School starts this week! Wow! It seems only a few days ago we were celebrating the end of the school year and graduation. Time really does fly as one gets older!

It may be hard to believe, but about this time the past two years, I’ve had a certain emptiness in myself. After more than 40 years of educational experience, not going back to school is hard. I don’t miss the week of “inservice” before school starts; I don’t miss the lesson plans, keeping track of textbooks, giving tests and grading papers. But I do miss the students, greeting ones I’ve taught before and meeting new ones. And I miss the staff interaction, chatting in the hall or the lunchroom, prayer meetings, the camaraderie. But for me, that part of life if basically over!

I will still pray for the staff members and the students. I will still be “concerned” over school violence. I will still speak out against the invasion of computers and tablets to the detriment of teacher-student direct interaction. And I will still hope that our Christian teachers and administrators, and students at all levels will take Jesus Christ back to their classrooms with them; they need Him there!

Over the past few years, it has been my practice in Church Talk to discuss the rights of students and teachers “of faith” in our public schools. It’s sad that this is required, but with the beginning of schools, fringe groups, whose main motive it seems to me is to keep Christ and faith out of our schools, gear up and go throughout the nation to see whom they can bully into keeping silent on the matter of faith.

Too often, these propagandizers intimidate school administrators and school boards with threats of legal action or with lawsuits, and the result is that instead of standing up for the rights of students and staff, they wilt under the pressure. So today, just a brief look at the rights of students and school personnel in regard to faith.

“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This is the first amendment to the US Constitution. It is the first of the enumerated rights because it is the basis from which all other rights come. It does not guarantee freedom of religion only in the church or in the home. It gives citizens freedom of religion, both to hold and to practice faith, everywhere! (Possibly the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people is absolute “separation of church and state”.)

So students, here is your “Bill of Rights” in schools: in a nutshell, the First Amendment protects, among other things, your right to free speech and the freedom of expression of your religious beliefs. It also prohibits a school district from being hostile toward any religious belief and expression.

Prayer, the Bible and Religious Conversations: public schools must treat religious expression such as prayer, reading the Bible and religious expression the same way they treat similar nonreligious expression.

Remember students, that the school may limit topics of conversation during instructional time; but if the school gives you freedom to talk or write about whatever you want, then its officials may not ban religious expression.

Religious Clubs: if a school allows other noncurricular clubs, the school must allow religious club. A religious club may meet, use the public address system and distribute flyers in the same way that other noncurricular clubs do.

Graduation: students can talk about their faith in their speeches so long as the student speaker is chosen based on neutral criteria (i.e. grades).

Extracurricular Activities and Sports: Students may pray privately, either individually or as a group, at a school athletic competition, student assembly or other extracurricular activity when school personnel are not involved.

Students may lead pre-activity prayer (for sports, assembly) if the school allows other pre-activity speeches; the school does not control the content of the speech (even if the school reviews the speech for vulgarity, etc.) and it is clear that the speech is the student’s own and not the schools.

Religion in Classwork: Students may incorporate their faith or religion in assignments so long as the message fits the assignment, it is the students’ own work and it follows assignment direction.

Christmas: a school can celebrate Christmas as long as the intent is to educate and not advance Christianity. Schools are also free not to celebrate Christmas. If students are allowed to distribute gifts at a school party, then the student may not be prohibited from giving out their gifts just because the gift includes a religious message.

This is just a very brief synopsis of student religious rights. For a much more detailed listing, including case law, court decisions etc. go online to the website of the Liberty Institute (www.libertyinstitute.org.) They also discuss at length staff member rights and responsibilities.

As Christians, we are commissioned by our Creator and Savior to share the gospel everywhere we go. As Christians, our faith is not something we have, but it is who we are 24/7 and living it out at home, work or school is, or should be, as natural as breathing. This school year, take Christ into the classroom with you.

Don’t be arrogant or antagonistic; be loving and Christ-like. The message you have is the absolute most important message of all time and everyone needs to know that they are sinners, Christ loves and died for them, and they can be saved by grace through faith and become a son or daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Praying for a great 2019-2020 school year for all our students, parents and staff members! God bless you all!

See Overcomer This Week

First it was Flywheel in 2003; then Facing the Giants in 2006; next we saw Fireproof in 2008; then Courageous in 2011; it was War Room in 2015 and this week the Kendrick Brothers bring the next in a long line of Christian movies, Overcomer.

Having watched the preview, I believe this will be another entertaining, thought-provoking, convicting, challenging film that we will not want to miss! The Kendricks have tackled, with grace, tact and frankness a number of current issues that are faced daily. And each movie brings the viewer back to God and God’s Word.

Overcomer comes out on Thursday. Check the local theatres and get your tickets early!

Help4Kids Fundraiser

The Fourth Annual BBQ Fundraiser for Help4Kids will be held Saturday from 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. at Holy Lamb Lutheran Church, 2541 Forestbrook Road in Myrtle Beach. Eat in or take out!

An $8 ticket for adults gets a BBQ sandwich, baked beans, coleslaw and a bottle of water. For $6, children get a BBQ sandwich, chips and a bottle of water. You can grab a sandwich or a bunch to go for $5 each; and a two-pound container of BBQ is available for $20.

This fundraiser will purchase shoes and socks for needy children (and you can also donate new shoes and socks). Email info@help4kidssc.org.

Children’s Books in Every Home

It is the desire of retired local educator Patricia Milley to put into every home a Children’s Bible Story Book. In fact, she set up a nonprofit group called Children’s Bible Story Books in Every Home and they have given away more than 3,000 Bible storybooks to Horry County families since the spring of 2017.

The two chosen storybooks, The Bible In Pictures for Little Eyes by Kenneth Taylor and The Egermeier Bible Story Book by Elsie Egermeier are excellent books, faithful to the Bible. They help parents to instill in their children a Biblical/Christian heritage.

The books are purchased at greatly reduced prices and each dollar donated is stretched. Generally the books are given away as fast as the money to get them comes in.

You are encouraged to donate to this worthwhile endeavor as the Lord leads you and to pray for each book given out (God has promised that His Word will achieve His purpose). There is a new donation option where donors can give monthly through their bank’s pay bill option. Checks should be made payable to Children’s Bible Story Books in Every House, P.O. Box 51593, Myrtle Beach SC 29579.

If you have other questions, you may email Ms. Milley at pmilley@sccoast.net.

Children’s Ministry Conference

Child Evangelism Fellowship of the Greater Pee Dee will hold its annual Children’s Ministry Conference Sept. 7 at Calvary Christian School.

This conference is a great training event and refresher for all who work in any children’s ministry: Good News Club, Sunday school, Children’s Church, etc. Go online to www.cefgpd.org.

Ground Zero News

Ground Zero of Myrtle Beach has the following three events upcoming. On Sept. 21 from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m., you can participate in the National Day of Youth Ministry Training. This is a program for all members of the church youth ministry team. Eight different sessions will be held.

Then on Oct. 13, don’t miss iWorship with Sean McDowell. And on Nov. 16 hear the Newsboys in concert. Go to www.mygroundzero.com.

New Beginnings food distribution

Faith Outreach Ministries of the Grand Strand sponsors the New Beginnings Food Distribution on the third Saturday of each month at the Church of the Resurrection, 8901 U.S. 17 Bypass in Surfside Beach. The event goes from10 a.m.-noon and there are free groceries, free lunch, social services information and a children’s craft table.

Fall dates for New Beginnings are Sept. 21, Oct. 19 and Nov. 16. Phone (843) 215-4500.

CEF Softball Tournament Rescheduled

Child Evangelism Fellowship of the Greater Pee Dee will host its first Slow-Pitch Softball Tournament to benefit Good News Clubs.

The tournament has been rescheduled and now will be held Oct. 19 at 8 Oaks Park in Georgetown. This is a co-ed tournament, teams of 10-15 players, age 15 and over. Cost is $15 per player.

Go online to www.cefgpd.org, phone (843) 365-4233 or e-mail susie@cefgpd.org.

This Event is PLANNED!

Abby Johnson is the courageous young lady that God used to open millions of eyes to the evil of the abortion industry. Her book and subsequent movie Unplanned tell the story of an abortion clinic worker who bought into the lie that abortions are all about helping women. Witnessing firsthand the death of an innocent child in an abortion procedure changed her life and she took on Planned Parenthood and others to share the truth of this heinous practice.

As the guest of Coastline Women’s Center, there is a planned event, An Evening With Abby Johnson.

This will be held on Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. in Christ United Church, Myrtle Beach. You won’t want to miss it. Tickets are now available and I believe this event will sell out quickly. Call Coastline Women’s Center at (843) 877-9653, email to jeannieandcartersmith@gmail.com, or go online to coastlinewomenscenter.org.

Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry

■ Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, 2105 U.S. 501, will serve a fundraiser meal Aug. 31 at 5 p.m. Phone (843) 234-3266 or (843) 655-1503.

■ Bethlehem Baptist Church, 5201 S.C. 905, invites all ladies to More Than a Teacup, 2019 Women’s Retreat. Guest speaker will be Renee Kinlaw and worship time will be presented by Living By Faith, Saved By Grace.

This special event will be held Sept. 7. Session 1 begins at 8:30 a.m. with brunch served at 10 a.m. Session 2 begins at 11:30 a.m. Cost is $15 per person (before Aug. 26; $20 after this date). Make checks payable to Bethlehem Baptist Women of Faith. Contact Lynn Edge at (843) 251-3263 or Nichole Gore at (843) 254-1545.

■ Johnson Edition, an upstate South Carolina sibling group will be in concert Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. in Dogwood Hill Baptist Church, 1040 Mt. Zion Road, in Loris. These young people blend a traditional and progressive sound for all ages and give the message that Jesus truly loves everyone. Phone (843) 756-3450.

■ Homewood Baptist Church, 3296 S.C. 319, invites you to Homecoming Sept. 15 beginning at 10:30 a.m. Musical guests will be Johnson Edition, a sibling quartet from upstate South Carolina. Lunch will follow morning worship. Phone (843) 365-3403.

■ Cherry Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 504 Church St., invites everyone to a Community Health Fair Oct. 12 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

The theme of the event is Health is Wealth: Fitness for your Mind, Body and Spirit. Vendors are needed for the event. Phone (843) 248-4900.

■ St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, 3449 S.C. 65, will be distributing food on the second and fourth Fridays of each month from 11 a.m. until all food has been distributed.

■ Loris First United Methodist Church, 3507 Broad St., has a Blessing Box in the church, and it is available each Friday from 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. This box contains nonperishable food items and individuals in need are encouraged to come to the church at those times. Also, if you would like to donate items, please place them in the box.

■ Dogwood Hill Baptist Church, 1040 Mt. Zion Road in Loris, has a food pantry on the third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m.-10 a.m.

■ Salem Baptist Church, 4008 Salem Road in Aynor, opens its Food Bank on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 9 a.m.-noon. The mission: “We serve Christ when we serve people.”

Myrtle Beach/The Coast

■ The Raleigh Ringers, an internationally-acclaimed handbell ensemble will be in concert at First Presbyterian Church of Myrtle Beach, 3810 Robert Grissom Parkway, Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available at the door or by calling (843) 448-4496. You may also go online to www.myrtlebeachpresbyterian church.org.

■ St. Philip Lutheran Preschool, located at 6200 N. Kings Hwy., is now accepting new students for the 2019-2020 school year. There are openings for 2, 3, and 4-year-olds.

The first day for the new school year will be Sept. 4. Before and After care is available upon request (fees apply). Call preschool director Janice Myers at (843) 449-4322 or visit the Preschool page on the church website at stphiliplutheranchurchmb.com.

■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church Preschool Academy is accepting applications for your child. This small, personal and Christian-based setting is run within a structured program including nurturing learning opportunities with a loving staff that cares for your child.

Cost is $75 per week/per child. Call the church office at (843) 236-1121. The church address is 1226 Burcale Road.

■ Have you ever secretly wished you could try your hand at acting in a small part or have you actually acted before? The Well By The Sea on Forestbrook Road is launching a new Creative Expressions Department.

The Well has a script in hand and is seeking community members from age 5-85 who would like to be considered for a volunteer part in the drama. Speaking parts and nonspeaking parts are available. And there is a need for various volunteer stage crewmembers. No experience is necessary! Email Deborah at personalityprism@gmail.com.

■ Temple Emanu-EL by the Sea, 65th Ave. North and N. Kings Highway, invites you to Friday night service at 7:30 p.m. (Kosher Oneg), Shabbat Service at 10 a.m. (Kosher Kiddush).

Sunday and Hebrew School Registration, Orientation and Pizza Party will be held Sept. 8 at 9:30 a.m. (Students must be accompanied by a parent.) Tuition is $180 per child. Principal is Perri Sullivan.

Current Second Nature Project: we are collecting school supplies to help both the Community Kitchen and Helping Hand. Place in the basket by the front door of the Rosen Center. All Mitzvoth greatly appreciated. Contact Karen Osborne at (843) 446-1060.

Order High Holiday Challahs and Honeycakes at (336) 402-1014.

Rosh Hashanah begins Sept. 29!

Camp Judaea: Israel, Judaism, Nature, Community, Individual growth. For boys and girls age 7-15. Register for next summer by calling1-404-634-7883.

■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, opens its Thrift Store each week, Thursday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. You are encouraged to come out and browse and buy and, in so doing, you’ll be supporting this community outreach. Phone (843) 236-1121.

■ Temple Shalom, 4023 Belle Terre Blvd., invites you to Shabbat services each Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Phone (843) 903-6634 or go online to templeshalommyrtlebeach.net.

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I'm the editor of the Horry Independent, a weekly newspaper in Conway, South Carolina. I cover city hall and courts, among many other subjects. Know of a good story? Call me at 843-488-7241.

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