Press Release

MURPHYSBOROThe Murphysboro Education Association (MEA) will host a prayer vigil at Town Center Park (1850 Walnut St., Murphysboro) on Wed., Oct. 9. MEA is inviting all community members, regardless of their denomination, and asking people to begin to gather at 5:15 p.m. with the vigil beginning at 5:30.

“We are asking the community to come together to pray for our students and our schools,” MEA Spokesperson Becki McNeely said. “We know this is an incredibly difficult time, not just for us, but also for every family in our community. We all want the best outcome for our schools and our students. Let’s come together to pray for wisdom and guidance for both negotiation teams.”

All community members are welcome and encouraged to attend. Area faith leaders say the strike has brought an influx of people through church doors looking for guidance.

“Psalm 133:1 states ‘How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.’ It’s certain we have Christian brothers and sisters on both sides of this dispute. Rather than seeing each other as enemies, we should strive for peace and unity,” said Christ Church Elder Hank Fulk. “The call to ‘love thy neighbor’ and ‘value others over ourselves’ remains significant. Our community should not be one of enmity and bitterness, but one of peace, unity and love. May we come together and pray for wisdom moving forward.”

The prayer vigil will promote five ways to pray for our students and our schools:

  1. Ask God to help our minds dwell on things that are honorable, right, pure, lovely and worthy of praise, etc. (Philippians 4:8)
  2. Ask God to bring healing and unity to the community by guiding all hearts to seek peace. (Psalm 34:14)
  3. We all want the best outcomes for our schools and our students. Pray for wisdom and guidance for both negotiation teams.
  4. Ask God to move our hearts to become a district in line with His will.
  5. We know this situation is difficult for all of the students. We know it has affected their lives in many ways. Pray that God would use this difficult situation for good in the lives of all of our students.

MEA declared a strike on Thurs., Oct. 3, after negotiations broke down. MEA and the BOE have been bargaining since March 2019. MEA includes 152 teachers, counselors, nurses and social workers in District 186. District 186 serves 2,047 students.

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The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.