Five churches and 500 people began the school year Aug. 23 with a prayer walk through New Albany to support families in the school district, said Five14 Church pastor Joel Kovacs.
"We love our community and we want to start school year the right way," Kovacs said.
The Light up the Night walk started and ended at the New Albany K-1 elementary building on Swickard Woods Boulevard.
The walk began at 8 p.m. and several of the church pastors and community members spoke during a prayer service at 9 p.m..
Kovacs said participants were encouraged to say different prayers along the route for residents, businesses and the schools in an effort to support the entire community, whether they are members of the participating churches or not.
"Our church loves everybody in this community, every person in it, regardless of their background, regardless if they believe what we believe," he said.
The churches recognize tragedies such as suicide affect the whole community, he said, and the church community wants to make sure people know it is there for all families.
Kovacs said Five14 Church, which meets at the K-1 elementary building, has a program for high school students and their families.
Other participants in the prayer walk were members of the New Albany Presbyterian Church, the New Albany First Church of the Nazarene, One Church and Gracetown Church.
Kovacs said he expects the prayer walk to become an annual event.