In late 2017, Bernadette Gruber (Director of Domain Development at 4Tucson) learned from TUSD (Tucson’s largest school district) that Booth-Fickett Middle and Elementary Schools were struggling. Historically, these schools were strong on the East side of Tucson. Of late, the schools now were experiencing high staff turnover, alienated parents, and low morale among the faculty. There were discipline problems, including disrespect of teachers, fire alarms being set off, and at least one teacher being assaulted by a Jr High student. Key teaching positions were not being filled as the reputation of the school had suffered.
Bernadette called Al Albritton who worked for the school district. They met with the school principal and decided together that prayer for God’s help was needed. So Bernadette and Al arranged for Jesus Followers to come and pray. Starting in January 2018, people walked the halls of the school every week until the end of the school year. The prayer team was comprised of 2-3 teachers, a few students, some retired teachers, and several adults who cared about kids. Warren Anderson’s “Pastors’ Partnership” group heard about what was happening and sent pastors to pray too. This team regularly walked the property and the playgrounds. They offered to pray personally with administrators and teachers they met in the hallways. This prayer was never refused. There was much blessing and gratitude expressed by the team for the faithful work of all the staff of the school. There also was a crying out to the Lord to intervene and bring justice, peace, and stability. The team also prayed specifically for more churches to come alongside Fountain of Life Lutheran Church, a church partner who helped and supported the school. Prayers were offered that God would be sovereign over the leadership of the school and change, exchange, or rearrange the staff of the school for the benefit of all who love the school.
The 2018-2019 academic year brought a new year and a new administration. The principal is new, as well as other staff and faculty. The school has a new beginning and there are many signs of hope. Also, Immanuel Presbyterian Church has stepped up as an additional church partner with the school. They have long partnered with Fountain of Life to do Haven Totes for students. Now Immanuel has become even more involved and recently re-did the faculty lounge. Covenant Generations Church, across the street from Booth-Fickett, is also considering investing in the school.
God answers prayer, especially when Christians collaborate and prayer for the “peace and prosperity for the city” (Jeremiah 29:7).
By: Dan Johnson, retired pastor