From Rod Yager, Association Secretary
Pennant Hills & Cherrybrook Christian Education Association Inc.
Back in March, I attended an event held at Parliament House to celebrate Special Religious Education. 300 people gathered from across the state to recognise the contribution Special Religious Education makes to our community.
The event provided an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of a range of SRE teachers: the most remarkable, to my mind, being that of Maureen Power, a spritely woman in her 90’s who has been teaching SRE continuously for over 75 years. We were also able to hear a couple of recent SRE students speak about the impact SRE classes have had on their lives. One of these was Tom Yanko, who attended Cherrybrook Technology High School, and it was moving to hear him talk with passion and enthusiasm about the things he had learned and the example he had been shown by Peter Murphy and others during his High School years.
It was also heartening to hear from the politicians who spoke. The education minister, Mr Piccoli, spoke of the importance of ensuring quality time for SRE classes, and described himself as an active advocate for SRE in public schools, with an intention to support and strengthen SRE. The opposition shadow minister, Carmel Tebbutt, whose 11year-old child attends SRE classes, echoed this support, assuring us that Labor’s strong support of ethics classes in no way diminished our support of SRE in public schools, noting that many parents will not choose public schools unless they can get the religious instruction of their choice.
Senior officials from the Education department also spoke, emphasising the important role SRE plays in schools, as it contributes to the moral and cultural development of students, fosters a sense of belonging, builds relationships with the community and allows schools to better cater for the rich diversity of their students.
But, as much as we delight in being able to serve our community in this way, this is not why we teach Christian Studies in our local high schools. Our motivation comes from the fact that we know that “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17). We know, from our own experience, the transforming power of the Gospel, and this compels us to make the most of the opportunity we have been provided to share the message of salvation through Jesus Christ with the more than 3,000 students who attend Christian Studies classes at Pennant Hills High School and Cherrybrook Technology High School each fortnight.
The continuation of this work is only possible through the continuing support of those who understand its importance. Please continue to pray daily for our teachers, Peter and Graham, for the students in their classes and for the many members of the wider school community who are impacted by the witness of the Christian Studies program. Please also pray for the provision of the financial resources needed for this life changing ministry, and prayerfully consider how you might be able to contribute, either through regular monthly giving or through a one-off contribution to our annual appeal. Your partnership with us in this work is greatly appreciated.