Schools key to the goal (May 2002)

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The Mission Statement

“To glorify God by proclaiming our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ in prayerful dependence on the Holy Spirit, so that everyone will hear his call to repent, trust and serve Christ in love, and be established in the fellowship of his disciples while they await his return.”

Archbishop Writes

by Peter Jensen

To convert ten per cent of the population, schools ministry must be a priority

Schools ministry is a key to the success of our mission and goal. Scripture in public schools and the work of our independent schools must be given high priority. It is these ministries that give us contacts with the largest section of our community.

Several times in the last year I have been invited to visit Anglican schools in the Diocese. Some old and famous, others new and innovative. In all cases it has been exciting to see what is happening and to recognise our vital role in the education of so many children.

At the same time, however, I want to assert the historic importance of public school education. The growth of Anglican schools can’t diminish the importance of state education. Traditionally Christian people have made a very significant contribution to the state system as teachers, pupils and parents. It would be tragic to see the state system without a strong Christian witness.

In particular, I want to emphasise the importance of scripture teaching in the schools. This is an immense privilege, and we need to continue to make the best use of it. I am aware, of course, of the great sacrifices made by many to contine it up to the present, and want to say on behelf of parents and children, thank you. From time to time I meet people who owe their Christian faith to scripture teachers in state schools, and we would be living in an even more ignorant society if teachers had not laboured so faithfully to make children aware of the Bible’s message over the years.

But I do have a question worth debate in the columns of Southern Cross. Given all the scripture teaching and the efforts of our church schools, may we not by now have expected a greater inflow of people into our churches? Can we do more? I know that this is a matter of concern to Youthworks and others as well. Is there anything we can do to improve the bridge from school to church? I’d be interested to see a discussion on this issue.

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