I've been sharing the leadership of an after-school club at the local (non church) primary school off and on for a couple of years, taking it over more fully this year when a teacher retired , and relaunching it with a slightly snappier name chosen by the children to replace the original cringeworthy "Christian Club".
It is, I repeat, a voluntary after school club, with an expressly Christian agenda. For the record, the name the children chose was JAFFA kids (Jesus A Friend For All),- so it's hard to think we've been unduly sly or stealthy in our approach.
So what am I to make of a parent who has contacted the school to say that her daughter enjoys the club and is keen to continue attending, but as they are Jewish she does hope that I won't be focussing on Christmas in our activities as term draws to a close? Her child is a sweetheart and a real asset to the group, - but it does seem a complete nonsense for me to reorganise the programme and lose one of a limited number of opportunities to remind the children that Christmas is about more than just presents. Tomorrow, I'll try and do something about light and darkness that will be applicable to Hannukah as well, I hope (suggestions very welcome)...but for the final session of the term, I'm anxious to steer their thoughts to the baby in the manger . I hate to be awkward, but I am a Christian priest trying to help the children to celebrate a Christian festival. Surely that's not too much to ask?
I can see it will be an ongoing problem....There's lots I can do during "Ordinary Time" by way of exploring the stories of the Hebrew Scriptures, and some work on social justice issues would be great too, but what price Easter without the cross and the empty tomb? And why send your child to a Christian club if you don't wish her to hear any part of the Christian message? I'm very happy to have her there,- as I say, she's a sweetie. I'm just asking...