A reflection for National Volunteer Week, celebrated in May.
EACH week in NSW some 10,000 Christian volunteers devote time to teaching children in our public schools about their faith. Working for the Diocese as the SRE co-ordinator I am constantly amazed by the faithfulness and generosity of these volunteers.
To me this represents a reflection of the astonishing kindness and bounteousness of the God we serve. Some SRE (or “scripture” as it is commonly known) teachers work at more than one school. I am currently trying to put together an accurate database of all of our Anglican SRE teachers and from the information I have to date, there are some volunteers teaching up to eight lessons each week.
I have come across one volunteer in her 70s, Irene Hemsworth, who teaches three lessons in a row at Maitland Public School, and drives to Bolwarra Public School and teaches three more. She then teaches at Nillo Infants School the following day. Of her motivation to do this, Irene said, “I teach SRE to bring the good news about Jesus to the children (and teachers) in our schools. For most children, this is the only Christian education that they will get. I really enjoy teaching SRE, otherwise I don’t think that I would be doing it!
“In the past, it was much harder, but now we have the teacher in the room, curriculum material to use, and training, so it is much easier,” she said. A signifi cant number of our SRE teachers have faithfully delivered lessons for many years. It is not uncommon to fi nd volunteers who have been teaching SRE for 10, 20 or over 30 years.
There are so many examples of goodwill: churches providing free use of their buildings for training of SRE teachers, accountancy fi rms providing free auditing of Christian SRE accounts, professional educators providing SRE training days for free, churches sharing publication and design services, the list goes on. I would also include all thecontributions that volunteer SRE teachers themselves make through providing their own CDs, craft and other resources each week for their scripture classes. When I refl ect on my own faith, I see the lavishness of a God who loved us so much that he sent his own son to die in our place. I see a God whose love is so high, wide and deep that we cannot fathom it. My prayer is that through our wonderful SRE volunteers we will continue to refl ect this love to the children we teach each week, and to all involved in the provision of SRE.