Reformed Education

Reformed Education

Introduction

Since the institution of our sister churches in Brazil in 2000 as the Igrejas Reformadas do Brasil (IRB), there continues to be many ways in which Aldergrove and Hamilton Missions work toward strengthening the IRB and further advancing the Reformed Christian faith in this country. The Mission Aid board (now the Mission Aid Committee) has been supporting the “Reformed Education Worker” project in the person of brother Elias Barbosa.

Before the project even began a lot of work was put into a study on Reformed Education in Brazil and historically in other fields. MAB sought out extensive input from the Christian schools, churches and parents’ associations in Brazil. In 2015, the MAB started the REW project, which has been ongoing since then. We have depended significantly on the shared oversight in Brazil by the JuNAER board/committee (Junta Nacional de Educação Reformada / National Board of Reformed Education). 

Lectures at the IRB in Beberibe-PE, the IRB in Esperança-PB and the IRB in Caruaru-PE.

The Reformed Education Worker (REW)

The position of Reformed Education Worker (REW) is an initiative of the Mission Aid Committee (a committee of the Aldergrove Brazil Mission Board) with the goal to serve the Reformed Churches in Brazil. This is seen as a temporary relationship; the hope is that in the future the Brazilian churches will accept increasingly the supervision and financial support for this initiative.

The function of the REW is to work collaboratively to:         

  • present and promote a Reformed Christian worldview that clearly teaches that all of life – in family, church, and school – should be integrated together, serving and glorifying God;

  • search for, develop, and deliver appropriate programs and educational resources for families, teachers, schoolboards and office-bearers, which enable them to effectively model and teach their faith to the next generation.

If you would like to support this work, please click on the link below. 

JuNAER – Advisory Board for MAC:
Oversees REW Work

Since the Mission Aid Committee (MAC) acknowledges that our Brazilian brothers and sisters understand the cultural, ecclesiastical and pedagogical climate in Brazil, the MAC has encouraged the formation of JuNAER (Junta Nacional de Educação Reformada / National Board of Reformed Education). 

JuNAER serves as an advisory body for MAC and provides meaningful encouragement, advice, and supervision for the REW. JuNAER is made up of missionaries (and MAC representative whenever possible) who serve as non-voting advisers, and the Mission Aid Worker, who serves as chair and is  a member with full rights.

JuNAER works in cooperation with MAC to enable the REW to successfully execute his function and tasks. In collaboration with MAC, JuNAER encourages, advises, supervises, and assesses the REW with respect to his ongoing tasks and priorities. In collaboration with MAC, JuNAER serves in an advisory role to identify priorities and strategies with respect to future activities of the REW.

A Summary of the work of the REW

As parents, we need first to love our God, but then we need to teach our children utilizing each opportunity. But here in the Reformed Churches in Brazil, lots of families are still learning about Reformed practice. The great majority of the members didn’t grow up inside a Reformed church, and so, daily devotionals and training their children in the faith may not yet be common practice.

 “Which have come to our hearing and our knowledge, as they were given to us by our fathers. We will not keep them secret from our children; we will make clear to the coming generation the praises of the Lord and his strength, and the great works of wonder which he has done.” Psalm 78:3,4

I was hired to promote a Reformed Christian worldview that teaches that all of life – in family, church, and school – should be integrated together, serving and glorifying God. In that work the aim is to strength the families in the church.

My work includes giving support when needed to the schools run by Reformed groups or churches, teachers and school Boards. I  also visit churches to promote this awareness. Visiting the churches has been a blessing. I provide lectures and speak with them on the concept of Christian education; knowing that education is our responsibility; and developing our responsibility.

Brazil has 27 provinces (including the Capital). We have Reformed churches in 9 provinces (including the capital). In total there are about 21 places to visit (congregations, churches or Reformed groups which are to enter in our Federation). On my visits I have heard from the members of the churches how validated they felt their calling to be, to their responsibilities. Their testimony is that they need to be taught and reminded. If the families in the church do their tasks at home, this will support the work of the pastors, elders and deacons.

In the last year or two I have been focusing on creating educational videos and podcasts. The number of subscribers and views of the YouTube channel and and Facebook followers continues to increase. I have also been developing Old and New Testament Bible stories that can be used by parents and teachers, for online education. This promotes learning and interaction between parents and children. Despite some local restrictions, visits to some of the congregations were possible and new visits are being scheduled. Events for teachers are also part of the plans, though we will have to count more on local speakers.

 In my work with the churches of the IRB, I am narrowing my focus to work more closely with a few congregations. 

Elias Barbosa da Silva, Reformed Education Worker