Keeping Christ at School
SU’s schools ministry is caught in the midst of great change. Even in the last three years since Stuart Pendlebury has taken up the role of Schools Ministry Director, “the landscape has changed enormously” he said.
“There are many stakeholders in relation to religious activity in public schools, be they government, the school community, parent groups, local churches and Christian groups such as SU. It has become a hot topic, with a wide range of views.”
“While the main target for discussion,” Stuart said, “has been the teaching of SRE, there has been an obvious flow-on effect to the work of SU in schools, which is predominately the coordination of lunchtime Christian groups. We can only operate if the school principal says that we can and kids can only attend if their parent gives permission.”
The way ahead
But the news is not all bad! The number of lunchtime groups across NSW in both primary and secondary schools has grown to nearly 200! And the focus on religion in schools “has helped us sharpen and refine our understandings of working in public schools. We are able to give our volunteers good advice and sound support, and assist them to be more effective” Stuart said.
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