“Scripture” – Bible lessons called SRE (Special Religious Education) in NSW – is heading back to school. The beginning of third term has been agreed in NSW for the kick off, and other states may return after that.
Excitement is building. “C3 Church SRE teachers are super excited to be presenting lessons while representing Christ when returning to the classroom shortly,” says Jacqui Mikac, C3 Church’s Scripture in Schools Pastor. “We love working together with teams from other SRE providers, to bring the good news to school students and staff.”
“Our faithful SRE teachers can’t wait to see their students again …” – Craig Roberts
Craig Roberts, CEO of Anglican Youthworks – who provide the widely used “Connect” and “Think Faith” Scripture resources – says that right now Scripture is especially needed in schools. “Before the pandemic, anxiety among school-aged children was reported to be at an all-time high,” says Roberts. “This period of great uncertainty they’ve lived through with learning from home, parents losing their jobs, the risk to their grandparents’ health— on the back of bushfires and floods — has only intensified their worries.
“We know the benefits non-parental role models — like SRE teachers — have on young lives. The return of SRE to classrooms means kids whose faith has been shaken can again hear they are unconditionally loved, with a love stronger than death. That’s why I’m delighted SRE providers of all faiths, Primary Ethics and the Department of Education have worked together to secure the swift return of SRE to classrooms.
“Our faithful SRE teachers can’t wait to see their students again, especially as this term’s lessons focus on some of Jesus’ most famous parables and the people who chose to love, trust and follow him. I can’t think of a better post-pandemic topic for our SRE students to investigate with their trusted teachers.”
Many volunteers have been praying for their Scripture class while they have been away, some using Zoom to pray during their normal teaching time slot. The teams which provide the teachers and student books for Scripture lessons have been busy too, putting material online for families to use at home.
Behind the scenes these teams have been negotiating with education departments and health authorities for a safe and orderly return to classrooms.
Just like full time classroom teachers, Scripture volunteers have the challenge of the health advice – currently for over 70s to stay at home, and for 65 and up with chronic health conditions to be cautious as well. As with classroom teachers, volunteers will get to make up their own minds. Some will face a tough decision.
This means that Scripture will need new volunteers to replace teachers who won’t be able to return, or who may hold off until 2021. And then there’s the issue that, pre-COVID, a cold would not keep you away – but that has changed now.