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Christian youth missionaries evangelising in school

(8 Posts)
nameforaday Sun 10-Jul-11 22:11:50

i have been having a bit of a disagreement with my DS's secondary school over their 'Christianity Day' run by a local evangelical group which reaches out to the 'lost' in schools through RE lessons, assemblies and lunchtime clubs other thread here...

Researching the group that came to my sons school (STEP in St Albans) I realised they work with most schools in the district, and that there are many other similar organisations going into schools all over the UK.

Have any other parents or teachers come across this organisation or those like it, and what has been your experience?

faeriefruitcake Sun 10-Jul-11 23:16:32

Let 'em in then allow all the other faiths to have a group as well. As long has everyone has a police check it's fine. And I do mean all, Satanists, Pagans, Muslims, Jews etc should check with local centre for faith and cultural diversity for guests.

The students who want to go will, mostly they are seen as a joke. The RS dept should be presenting a balanced view unless they are a faith school

nameforaday Sun 10-Jul-11 23:31:27

Just to clarify - this group is given time to present in compulsory lesson time (RS) and a whole day, whole year group Christianity Day, also compulsory, although they do also run a lunch time club for those who are interested (voluntary).

hiddenhome Mon 11-Jul-11 20:39:50

What are you worried about in particular or is it just a matter of principle?

Perhaps you misunderstand the message that Christianity brings. We're not all Bible bashing, sandal wearing, babbling lunatics you know grin

If you want your child to learn about other faiths then you can also arrange to visit a synagogue, temple or mosque if you give them a ring, they'll be glad to show you around and explain what they believe in.

nameforaday Tue 12-Jul-11 08:48:36

Hiddenhome - yes it is 'just' the principle of it (and nothing to do with the footwear). I don't think it is appropriate for schools to hand over teaching authority to a group who use it for the purpose of evangelising to a captive audience of teenagers.

What I am afraid of is that it is a corruption of education. These fears were confirmed in the case of the group that came into my DSs school as they told the children that there are good reasons to think that dinosaurs and humans may have coexisted, and that scientists can't be certain that the world isn't 6,000 years old shock.

I have had a long AIBU discussion on this and I'm confident that I am not. I started this thread to see if others have come across such groups (but I realise now I may have started it in the wrong place..)

hiddenhome Tue 12-Jul-11 19:38:29

I've never come across groups like that and my dcs go to Catholic schools.

For what it's worth, all you have to say to your children is that people's views do differ and that they should read information about the world for themselves.

Just keep them off school for the day if you're that distressed about it.

WillowFae Thu 14-Jul-11 22:58:51

Just out of interest, why do you think this is the wrong place? Yes, a lot of people who post on this board are religious, but does that mean we can't contribute? I did read the thread on the AIBU board and was appalled and saddened by not only what the group said, but also by other Mumsnetters reaction to the very idea of Evangelical Christians sad

I haven't come across this group as I'm not from the area. However, as an RS teacher I would say that if they are going to be invited in (BIG if) then it has be be balanced out.

As well as an RS teacher I am a Christian. However, that is my personal religious belief and although it does of course influence all areas of my life, I approach my teaching from a neutral point of view. I decided NOT to allow Gideon to come into school to hand out Bibles to Year 7 students because I do not feel that it is the right place for something like that.

Nameforaday Fri 15-Jul-11 00:01:34

Hiddenhome - I doubt (m)any Catholic schools would invite a Protestant group in to promote a different brand of religion to their pupils, so I'm not surprised you haven't come across anything like this. I think these groups tend to target community schools rather than faith schools.

Willowfae - I just meant that it seems like this board is mainly for discussion about religion by people who are interested in it/committed (which is fair enough) but since these groups are targeting the 'unchurched', parents who have come across such groups might not hang out here at all, so would miss the thread.

I'm interested in your views as an RS teacher though. The Gideons came in the same day and gave out New Testaments. I thought the whole thing was inappropriate. It's not a question of balance between different religions being learnt about (and non-religious viewpoints) it is I think that about the difference between having an external speaker (vicar, priest, imam, rabbi what have you..) in to speak about their religion, but the RS teacher retaining control of the learning objectives, teaching and learning, and what happened in this case which was that the teaching for a whole day was handed over to a group with a prostylitizing agenda.

Can I ask you:
What is your reason for not letting the Gideons in?
Do they have groups like this in your area, and would you invite them in?
Does your SACRE give any guidance on allowing missionaries into school?

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