Religious instruction

Religious instruction

Mrs Rowan Shann

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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