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Religious instruction

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 Contents - Feb 2014AD2000 February 2014 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: In defence of marriage - Peter Westmore
Evangelii Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel: Pope Francis' challenge - Peter Westmore
Victorian Inquiry: First report into clerical sex abuse released - Peter Westmore
News: The Church Around the World
Pope Francis repeats world peace plea
Protecting the family: building the home - Carmen Pavia
iWitness 2013 retreat: another young Catholics success story - Br Barry Coldrey
Art: Interview with Tommy Canning: art in the service of truth
The Holy Spirit: "Lord and Giver of Life" - Anne Lastman
The transforming power of Eucharistic Adoration - Fr Joel Wallace
Letters: Protecting the unborn - Bob Hogarth
Letters: Religious instruction - Mrs Rowan Shann
Letters: Spirit of Vatican II - Murray Cook
Letters: Religious freedom - Keiron Long
Letters: Climate propaganda
Books: MANALIVE by G.K. Chesterton - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: THE IMITATION OF CHRIST by Thomas a Kempis - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Books: TO BONEGILLA FROM SOMEWHERE, by Wanda Skowronska - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Support: Fighting Fund ends on high note!
Books: Order books from
Reflections: Australia Day: A time for thanks and commitment - Cardinal George Pell

Religious instruction classes in a great many state primary schools across Australia and New Zealand use "Connect" material produced by Christian Education Publications (CEP) in Sydney. This is associated with Youthworks (formerly the Board of Education, Anglican Diocese of Sydney).

I have used material from the Board of Education for 28 years, teaching at lower primary (Grade 5) level in a local state primary school. It used to be excellent. In recent years, Easter has been progressively dumbed down, until in 2013, there was no Easter lesson in the first semester, but children studied at length the problems caused by Absalom and Adonijah.

There was one lesson on Easter in mid-September, followed by an account of Peter, after Jesus had risen from the dead and gone back to His Father in Heaven, telling people about Jesus. One day he told lots of people 3,000 if them and they all decided to follow Jesus. There was no mention of the Holy Spirit.

The Upper Primary teacher's manual for this particular lesson did include the words, "God sent the Holy Spirit", but didn't elaborate further.

I wrote to the new Anglican Archbishop of Sydney expressing my concern, and received a soothing letter from the Archbishop's Executive Officer.

I have always given my class five Easter/Pentecost lessons, using earlier "Connect" material, but unless religious instruction teachers, individually or collectively, have supplemented the "Contact" lessons, children are missing out on the essential core of our Christian faith.

I hope anyone involved with children who are attending religious instruction courses will check out what is being taught.

Warwick, Qld

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 27 No 1 (February 2014), p. 15

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