Education Sunday to focus on "A More Excellent Way"

Wide range of churches to celebrate schools, colleges,teachers and students on 23 January

Too often the media focuses its stories about education on thehigh stress levels induced in teachers and pupils alike by theircurrent experiences of the system.

By choosing "A More Excellent Way" as the theme for this year'sEducation Sunday on 23 January, the churches question some of theunderlying assumptions that have led to this situation. Theirmessage points to the way Jesus challenged attitudes to ambition,success and power, which if taken seriously will help lead torediscovering the joy of both learning and teaching.

Graham Russell, Chair of the ecumenical Education SundaySteering Group, says "Schools, colleges and universities are underconstant pressure to improve their performance and fulfil newrequirements. This approach to education can encourage unhealthycompetition between institutions and undermines our responsibilityto help individuals achieve their full potential. Is it any wonderthat the joys of learning and teaching are so often overshadowed byhigh levels of stress?"

For well over a hundred years there has been an annualrecognition in England and Wales of Education Sunday as a 'special'Sunday, a national and ecumenical day of prayer and celebration foreveryone in the world of education. An ecumenical group hasprepared resources for those planning worship for Education Sundayand copies have been sent to many schools and congregations. Theyare also available on many church and ecumenical websites.

"The aim of Education Sunday is to encourage congregations tothink about schools and colleges, "says Graham Russell. "Manychurches have links with local schools, but there are wider issueswe also need to consider. And we want to offer our prayers andsupport for all those in the education sector: students, teachers,chaplains, administrators, policy-makers and many more."

The following websites are carrying free resources forEducation Sunday:

The Association of Christian Teachers
94a London Road, St. Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1 1NX
Baptist Union of Great Britain
Baptist House, 129 Broadway, Didcot, Oxon OX11 8RT
The Catholic Church Catholic Education Service
39 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1BX www.catholiceducation.org.uk
The Church of England & the National Society
Church House, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3NZ
Student Christian Movement
Unit 308F The Big Peg, 120 Vyse Street, The Jewellery Quarter,Birmingham B18 6NF
The Salvation Army Schools and Colleges Information Service
UK Territorial HQ of the Salvation Army, Newington Causeway, LondonSE1 6BN www.salvationarmy.org.uk/schools
The Methodist Church
Education Office, 25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR http://www.methodist.org.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=pandw.content&cmid=877
The United Reformed Church
86 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9RT