Religious Education in an Archdiocesan Ecumenical School

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Religious Education in an ecumenical school is a partnership of family, school and the sponsoring local church communities. The ecumenical school setting has as its purpose the provision of a Christian education for its students.

In all schools and colleges of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, Religious Education is understood to consist of two distinct but complementary dimensions, which Gabriel Moran (1991) describes as “teaching people religion and teaching people to be religious in a particular way” (p.256).

The first dimension, most commonly referred to as the classroom learning and teaching of religion, is focused on Religious Education as an educational activity. It utilises a range of quality learning and teaching processes and resources to meet the diverse needs and capacities of learners from the various Christian religious denominations. The second dimension, faith formation, is reflected in the religious life of the school with its particular ecumenical focus and in the family and local faith communities.

Schools develop policies and practices relating to the teaching of religion and the religious life of the school in collaboration with each of the participating churches, keeping in mind ecumenical principles.

The time allocation for the classroom religion program in an ecumenical school is the same as for all Archdiocesan schools: a minimum of 2.5 hours per week of religion teaching is provided in both primary and secondary schools from P-12. This equates to 92 - 100 hours per year, based on 37 - 40 available teaching weeks per year.

In the classroom learning and teaching of religion in an ecumenical school, the starting point is the Religion Curriculum P-12. While emphasis is given to content that the participating churches hold in common, the particularities of each denomination need to be respected. In a true ecumenical spirit, the differences between denominations will also be acknowledged. It is important for students to have the opportunity to experience and to understand, at an age-appropriate level, the characteristic emphases and practices of each of the Christian denominations and the relationships between the various Christian Churches.

The religious life of an ecumenical school provides opportunities for members of the school community to grow in Christian faith through prayer, worship, a Christian environment, community, formation, outreach, and social action and justice. This dimension of Religious Education outwardly demonstrates the ecumenical nature of the school. Four focus areas constitute the religious life of an ecumenical school: Religious Identity and Culture; Prayer and Worship; Evangelisation and Faith Formation; and Social Action and Justice.