In late 2019, the Coker Prayer Team was formed out of the work of the first Coker Task Force meeting with Dr. Whitesell. Just a few months later, as the Covid 19 pandemic turned life upside down and church services went virtual, the Coker Prayer Team committed to praying together on Zoom each Sunday morning before the worship services were livestreamed. This weekly time of prayer together became not only a commitment but an anchor in each of the prayer team’s personal lives. As the pandemic continued, the prayer team added a specific time of prayer, first for medical workers and then for schools and their staffs on Thursdays, as each played such a vital role in our community. Today, two years later, the prayer team continues to pray together on Thursdays and continues to consider it a vital part of their weekly rhythms.
And today, we see the fruit of these prayers and how God has done exceedingly more than we could have known to ask for or to expect. One such story of what God has done involves Coker’s relationship with Larkspur Elementary. Coker has enjoyed a long relationship with Larkspur Elementary, serving by providing volunteers, financial support, and other donations. Other neighborhood churches have also been in relationship with Larkspur Elementary. In the spring of 2021, these churches decided to work together, primarily to ensure that they were not duplicating efforts or missing opportunities to serve. That simple initial objective quickly grew into the understanding that, by collaborating in a more intentional way, this group could collectively have a much greater impact on the school staff, students, and their families. Working with Larkspur Principal Dr. Cody Miller and Family Specialist Ms. Ana De La Tejera, the Larkspur Community Partners Committee was formed. Today, the committee meets monthly and includes eight churches from seven different denominations and two non-profits, all committed to being in relationship with Larkspur Elementary in a meaningful way.
So, what happens when different denominations work alongside non-profits? Two members of the committee from two different churches stepped up to serve in leadership roles in Larkspur PTA, working alongside Larkspur parents and staff to grow PTA in both numbers and in impact to the school. When the committee saw the importance of supporting school staff in a visible manner, they decided to provide snacks once a month at staff meeting, and the Coker Outreach Committee is planning to work with Emily and Ryan Roberts and their Alon Chick fila to treat the staff in April. When Wesley Nurse Sonia Cavazos elicited the help of an MHM member to donate 900 pairs of new shoes to Larkspur students this coming August, she brought this opportunity to the committee, to help with implementation. When the committee saw how many students arrived to register the first day of school in 2021, many not realizing their immunizations were not up to date, the committee began to work with Larkspur staff, with Wesley Nurse Sonia Cavazos and with both UIW nursing students and Christus Santa Rosa to provide two immunization clinics and new student registration help in August of 2022. And when a Larkspur Community Partner member, The Park Community Church, needed a financial partner to help fund the Snack Pak 4 Kids program at Larkspur, the Coker Permanent Endowment Committee granted a generous gift to support this vitally important program at the school.
These are just a few of the ongoing collaborative projects being implemented at Larkspur Elementary, projects that no one church or non-profit could manage alone. But collaboratively, across denominations that include Coker UMC, Woodland Baptist, San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene and West Avenue Compassion, The Park Community Church, Covenant Presbyterian Church, St. George Episcopal Church, Churchill Baptist, Larkspur Christian Church and the Girl Scouts of San Antonio, this committee holds hands with the school staff in a way that benefits everyone.
Coker pastors have reminded us that the world is still our parish, encouraged us to avoid the divisiveness addressed in the first chapter of 1 Corinthians and encouraged us to show our faith in action per John 13:35. The Outreach Committee has supported this relationship and the Permanent Endowment Committee has generously funded a partnership with another church and a non-profit to address the unacceptable issue of Larkspur students facing food insecurity. And in the summer of 2020, the Coker Prayer Team prayed for our schools and for Larkspur Elementary, and God is still answering that prayer today, in a much bigger and more inclusive way than the Prayer Team could have ever imagined.
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV
To be a part of the prayer team or volunteer with Larkspur, contact Robyn Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org