Education Sunday in the UK Date in the current year: September 8, 2024

Education Sunday in the UK Education Sunday is an annual ecumenical event held by churches in the UK on the second Sunday in September. It is a nationwide day of prayer for everyone involved in any aspect of education, from school students to education employees.

English and Welsh churches have been observing Education Sunday for over a century. It was originally held on the ninth Sunday before Easter, however in 2016, it was moved to the second Sunday in September to coincide with the beginning of the school year. Education Sunday replaced Racial Justice Sunday that, in its turn, was moved to February.

Education Sunday is organized and promoted by a steering group comprising representatives from eight denominations and organizations in association with the Churches’ Joint Education Policy Committee. The eight organizations involved in the promotion of Education Sunday are the Association of Christian Teachers, the Baptist Union of Great Britain (Baptists Together), the Catholic Church, the Church of England National Society, the Methodist Church of Great Britain, the Salvation Army, Student Christian Movement of Great Britain, and the United Reformed Church.

Every year, the steering group announces a new theme of Education Sunday and relevant Bible passages to be read and discussed, along with a list of resources that may be helpful, such as academic resources, sermon outlines, Bible studies, music, etc. For example, the theme for 2020 was “A learning people in a time of change”, referring to the COVID-19 crisis that made people adapt to new educational requirements.

Each church and community is free to plan its own events as it sees fit, tapping into their creativity to make the observance more memorable. For example, the Christianity Today magazine offers the following ideas to celebrate Education Sunday:

  • Help students to choose the college that is right for them by inviting college graduates to speak about their college experience and answer students’ questions.
  • Invite students to write down a subject they struggle with on a piece of paper, place it on the altar, and pray for wisdom to improve learning in this specific subject area.
  • Set up a photo booth with graduation gowns and caps, diplomas, various signs, and other props.
  • Invite school board members, principals and other local leaders to meet the congregation and figure out how churches and schools can work together to provide excellent education.
  • Discuss education topics in church youth groups during their weekly gatherings or Bible studies.
  • Gather all the young students in your community and lay hands on them to send them into the new school year with a blessing and encouragement.

Of course, these are just a few ideas. Each congregation observes Education Sunday in a way that best fits the community and is most beneficial for students whom the observance is intended for. Some communities even choose to dedicate the entire month of September to education, emphasizing its importance at church gatherings all month.

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Education Sunday in the United Kingdom, cultural observances, ecumenical event, churches in the UK