No longer poles apart

EVERETT — The bus rolled to a stop amidst the cheering of youth leaders.

All around New Life Center Church, students piled out of cars, buses and vans to celebrate another year of See You At The Pole, and another year of living their faith out loud.

“It was amazing, there were so many people there,” Rachel Bailly said. “It’s neat to see people at a school come together like that.”

Bailly, like many other teens across the nation, gathered with her fellow students around the school flagpole Wednesday morning. It’s on that day each year that students come together to pray for their schools, teachers and friends.

“I prayed for my family, my friends and especially those who don’t believe in God,” Bailly said. “I felt comforted, that nothing could touch me. The connection I had was very strong.”

The evening event, called See You After The Pole, was inspired by area youth pastors to continue the spiritual momentum created by the morning event.

“This event has been put together by 30 local churches,” Brian Muchmore said. “This is a unique Snohomish County event.”

Muchmore, the Youth For Christ director for Snohomish County, said the event is especially important to promote a sense of fellowship among students beyond their own youth groups.

“The theme is unity. In John 17, Jesus talks about loving one another and working together,” Muchmore said.

For others, it’s a moment to make up a lost opportunity.

“I’m here because I didn’t go this morning,” Taylor Senechal said. “So I’m making it up to God to be here tonight. I got a good vibe that he’d dig it.”

See You After The Pole is in its fourth year and still going strong. Previous years’ events have been at the Everett Civic Auditorium, but lacked the multimedia capabilities usually associated with large youth events.

New Life Center brought the event to their sanctuary this year, which Associate Pastor Shawn Roberts said was an opportunity to fan the flame of spiritual fervor for youth, youth leaders and youth pastors.

“We want this to be a springboard to launch the year for students,” Roberts said. “We want this to be a blessing for the kids.”

Inside the sanctuary, teens and adults worship while a video montage shows students sharing their thoughts and feelings on standing up and standing out for their faith.

“Students come to school and wonder what all these kids are doing around the flagpole. It forces them to live their Christianity,” Roberts said. “My hope is that this is a spark for them to live their faith.”

Reporter Justin Arnold: 425-339-3432 or jarnold@heraldnet.com.

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