Meet the woman who has spent 56 years teaching Scripture
Name: Joan Hawkins
Years spent teaching SRE: 56
SRE teacher at Tregear Public School
Attends St James’, Mt Druitt
Why do you teach scripture?
“In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 God tells us, ‘I am the one God, love me with your whole heart… teach it to your children… as you walk… on the gates, on the doors…’ Be at it all the time. And Psalm 78 too, ‘We will tell the next generation the wonderful things you have done.’ [These kids] they’ve got to know about Jesus. They’ve got to know about his salvation. And for most of them, SRE is the only place they get to hear it.
"I just wanted to be a Good Samaritan to you"
“I don’t expect any reward, because Jesus has done so much for me. He’s forgiven me and made me a child of God. I belong to his family.”
Do you ever have the opportunity to meet former SRE students as adults
“Over the years, I’ve had so much respect from people that I’ve taught. There’s so many of them that talk to me at the supermarket.”
“A few years ago, I went to buy petrol when the prices were really high. A little red car drove along next to me and filled up. The woman went in ahead of me to pay and when I came in, the fellow behind the counter said, ‘Your petrol’s free today.’ I said, ‘Oh, go on!’ thinking he was joking but he said ‘No, no, look behind you. She’s paid your petrol.’ The woman from the red car was just about to walk out again. She stopped and said, ‘I don’t know whether you remember me, but you taught me Scripture at Tregear. I just wanted to be a Good Samaritan to you’.
"You really know you belong to the body of Christ"
“This young fellow was brought into the hospital when I was at Blacktown [with a broken hip]. He was put in the bed opposite me in the ward. I was sitting in the chair. He said, ‘You’re very familiar. How would I know you?’ He would be in his early 30s. And then it clicked. I said, ‘Where did you go to school?’ He said, ‘Tregear’ and I said, ‘Well, I’ve been teaching Scripture there for 48 years!’.”
[Joan got to meet the young man’s family and had the opportunity to share God’s love with them.]
How important is local Church support to you?
“You really know you belong to the body of Christ [through SRE] – all the local churches working together – and especially all the prayer support you get.”
“Two women at a neighbouring church bought the SRE teacher’s manuals for everyone in the whole area for over 10 years. These things are such an encouragement. The new [SRE] teachers, they need a bank of prayers behind them.”