Rebekah Welch traces back a key event in her Christian faith to attending a PY Camp when she was in Year 7. Growing up in a Christian family, Rebekah went to church every Sunday, attended Sunday school and SRE at school. During the PY camp, she says she felt called to accept Jesus as her personal Saviour and own her faith, rather than just following what her parents raised her to believe.
“[At the PY Camp] they said raise your hands if you really want to take up your cross and live your life for Jesus. I put my hand up because I just felt called to. I thought ‘I’ve got to start living differently and I’ve got to start living in a way that’s not just for myself and for other people, but ultimately for Jesus Christ’ and things just started changing bit by bit,” Rebekah shares.
In 2022, Rebekah undertook a Christian gap year program at SMBC known as ‘The Bridge’. The Bridge is ‘a Bible-centred, missions-focussed gap year for 18 to 21 year olds. It aims to give you a real taste of global mission and the needs of the world. It’s a year to reflect and explore life, to have adventure and fun – and to experience the opportunity to make a difference in your life, and the lives of others!’.
Rebekah shared that The Bridge was a great experience for her, especially following the HSC exams in Year 12 which left her feeling ‘burnt out’.
“[The Bridge] was fantastic. I would recommend it to any person between the ages of 18 to 21. It was a really good personal growth experience for me, just in my relationship with God.” she shared.
SRE and the fruit it bears
In 2020, Rebekah’s church started organising and teaching Special Religious Education (SRE) in the local primary school, Clarence Town Public School.
“My mum is the coordinator as well, so I hear everything about SRE from her and the fruit that it bears,” she said. It was hearing these stories from her mum and teaching Sunday school classes at Norwest Anglican during her year in Sydney with The Bridge gap year program, that convinced Rebekah to teach SRE herself.
Rebekah is currently going through the SRE authorisation process and hopes to be able to take over one of the classes at Clarence Town. While she currently works part-time, Rebekah wants to use the spare time she has to teach kids about Jesus.
“I’m in a place where I have the capacity to serve in ministry a little more and I thought SRE would be a wonderful thing to do because I remember going to SRE when I was in school, and I really enjoyed it. A lot of the time, the kids that go to the school don’t go to church regularly, so I’d just love to share as much as I can,” she shared.
“After discussing with my family and people at church who are doing SRE, I decided I would really like to give it a go. And then from there it was really just getting through the modules to become accredited through PY. I actually really enjoyed that because it was very gospel-centred.”
Encouraging others to take on and support SRE
Rebekah shares that she believes SRE is a great use of free time and others should take it up if they’re able.
“If they did have the free time, I definitely suggest serving in SRE. I think it’d be a great opportunity just to learn what it’s like to share about Jesus, to be that person in their life that they’ve heard about Jesus from, which is a great starting place. So, if they have the free time and they feel led to do it, I’d definitely encourage them to do it,” she said.
For those that can’t physically take on an SRE class, Rebekah says that there are two ways you can best support SRE.
Firstly, prayer is one of the best ways to support SRE ministries. You can keep up to date with SRE and pray for SRE through subscribing to our PYNSW monthly newsletter.
Secondly, with a financial contribution. By contributing, you’ll be assisting PYNSW to raise up the next generation of SRE teachers like Rebekah, equipping them with the resources and tools they need to share Jesus with our young people.