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God's world is a gift on trust: Theme for Education Sunday 2009 announced

Churches are being encouraged to 'save the date' for next year’s Education Sunday – which will highlight the role of schools and colleges in helping young people lead lives that recognise the vital importance of caring for God’s creation.

Education Sunday is the national day of prayer and celebration for all those involved in the world of education, traditionally marked on the ninth Sunday before Easter, which falls on Sunday 8th February in 2009.

In a briefing note for churches, the Revd Dave Bookless of Christian nature conservation organisation A Rocha UK introduces this year's theme, suggesting: “Perhaps we can reflect on how education can prepare pupils for responsible stewardship of God’s world, or how education can recover a vision of connecting people with a sense of place and belonging – experiencing the joy of planting, growing and eating food, and reflecting on our dependence.

“Rather than encouraging us to see the world as our oyster – something to admire, consume or exploit and then discard – perhaps education needs to see the world as a gift on trust, a family heirloom to treasure, enjoy and pass on intact.”

The Church of England’s National Society – the body which began mass education in this country, and today exists to inform and encourage Church schools and to promote Christian education – has always played a key part in the co-ordination of Education Sunday, which is observed in different ways by most parishes and church schools in the country, as well as many cathedrals.

The environmental theme for 2009 complements a range of activities aiming to 'shrink the carbon footprint' of the Church of England and to encourage greater awareness of the sustainable actions that individuals and communities can take to try and halt environmental damage and climate change. These include the inauguration of 'Time for God’s creation', a period between 1st September until 4th October set aside as an opportunity to put the environment at the heart of their worship; and the launch of Don’t Stop at the Lights by Church House Publishing, a guide offering church leaders a template for a year-long programme of practical action presented alongside sermon ideas and bible study notes which aim to reconnect the church to the natural world and the roots of its faith.

The Education Sunday website (www.educationsunday.org) features prayers, hymns suggestions and other material that organisers hope will be used to plan creative ways of marking the event.