Teen rally at Williamstown church

With the idea of sending teens back to school with a new focus and self-awareness, First Baptist Church Williamstown is inviting all area teens to a free rally on Saturday.

The Back-2-School Teen Rally at the church on Highland Avenue will feature guest speakers, a worship leader and breakout sessions for teens as well as their families.

“We think teens in the Valley have had a rough year, with pastors falling from grace, teachers doing things they shouldn’t, the death of classmates…we thought we would offer this rally to give them some guidance as they enter into the next school year,” said pastor Tony Foreman. “We’ve never held a youth rally but, if this year is successful, we will consider doing it again next year.”

The event is free to those entering sixth grade through college freshmen. Chick-fil-A will provide lunch.

Guests will include Christian illusionist Zak Mirzadeh, who has spent the last four years honing his skills for one specific purpose: to capture the attention of his generation in order to “share the good news of Jesus,” according to his website. Mirzadeh converted from the Muslim religion to become a follower of Christ. He will serve as the entertainment for the day.

Clint Thomas is an acclaimed speaker, communicator and author and will speak to teens in Williamstown about the challenges of being a teen, media consumption and bullying awareness.

Lastly, some might recognize guest worship leader Katelyn Read from her season eight stint on the NBC reality show, “The Voice.” The worship leader, wife, mother and singer-songwriter is based in Raleigh, N.C.

“Katelyn is actually from the area originally and spent a lot of time here as a youth,” said Foreman. “She will be speaking to our girls about her experience as a teen mother.”

Theresa Truax, of Vienna, will be attending with her daughters, Bethany, 11, and Sara, 14. She said she has been volunteering with teens for many years and has a deep desire to help them find their path.

“I feel it is a very important event for the teens of our area, especially because of the increased drug overdoses, suicides, the increase of bullying and other negative events in the last few years,” she said. “Teens need to know — and more importantly, believe — that they are wanted, loved and liked no matter what they hear otherwise. They do have a voice to stand up to those who would hurt them.”

Everyone who signs up online will receive a T-shirt and everyone who attends the event will be able to make another T-shirt. For more information and to register before noon Friday, visit fbcwilliamstown.org.

If you go

¯ What: Back-2-School Teen Rally.

¯ When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

¯ Where: First Baptist Church Williamstown, 431 Highland Ave.

¯ Speakers, worship leader, breakout sessions, free lunch from Chick-fil-A.

¯ Free and open to the public; register at fbcwilliamstown.org.