As we celebrate Christ’s coming, we praise him for His faithfulness. For a decade now, School Ministries Ohio (known before as WeCARE for Students) has felt His faithfulness and experienced His goodness and guidance. He has blessed the work of our hands as we have sought to “clear the fields” like pioneers, removing institutional barriers to Released Time Bible Education (RTBE) so that local program leaders like you can plant seeds of faith in students’ hearts.
This past year has been like no other: we’ve been led to prepare the ministry to meet the great need to reach as many as possible – as soon as possible – in these dark, desperate days. And God has opened hearts to help and opened doors of opportunity as never before…
- We learned that 386 of 607 Ohio school districts ALREADY HAVE RELEASED TIME POLICIES IN PLACE! The school boards have already said YES… now the Church needs to catch up!
- We were led to change our name to School Ministries Ohio (have you seen ournew website, blog and Facebook page?) This reflects our ongoing commitment to grow Ohio’s Released Time Bible presence in partnership with School Ministries, the national association of Released Time Bible Education programs.
- We also have developed new resources including our “How to Start a Released Time Program” ebook and”Local Leaders Toolkit,” available to help people get programs started – call or email us to learn more and purchase your copies!
- We hosted “Find Your Timothy,” a conference which drew 85 Released Time educators, teachers,directors, and supporters from Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania (view pictures here.) More than 20 experienced presenters participated; a dozen programs shared their ministries’ stories at display tables. As a result of that momentum, dear friends from established RTBE programs all over the state – though incredibly busy with their own programs – have been helping start-up and prospective communities see the possibilities of Released Time, volunteering their time to research and reach out!
- We partnered with WyandotCARES, a local RTBE program, to present our second joint fundraiser, an “Evening of Mission and Music” (view the photos!) Young students sang songs; an older student told how grateful she was for the high school class for credit. Teachers shared how God had touched children’s hearts. People gave generously, and both organizations were blessed beyond measure.
- Jenni led a session on “Released Time for Religious Instruction” at the annual convention of the Ohio School Boards Association (the conference drew thousands.) School Ministries Ohio board members and volunteers hosted a booth in the exhibit hall, where people from more than two dozen communities indicated interest in learning more about bringing Released Time Bible Education to their students.
- We marvel at the movement of God among communities small and large: recently, people have been praying and organizing to bring Released Time Bible classes to students in Holmes County, Marion County, Morrow County and Columbus City Schools. Please pray for them and their efforts!
Thank you for all the ways you’ve shown God’s love and support for our ministry, your prayers, your gifts of time, talent and treasure. More than ever, we need the help of ministry partners willing to commit to monthly or quarterly giving. Would you prayerfully consider standing with us in this way in 2018?
Together with our Board of Directors, we thank God and we thank you, and pray God’s blessings for you this Christmastime and always.