Who says you can’t have the best of both worlds? A public education and a Bible education. A center in Clarendon Country, S.C., has open the doors for children to receive Bible classes as part of their regular school
The Clarendon Christian Learning Center (CCLC), started in 1999, states its mission is to promote Biblical literacy in Clarendon County and relate Biblical truths to the lives of all students.
“The school system can meet so many student needs including both academic and physical through athletics. But with their hands tied regarding spiritual needs, the place CCLC has in our Christian community is obvious,” said Erie Brown, the chairperson of the Board of Directors for CCLC.
Children in Clarendon County participate in “Release time”, an option offered by schools where the children can be released to attend an alternative education-related instruction.
An overwhelming number of children are spending this time with CCLC. The classes have grown teach 30 students to over 300 in the past five years.
Gary Eadon, the new executive director of CCLC, notes the growth and says the only reason the program hasn’t gotten any bigger is limitation in staff.
“We have literally exploded,” Eadon said. “We are serving about 300 or more students with just two teachers. Between transportation time and the sheer number of students, we are terribly understaffed. However, there just aren’t the resources to hire more teachers.”
But with the two current teachers Eadon and Kim Durant, who both hold master’s degrees, alone teach the electives available for high school students and alongside a teacher’s aide, weekly classes for students in grade two to six. The curriculums take the high school students from Genesis to Revelations while younger children learn about the stories about the Bible.
Since the program charges no tuition to the students, there is no financial resources to hire more teachers.
“This is definitely a growing program and the need for teachers is just overwhelming,” Brown said. “Every teachers knows that smaller class sizes are better, but with just two certified teachers, we are pretty much at our limit.”
However, Brown has been trying to fill accommodate the demand of the program by encouraging churches to send a representative to help in the program.
“The community has been extremely supportive of this mission,” Eadon noted. “Our board of directors has been the true hero in all of this. They have taken the CCLC message to churches across the county and asked them to make CCLC a part of their local mission work.”
The CCLC is launching a “One in 100” campaign to enlist 100 individuals or businesses who will sponsor the program for $50 a month. The support will pay for CCLC’s two vans, two classrooms and staff.
Despite financial struggles to maintain keep the program running, Eadon, a former youth pastor at the Manning United Methodist Church, remains faithful to CCLC because he believes it’s the will of God for him to be here.
“Working with CCLC was certainly a call from God,” Eadon said. “It was definitely hard walking away from the church, but when God calls, it is unmistakable.”
Brown explains why it is obvious why people such as parents should support the program. “ Parents often pay that much for piano or dance or gymnastics lessons,” Brown said. “A Bible-based spiritual education is a lot more essential than that kind of instruction.”
“This is a spiritual investment with a huge return,” Eadon said. “Giving our community’s children a chance to know Jesus and to put His teachings to work in their lives is a very fulfilling thing.”
The education is working to bring children closer to God, reward enough for the staff members.
“Every week, another child professes his or her faith,” Eadon said. “This is an incredible opportunity to teach children and to see God at work in their lives.”
For more information about CCLC or to make a donation, contact the Center at 803-435-9193.