Being ‘faith literate’

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A few days ago I dropped in to one of our church schools. There was a wonderful sense of purposeful activity. There was evidence of how the children are working hard, developing their skills in literacy, numeracy and computing. Amid a very urban setting they have made some green space in the school grounds. It was so good to see how they have been looking at matters of faith. Like most other schools they have been working on values to do with kindness, personal integrity and reliability. But they have also been thinking seriously about the distinctive content of Christianity.

Of course nobody can function fully in the modern world without being able to use words and numbers, and we can only guess how much more significant computers will be for people who are children now as they grow up. As we come near to the beginning of another school year, it’s important that we think about the need for young people, like people of any age, to be ‘faith literate’.

One of the reasons why we have church schools is to offer children the opportunity to see why an understanding of the world and of what it is to be a human person, based on a vision of God’s creative love, Jesus as the model of a life fully lived, and of the future hope God holds out to humanity, is of a different order from an understanding that doesn’t have those things within it.

Teachers show how important literacy is by being excited themselves by words and stories and poems. Similarly, if the work that is done in our schools in matters of faith is to mean anything to young people, then it’s vital that they can see what a difference a Christian vision makes to people of every age. Let’s meet that challenge.

The Ven Paul Ferguson, Archdeacon of Clevelandpaul ferguson

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