Fifteen Chattanooga area churches are stepping up to help fund the Bible history class at Brainerd High School.
"We are excited about bringing the community together," said Patsy Hazlewood, Steering Committee chairwoman for Bible in the Schools, which is funding the class. "It's uncharted waters. It's a new kind of effort. There is a passion to make Brainerd High School a better school."
Community members and church staff will gather inside Brainerd High School gymnasium Oct. 2 at 5:45 p.m. for a free dinner, music and message from a variety of Brainerd area pastors. The event is to raise money to fund the salary and classroom supplies for BIS Bible history teacher Anthony Pollard, who began teaching at Brainerd High School this fall.
When Brainerd's previous Bible history teacher retired three years ago, Bible in the Schools did not have enough money to replace him, said BIS president Ralph Mohney. That is why it is now necessary to gather funds to continue the class.
Last fall Bible in the Schools worked with East Hamilton churches to fund Bible history teacher Jeff Fairbanks for East Hamilton School and Tyner Academy Bible history teacher William Heard. Mohney said the Brainerd community wanted to host a fundraiser like East Brainerd's.
"We met with Brainerd pastors to access their interest," said Hazlewood. "We worked with Brainerd High School principal Charles Joynes, who has been incredible. He is very enthusiastic to have this program back at Brainerd."
Hazlewood said at the Brainerd gathering a prayer chain, music and good news announcement will take place.
"Bible in the Schools is in 19 of 38 middle/high schools in Hamilton County," said Mohney. "We cover 70 percent of the student population in middle/high schools. There's another 30 percent we are not in. We hope to reach out to other areas as well."
Mohney said four Bible history courses are offered including Genesis for sixth-graders, Exodus for seventh-graders and the Life of Jesus based on the Book of Luke for eighth-graders. In high school, students learn about the Old Testament and New Testament.
"The Bible is not taught from a religious or denominations point of view," said Mohney. "It's simply taught as a historical document. There's no other book in western civilization that's had the impact of the Bible. We think a basic understanding of the Bible is important."
Mohney said students might not understand phrases such as "my cup runneth over" without reading the Bible. Hazlewood added that Renaissance art such as Michelangelo's "David" is also biblically based.