What is Release Time Religious Education (RTRE)?
Bible education in local schools has a long history in the USA. In 1781, Congress approved the purchase of Bibles to be used in public schools. In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson required that the Bible and Watts Hymnal be used in Washington, DC, and of course, the famous McGuffey reader, published in 1836, which taught Bible verses along with the ABCs. In 1914, an innovative program was started in Gary, Indiana with about 600 students. It took place off campus, used no school resources and was called Release Time Religious Education. In 1952, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld RTRE programs as legal in all fifty states. The three requirements for RTRE being legal are: (1) parental permission must be given, (2) instruction must take place off school grounds, and (3) no state resources may be used.
Who Are School Ministries?
School Ministries has been involved in the Release Time Religious Education program for nearly 30 years and has thousands of students who participate every year. They refer to it as Release Time Bible Education as they introduce public school students to the Word of God. Their main goal is to “assist Christians across the country to start, sustain, and grow Release Time Bible Education (RTBE) programs” in their states.
School Ministries and Everyday Publications
Everyday Publications has entered into an agreement with School Ministries to provide a new curriculum for their RTBE program. Brian Cretney of Everyday Publications is writing and illustrating this curriculum. A test sample was created and sent out to teachers for use with students. Based on feedback from the teachers and students, some changes were made and the project is now complete.
Everyday Publications owns the rights to the material and is able to use the content for their own projects as well. Brian has already completed a 32 page picture book called “’Twas Years Before Christmas” which tells God’s plan of salvation revealed throughout Scripture. He also is working on an EPI youth resource called “God’s Marvelous, Massive, Miraculous Plan” that will include 90 gospel-focused lessons.
We are excited about this new partnership and the potential to reach students across the United States with the truth of God’s Word.