Roslyn Deal is the SRE Director at PYNSW and also works two days per week at Ashfield Presbyterian Church as the pastoral assistant for women.
Ros was first introduced to PYNSW through their yearly camps and found that her kids were really encouraged by the camps. “… particularly because we were in a country town and they barely met any other Christians, so for them, it was a time of real encouragement where they would meet other church kids”, she shared.
From that initial introduction to PYNSW, Ros ended up working with PYNSW in the role of SRE Director. However, that wasn’t Ros’ first experience of SRE.
The beginnings of Ros’ love and advocacy for SRE
Growing up in a Christian family, Roslyn has always understood the truth of the Gospel and has always believed that Jesus died for her. As a parent herself, Roslyn knows the benefit of teaching kids the Gospel and helping them to understand the message of the Bible from a young age.
Back when Ros’ husband was in theological college, they went on a college rural trip together and Ros was amazed to see how responsive the students were to the SRE classes that the group ran.
“I ended up in the role as SRE Director because I had been advocating for SRE separately as an SRE teacher at my children’s primary school. I was also on the State executive of P&C. One of my duties was to be the parent representative on the department of the education consultative committees for SRE & SEE,” she shared.
Ros also has a teaching degree and still teaches casually to keep up with department teaching practices. She shares that one of the things she enjoys most about teaching and being involved in SRE is seeing the excitement and joy that comes from the students’ faces.
“There is nothing like the joy on students’ faces when they see you standing at the door and say, ‘Yay, it’s scripture time’,” she says. “What I love is the lightbulb moment that goes on when the students make connections between what they hear and their lives.”
The SRE program itself is made accessible to many different teaching styles as the curriculum is adaptable to meet the needs of the teacher.
“There’s a curriculum that enables people to teach according to their personality. We have some people that do lots of songs and music and other people use drama and puppets. Other people use PowerPoint and talk, and kids work in workbooks. The curriculum is big enough that it fits your personality, and you don’t have to do it alone,” Ros shares.
Current challenges and prayer
One of the challenges for the SRE classroom at the moment is the slow uptake of new teachers. Ros says that during the height of COVID, a lot of teachers became concerned about their own health needs and weren’t confident to return to the classroom when SRE resumed.
“I think the current challenge is getting uni students and young people to teach SRE. There don’t seem to be as many uni age SRE teachers as there have been in the past. I think maybe the way uni isn’t spread over a whole week anymore, people can just put all their uni timetable into a couple of days and then maybe they work the other days. So there doesn’t seem to be as many free spots of the day that you can’t do anything with, where people would have previously come in and taught SRE here and there,” Ros said. A new area for availability is people in full-time work who take off a lunchtime or use their volunteer hours to teach SRE. Many large businesses allow their employees time off to volunteer in their community, which includes SRE.
“We can be praying for more teachers. We can be praying that the teachers we have will be sharing Jesus faithfully. We can be praying for the students that they will be engaged and making connections with their lives with what they’re being taught, we can be praying for PYNSW in trying to smooth the process for the teachers,” she continued.
Something else Ros spoke of, was the need for financial support through PYNSW.
She shared that the money that is donated goes towards training and ensuring that PYNSW and SRE are up to date with the Department of Education’s standards. It also goes towards training SRE teachers and liaising with the Department of Education as needed.
Please pray for and consider supporting PYNSW and the SRE team as they work to bring Jesus to kids in public schools. Pray for funding and access, particularly where they may face challenges and opposition to the gospel.
You can financially support PYNSW SRE here.