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Teens out to prove God isn't boring

By ELIZABETH CIEPIELA

Staff writer

Last Friday evening, hundreds of teens danced and cheered on a football field at Stadium Bowl in Tacoma. Beyond the French Chateau-styled Stadium High School, a ferry glided across Commencement Bay. Blue skies darkened and clouds became dense with rain. But students danced and cheered and prayed on.

This was no old-fashioned pep rally. It was a Christian rally.

“It can rain on us all it wants, but we’re not going to leave,” said Jason Weichert, one of the organizers of the event, which was named Hope to Reach MORE Light.

The rally was about “people having fun, and realizing that God doesn’t have to be boring, “ he said.

Weichert is a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School and a member of MORE, a school-sponsored Christian club. He said clubs like MORE help raise student morale and encourage students to avoid drugs and alcohol abuse.

Weichert added that MORE is a non-denominational club. Students who have attended meetings have run the gamut from Mormons to atheists.

MORE is just one of local area high school Christian clubs. Fife High’s club is called Hope, and Decatur High’s group is called Reach. Federal Way, Lincoln and Stadium high schools’ clubs are each called Light. Put together, the clubs spell out Hope to Reach MORE Light, members noted.

Stephanie Hansen, a junior at Jefferson and a member of MORE, helped organize the rally, or “blowout,” as MORE members called it. Hansen said the event was the second successful multi-school rally this school year. The first rally took place last December.

The purpose of the rallies was to attract teens –– Christian or not –– to high school Christian clubs. Last Friday’s rally emphasized preaching the gospel through Christian bands, Christian speakers, student testimonies and a break-dancing group called The Way.

“We want everybody to come, whether they are Christian or not,” said Weichert. He said the rally gave teens an alternative to partying.

MORE and other Christian groups decided to attract teens to the rally by including things high school studentss like –– live music and free food, incliuding pizza. Last Friday’s rally featured local Christian hip hop, rap and pop bands such as Out of Mouth, Unforesaken, Soul Deep and MG! The Visionary.

The goal was the same as the goal for the first all-school, inclusive rally: To reach out to more teens through spreading the gospel, giving teens a healthy social outlet, lifting student morale and providing a healthy alternative to drinking and doing drugs, organizers said. That alternative comes in the form of prayer, worship, dancing and personal testimony.

Charlene Brooks, a sophomore at Stadium and publicity manager for the Christian club at her school, said she became involved as a way to strengthen her own spirituality and participate in school activities. She “gets the word out” about the club and puts up posters. She said the club has discussed topics ranging from the importance of truthfulness to what God’s mission is.

She added that the club has discussed how to handle ridicule from other students. Some students have stereotyped the Christian group, believing Christians to be boring. She said students mock the club members, asking, “Can we pray with you,” and laughing.

The club ignores this behavior, but continues to welcome all students to pray with them, Brooks said.

Staff writer Elizabeth Ciepiela: 925-5565, eciepiela@fedwaymirror.com

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