Moderator of the Uniting Church in WA, Rev Steve Francis, and his wife, Kim, recently received a special YouthCARE Award. It was presented by the Shenton Christian Council in recognition of fifteen years involvement in teaching Christian Religious Education (CRE) at Nedlands Primary School.
The CEO of YouthCARE, Stanley Jeyaraj, presented the award, noting the long history of religious education in public schools. In 1893 an Act was passed in the WA Parliament for the administration and delivery of what was then called Special Religious Instruction (SRI), predominately provided in those early years by ministers and priests. By the early 1970’s the Churches Commission on Education (CCE) was established, with the sole purpose of providing Scripture in public schools.
By the 1990s, the CCE included pastoral care in its mission which led to the adoption of ‘YouthCARE’ as its trading name and the beginning of chaplaincy in schools. The huge growth of chaplaincy has perhaps overshadowed the ongoing need to continue the ministry of Christian education in primary schools.
Steve and Kim Francis believe that part of the mission of God to the local community is to be involved with a team of trained and faithful teachers in the task of helping children and young people come to understand the core teachings of Scripture.
Steve commented that “despite the busy timetables and growing secularism in many schools, the door remains open for this important ministry. Going into the local school week by week was a great challenge and privilege; ministry with children must always be high on a church’s missional agenda.”
Image: Rev Steve and Kim Francis receive the YouthCARE award from CEO, Stanley Jeyaraj.