Originally published in CBN News
The Church of England is making new waves in the country by opening more than 100 free Christian schools.
England’s new initiative to open 500 free schools for underprivileged children has been derided by many critics as a poor decision, but the Church of England sees it as an opportunity to teach children the Christian faith.
The free schools are funded by the government but can be set up and run by charities, parents, trusts, businesses, teachers, or religious groups.
That is why the Church has set it’s sights on opening some 125 new faith schools across the country during the next four years. The Church currently runs just 10 free schools, but soon that number will rise exponentially with potentially millions of new students.
“This is a moment to be bold and ambitious and offer more than an apologetic for church schools but a vision for education,” said Bishop Stephen Conway, chair of the Church’s board of education at the General Synod in York.
A report at the General Synod says the government’s free education program was a “unique opportunity for the Church of England to renew and enhance its contribution to the education of our nation’s children, an opportunity which should be seized wholeheartedly.”
The new schools will be a way for the Church to have a voice in an increasingly secular government, a voice many secular leaders want diminished.
“The significant changes we’re seeing in the country’s religion and belief landscape means the Church’s role in state education needs to be diminished not expanded,” Stephen Evens, campaign director for the National Secular Society, told The Telegraph UK.
Despite the push-back from secular groups, Bishop Conway says the Church vows “to ensure that church schools continue to develop their distinctive Christian character.”