The Methodist Church in Britain and the Church of England are calling on congregations to get involved in Education Sunday 2008 on 20 January - when the vocation of teaching and the contribution of Christians and others is celebrated.
The event will be marked in many Anglican, Methodist and Free Church congregations, while the focus in Catholic churches will be on Peace Sunday. Other churches mark UN Peace Day in September, supported by the World Council of Churches. Official denominations now have many 'days' in their calendars, but have struggled to coordinate them because of different ways of working.
In relation to Education Sunday, the Methodists are emphasising that the Church’s interest in education is not just a matter of faith schools and colleges. Indeed Methodism has chosen to invest in community education rather than an expansion of denominational schools.
"For many Christians, their engagement with the world of education can best be explained in terms of a sense of vocation in which teachers, administrators and others seek to be followers of Jesus", says the Church.
The focus of Education Sunday this year is “Come and See”, and both Churches say that the example and work of Jesus in the midst of a culture of 'celebrity' and competing role-models will be their emphasis.
Graham Russell, chair of the Ecumenical Steering Group responsible for preparing this year’s material says: “Today we are still asked to recognise and respond to Jesus. To come and see, but also to go and tell. As we celebrate education, we look to be attentive to Jesus’ teaching and the impact of living out his example in our lives. We remember the gift of teaching and learning that sustains communities around the world as they grow from generation to generation”.
For well over a hundred years there has been an annual recognition in England and Wales of Education Sunday as a “special” Sunday, a national day of prayer and celebration for people of faith in the world of education.
The resources that have been prepared for those planning worship for this occasion have been sent to many congregations and schools. They are also available through many church and ecumenical websites.
The aim of Education Sunday says its organisers, is to encourage congregations to think prayerfully about the world of education in all its aspects, and the countless people who are involved with it.
Says Graham Russell: “We remember the gift of teaching and learning that sustains communities around the world as they grow from generation to generation”.
For more information, see: www.educationsunday.org