Religion in schools again

With the ‘Trojan Horse’ claims that schools in Birmingham were the targets of takeovers by Muslim extremists, the place of religion in schools is back in the news again.

Perhaps it’s worth recognising that the schools involved are in England, and that they are what in Scotland we call non-denominational schools, ie not formally linked to any church or other religious group.

Earlier this year, I spoke about the place of religion in schools in a sermon. I wrote as a parent, a school chaplain, and a member of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland.

You can read the sermon here. Comments welcome!

Peter

A faith for fools- sermon for 2 February 2014

Please see below for more information about Religious Observance in Scottish schools

Old High St Stephen’s, Inverness
Sunday 2 February 2014: Year A, Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

SERMON
Texts: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Matthew 5:1-12

A faith for fools
In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

This week I spent two days in Coatbridge, attending a meeting of the General Assembly’s Church and Society Council, of which I’m a member. I joined about a year ago, having been nominated both by the Presbytery of Inverness, and an existing member of the Council. They needed to have someone from the Highlands, and of course their work is to do with Christianity in public life, a topic I’d been looking at in my study leave the previous year in the United States.

We were mostly revising the reports to the General Assembly, which covered a dizzying array of topics. There will a report on the changing face of family life, on sport from a Christian perspective, on welfare reform, on Scotland’s relationship to Europe, and the continuing conflicts in the Middle East. Also reporting as part of Church and Society is the oldest committee of the General Assembly. The Education Committee was set up back in the nineteenth century, to keep an eye on developments in our state schools. And just before we met this week, education policy was suddenly all over the media. Continue reading

Home Groups for Bible study and mutual support

This Bible study group are using the Poverty and Justice Bible which highlights more than 2,000 verses that spell out God's attitude to poverty and justice. Click on the image for more information.

This Bible study group are using the Poverty and Justice Bible which highlights more than 2,000 verses that spell out God’s attitude to poverty and justice. Click on the image for more information.

This week saw the first meetings of our new Home Groups.

The aim of the Home Groups is to provide places to allow people to get to know others in the church better, to grow their faith, and to provide mutual support. It is also an activity to which new members and enquirers can be directed to (alongside Christian Basics). This is based on experience of other churches, where it seems people integrate best if there is a small group they can be part of, as well as the larger Sunday gatherings

David Anderson will be the Home Groups Co-ordinator, with the groups supervised by the Minister and the Education Action Team.

2 groups will be set up initially, and adding more as required.

Groups will meet in a different home most weeks, times to be announced in the bulletin and online.

The study material to be used will be provided by the Minister. Initially this will be material from Roots based on the Lectionary for the following Sunday. David Anderson will ensure that the leaders have access to the discussion material.

Leaders of the group will lead the discussion, ensure that there is a venue week by week, and report back on progress to the Minister.

Thanks to David Anderson for agreeing to co-ordinate, and Chrissie Lacey and David Martin for agreeing to lead the first two groups. Any other volunteers to lead should contact Peter.