In Review: 2012 Schools’ Ministry Conference
Written by Janene Lewers, Children's Ministry, Youthworks Training
Remembering the value of SRE teachers
"Superb and not to be missed"
These were the words of one of the delegates at the recent Schools Ministry Conference held in early February. The conference attracted over 670 scripture teachers, helpers and coordinators from across the diocese and beyond.
The opening talk from Nigel Fortescue ‘One in Christ, One in service’, inspired all to actively seek oneness, to use the diverse gifts we've been given and to work and build for the benefit of the whole. SRE teachers were reminded that through SRE we are serving God by teaching the Word.
Nigel’s talk was an encouragement and a rebuke to all. Nigel applied the passage in the context of ministry through SRE and was able to share his own experience of teaching over the past 20 years. One delegate wrote “Nigel is the best speaker yet – honest, encouraging, inspiring.”
The seminars (Equipped to Reach Boys, Equipped for Special Needs, Equipped to use Connect, Equipped to Connect through Relationships and Equipped with Great Ideas) were led by Youthworks staff and 4 guest presenters – Bruce Linton, Mary Pickford, Jarrod Booker and Tim Adams. Each of the guest presenters were experienced SRE teachers who shared their ideas and experience with those in their seminars. One teacher said they felt ‘better equipped to start SRE this year, thank you’.
Discovering new resources
At the conferences the new ‘Connect’ website was launched. The website has been developed to assist SRE teachers and provide online resources to help with scripture lessons. Connect is a three-year Religious Education curriculum designed for use in Australian and New Zealand schools. At the ‘Connect’ website, you can download curriculum, view sample pages, and read testimonials from SRE teachers who have used this resource effectively in the past.
The conferences provide great opportunities for scripture teachers to be motivated and encouraged in their ministries and to pick up new ideas that they can implement into their classes. They are also regarded as part of maintaining accreditation for scripture teaching in the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church. The conferences provide the opportunity for ongoing development training and are a good time to meet with teachers from other churches to share and pray.
Connecting through SRE
One of the seminars this year explored how teachers, helpers and coordinators can make the most of the connections that are available through SRE (Special Religious Education). Many teachers shared how they have occasion to build on the relationship in the classroom through scripture and are able to connect with families in the school community. Invitations to church or children’s ministries that happen in the local church (eg. kids clubs, kids church, pupil free days, church stalls at the school fete, working bees in the school by the local church, breakfast clubs and homework/reading clubs) are ministries that we can offer to the children and families in our scripture classes. This is all possible as we are prayerful and expectant that God will work in and through His people as they seek to reach the lost in our communities.
In closing these two quotes from SRE teachers capture the feeling from the 3 conferences:
"It is so worthwhile to gather together like this. Particularly for those who are working with only a few helpers. Gives the big picture. So encouraging to see more younger people getting involved."
"An amazing day sharing with like-minded people…united One in Christ. Praise God."