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Your September 2011 article “Separated” hit me like a ton of bricks! This article so closely resembles our parents’ experience, except that Dad, 91, is caring for Mom, 88.  They are in assisted living, but one day in the not-too-distant future, Mom will have to move to the Alzheimer’s unit. Needless to say, we are not looking forward to that day.

By God's grace, we will know when that time has come. And we will know we made the right decision, no matter how hard.

Thank you for printing this article.

—Mary Query
Traverse City, Mich.

Safe Churches

My thanks to the writer of “What If IT Happens in Your Church?” (August 2011). Abuse in the church is still a subject many of us would rather avoid, but thanks to the work of the Safe Church Ministry and others, there is help and hope for healing.         

—Mary VanderVennen

A Pastor’s List

I found Rev. Reginald Smith's "10 Things Your Pastor Wants You to Know" (August 2011) an enjoyable, easy read. Many times I found my head nodding to his words as tears filled my eyes. His straightforward article gently reminds us to continue putting Jesus at the center of our lives.

—Marilyn R. Vander Wekken
Picture Butte, Alberta

Thank you so much for Rev. Smith’s article. In this one article he mentions Jesus 16 times, which, I think, is more than Jesus has been mentioned in all the articles in all the Banners this year. Please lead us to Jesus more often.

—Jack Van Meggelen,

I say a hearty “Amen!” to this article. Excellent!

—Rev. Vernon Luchies
Kalamazoo, Mich.

Public Schools

In “Supporting Public Education” (Reformed Matters, August 2011), Thomas Hoeksema provides a good list of reasons for Christians to support public education, but his premise assumes that a system of state-run schools is worth preserving. If Christians want significant educational reform of our dysfunctional educational system, perhaps we should suggest separating state funding and state provision of education. As a Christian educator, I do support “more equitable sharing of public funds”—never by voting for the failing system, but instead by supporting a comprehensive voucher system. When governments fund rather than run education, the “unintended consequences” Hoeksema writes of when Christians send their children to private schools would disappear.

—Bruce Rottman
Santa Barbara, Calif.

I was extremely saddened by this article. To blame Christian education for the state of public schools is to lack knowledge of a Christian school. It is not only for the elite, either. I know several families who send their "impoverished" children to a Christian school through the help of anonymous donors and scholarships. Many parents make difficult sacrifices to give their children a Christian education.

Having been a teacher in a blue-collar district, I understand the need for Christian teachers in the public school setting. However, I also have a deep desire to train my children in the knowledge of the Lord, not in the views of a teacher whose values I may not share. We can still make a difference in the public schools, but not at the expense of our children.

—Stephanie McCarthy
Hollandale, Minn.

At a Cardus (think tank) event two years ago, I heard a renowned professor from a secular post-secondary institution argue that it is time we call out public schools for what they really are: state schools! Our governments, influenced and buoyed by powerful teacher unions, dictate the agenda for the instruction of our children. There is no room for Christ in state classrooms, yet the “religions” of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and witches and goblins, among others, are more than welcome. Have we lost sight of our ultimate responsibility as Christian parents to teach our children that our God is Lord and Master over all creation?

—Henry Koorneef
Foundation for Niagara and Hamilton Area Christian Schools
Beamsville, Ontario

If we want Christian citizens and leaders in the future, a Christian education is most valuable. If it is better for our children to go to public schools, in another generation or two there will be no need for Calvin College or other Christian colleges.

It appears to us, and to many others, that you are breaking down all barriers for the Christian Reformed Church to join with the Reformed Church in America. Perhaps the RCA should begin to support Christian education. Together we could be a strong force in producing Christian leaders for our future.

—Marjorie Vander Klok
Bradenton, Fla.

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