School Ministries Ohio, which helps Christians bring the word of God’s love to public school students, is looking for area schools and churches to participate in programs beginning in the fall.
The “Released Time” program allows children to have a Bible study during the school day. Mike Jones of Kinsman, who attends Champion Presbyterian Church, said letters have been sent to officials at Champion and Joseph Badger schools, whose school boards have had time to review the materials and their approval for the program.
Letters were also sent to churches in the Champion and Joseph Badger school districts to see if they would be interested in joining. Jones said the program cannot take place on school property, so students would have to go to a nearby participating local church.
“I personally contacted churches in both school districts with an introductory letter and brochure from Ohio School Ministries,” Jones said.
He said the program would be offered for a once-a-week period at a participating church.
Jones said he and other members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes attended an event in Salem, where he was introduced to the program.
Jennifer Miller, organizer of the “Released Time” program, spoke about local and national efforts, including the involvement of churches in Columbiana County. Miller spoke with the Columbiana Ministerial Alliance.
Miller explained that “Released Time” programs are a legal way for public school students to study the Bible devoutly. Students wishing to attend must have written parental consent. With the approval of the local council, schools can enter into a co-operation agreement with community groups offering the courses, which are to be delivered off-site and privately funded. School staff are expected to remain neutral, neither encouraging nor discouraging student participation.
Christian organizations can give Bible courses. Churches of all denominations or non-denominationals can offer release courses to students.
Miller said school ministries can give a presentation to a church or community group on how to start a program and its benefits, as well as training.
Jones said the program would need volunteers from churches to make it work. Students would also need transportation from schools to church.
The volunteers would transport the students and also serve as teachers. Jones said that while the program is for students in grades 1 through 12, they start with middle and high school students.
For information, go to the school
time.org or email Jones at coach
[email protected] or call 330-246-0805.