Good Read November 13th, 2006

Since I work in a parish with a school that shares our building, this story, in the Christian Science Monitor, caught my eye:

"In Britain, families to go church so kids can go to school"

One-third of the state-funded sector - 7,000 schools - are faith-based. Most are Christian (Roman Catholic or Church of England), many of which date back to the 18th and 19th centuries, when churches provided the only free basic education available to poor children.

When the schools are oversubscribed, admission is often governed by regular church attendance and energetic parish involvement. Some schools even require parents to get a document from the local priest attesting to their attendance and commitment. For parents like Allen, a bit of time helping at the Christmas bazaar or hosting a coffee is infinitely preferable to consigning her daughter to a bad school.

"It's been a really great way of getting into the community and getting to know people," she says. "You'll find very few people who get their kids into the school and then disappear."

Apparently folks who don't go to church aren't all that happy about it, saying that the church schools' real mission is to convert people and grow church memberships, but on the bottom line this is very much Jesus-style evangelism-- a way to meet a real human need (good education) and expose each person to faith at the same time.

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