Community members remained calm and patient inside the Jackson County Board of Education meeting room Monday afternoon as they waited on a decision from the board regarding complaints about faith-based activities at one high school.
The board met in a closed session to discuss potential litigation over the complaints that were filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).
And while the board met, the people prayed. They also sang "Amazing Grace," and shared personal stories about their own lives and interactions in school with "Bible Man," Horace Turner.
Complaints cited by the FFRF include visits from Turner, a Christmas program featuring religious songs, prayer before athletic events and a church sponsored breakfast for athletes and band members.
But even the complaints and possible banning of Turner from the schools didn't stop people from sharing stories about "Bible Man."
Pisgah High School student Zachary Goff remembers his elementary school moments with "Bible Man."
As a child, Goff said, Bible stories shared through cutouts on Turner's felt board made all the difference in his understanding of the Bible.
"I learned more from 'Bible Man' than I did at church. The 'Bible Man' made learning the stories of the Bible fun," said Goff. "We were never forced to go see 'Bible Man'. It was our choice."
Goff was one of the many crowd members that spoke up.
Some individuals read Scriptures from the Bible, while others led prayer and shared personal life stories and testimonies
The common thread was Turner's teachings.
"During our birthday month, 'Bible Man' would give us a coin with the Scripture John 3:16 on the back," said Goff. "I still have mine."
Another gentleman recalled Turner's story about a lighthouse and how "the love of God is with you whereever you go."
"I might have lived life bad for many years, but I never forgot 'Bible Man' teaching me about the lighthouse," the man said. "And the day I let Jesus in my heart, I remembered that old story."
Todd Smith shared a Scripture from Joshua 1:9 and reminded people about the day prayer was removed from schools.
"We sat back and said prayer would never be taken out of schools and then it happened," said Smith. "We can't sit back any more."
Once the board returned from executive session and announced that "Bible Man" would not be taken out of the schools, crowd members stood up and cheered.
After the meeting was dismissed, Smith asked if it would be OK for everyone to pray one more time.
"It seems we do a lot of asking God to do things, and when he comes through we never thank him," said Smith. "This (decision) is truly something to be thankful for."