With a push for our church to be more aware of our engage and evangelise opportunities, informed by our strong conviction that the gospel is for all (and that we’ve been tasked to take it to the ‘ends of the earth’), it’s my pleasure to let you know about what’s happening in one of our frontline, community-facing ministries… primary school SRE (Special Religious Education).
Historically, St Michael’s Cathedral has been teaching SRE in 4 local primary schools in Wollongong. However, since our merge with Corrimal, the number has now doubled to 8 schools! Including some schools we haven’t taught in since 2020, due to COVID. Now with 8 schools and 31 classes we reach over 450 students weekly with the good news of Christ; faithfully taught by 22 teachers. Indeed, 8 of these teachers have multiple classes a week and many more jump at the chance to cover extras when others go away for holidays.
Schools have traditionally been a political minefield when it comes to ensuring time for faith-based learning, but the commitment and love of our teachers (and the fact the kids love them because of it), has led to positive relationships with each school, especially with the classroom teachers and coordinators of SRE within the school. Please pray that coordinators and classroom teachers within the schools, as well as families who attend continue to advocate for SRE in their schools as increasing access to all sorts of learning opportunities can pose a threat to SRE if it’s seen as irrelevant or unnecessary.
As well as our half hour each week in schools, SRE teachers invite the children to our various programs here at St Michael’s such as Kids Club, Youth group, EFL and Playtime (for younger siblings) as well as one-off events like Carols on the Lawn and our Pupil-Free Days, in the hope that they’d be connected with a loving community of believers.
It was so encouraging to hear from some of the children at our latest pupil free day event, BrickMasters, who didn’t seem to know any other children, that they’d come because they’d been invited by their SRE teachers! One girl remarked “I don’t think I’m supposed to be here, my family doesn’t believe in God…” but she was reassured by our loving leaders that she was exactly where she needed to be! A place to get to know God more, to share what she learns with her family (who had dropped her off knowing it was a church event) and decide for herself what she thought of God. Please pray for her and her family and the many others who came that day, and thank God for our faithful SRE teachers.
God is doing wonderful things in Wollongong through his children of all ages. Be encouraged!
Meaghan Gates | Children’s Minister