From the Start
Greetings and I hope this note finds you well. We feel it is important to inform folks of the history and developments which has taken place since the founding of Prayer Matters, Inc. on Friday January 19th 2018.
West Branch Varsity Athletic Events have traditionally held a prayer before every game for over 40 years. That tradition was halted on January 18 when the school district received a “cease and desist” letter from the outside Freedom From Religion Foundation based in Madison, Wisconsin. The letter references prayer before the Canton South Wildcats at West Branch Warriors Boys Varsity Basketball game on January 5. The group threatened legal council on the school district, prayer was stopped on January 18 forward, and on January 29 the school district superintendent sent out an email informing parents. In response to this, Prayer Matters was formed by students and parents of West Branch High School. Prayer Matters is a non-profit organization supporting and promoting spiritual growth and accessibility in public arenas. All proceeds will go to funding this mission.
One evening our family discussed the issue in length wondering why the school would stop our traditional prayer and is it that important if it is discontinued. Somewhere through our conversation, my son chimed in and said “prayer matters”. So our family decided the next day we would talk with a local silk screener and print Prayer Matters on tee shirts and sell to anyone throughout the community that feels prayer should remain before sporting events. Well, we sold over 500 tee shirts in our small community. Our goal was to show administration they have support to make a hard decision and secondly raise a couple bucks in case they get sued for making that decision. What we did not realize was other local schools would begin participating and even getting their school logo on our Prayer Matters tee shirts.
Somehow, (I say by the grace of God) we had an opportunity to appear on Fox and Friends to simply tell our story. After that we have received massive support around the country. We have now sold over 5000 tee shirts as of beginning of March.
In the meantime, my wife and awesome community folks scrambled to set up shipping ports, fulfillment tables and quality control centers in a banquet hall. Meanwhile, my energy went into finding the best most aggressive attorneys to help fight with us since now we have national support. In the process, again…by the grace of God, our local House Representative Tim Ginter stepped into my office and gave me a couple contacts that might help our cause.
Once again by the grace of God I am now communicating with the Chief Legal Council at the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation. They tell me “We have been working on a school board policy regarding prayers, and our hope is to finish up the policy shortly. Our plan would then be to approach the high school board to determine whether they are willing to adopt the policy. If they are and the FFRF continues to threaten, we could then defend the policy that we believe would pass a constitutional challenge. Thank you for your action on behalf of the team and school”.
Ironically, I received the completed policy yesterday and submitted to our Superintendent and School Board.
So at this point we will wait and see if this policy is extended or adopted and once it is we will be communicating with other interested schools that would like to adopt the same policy.
At this point, proceeds are being held to see if any organization wishes to advance legal action against West Branch and the potential of courts seeing this policy as unconstitutional and paying ordinary expenses.
We have a pending copyright and filed with the IRS and state for non-profit status. We sense a need to take a stand and protect the love and grace of Jesus Christ, not just in schools but everywhere.
Founder, Brooke Pidgeon