear," he said. "Through the school, we want to be able to reach the world."

To signify that they visited each country spiritually, they attached a bead to a bracelet or necklace and added that country to their "passport of prayer."

In another area, Harvest's middle-schoolers did scale-model representations of famed monuments.

Wilcox and his wife, Patty, founded the school in 2000 as an outgrowth of their Family Harvest Ministries, which offers parenting and marriage enrichment seminars. The first year, they had seven families with classes at Calvary Christian Fellowship on the Southside. As they grew, they moved to Celebration Baptist Church in East Arlington. This year, they're housed at New Covenant and have 160 families with 265 students who come from the Southside, Arlington, Mandarin, St. Augustine, Lake City and Woodbine, Ga.

The arrangement gives parents the opportunity to be involved with the education process academically and morally, Wilcox said. …

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