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Pilot Project Expands Christian Education in Urban New Jersey


A new partnership of churches, schools, and urban ministries has brought Christian education to urban New Jersey students who otherwise might not have been able to attend a Christian school.

Through the Urban Christian Education Partnership program, nine children are enrolled for the first time in the Eastern Christian School system this fall. “The program is a joint venture between Bridgeway Community Church, Eastern Christian Schools, and New Hope Community Ministries,” explained Tom Dykhouse, who serves as the head of schools for the Eastern Christian Schools Association. “[It] was founded to help families who desire a Christian education for their children.”

The students are enrolled in three of Eastern Christian’s northern New Jersey campuses. “Our school was founded in the city of Paterson 122 years ago, and we have remained committed to serving the students of that city for our entire history,” Dykhouse said. “The [partnership] is a great way for us to demonstrate our commitment to serving families.”

Phil Beverly, executive director of New Hope Community Ministries, said the partnership serves not only to give children a Christian education but to transform the lives of their families and their neighborhoods. “The families enrolled in this program have renewed their commitment to all of the ministries involved. They have shared with us that their faith has already been made stronger as a result of this opportunity.”

“God doesn’t forget my prayers,” said one parent. “My kids realized that going to school everyday and worshiping God in everything—even studying—can make the difference between a day at school and a blessed day at school.”

Bridgeway Community Christian Reformed Church also started an-after school program called Revive, inspired by the New City Kids program in Jersey City, N.J. Students who are enrolled in the urban Christian education program attend Revive for tutoring, after-school care, or to serve as part of the staff.

Rev. Anton Brown, lead pastor at Bridgeway, was inspired to start this project after attending a justice conference. “I was challenged about the injustice urban children experience in education quality and support,” he said. He hopes to enroll up to 60 kids through the program within the next two to three years. “We are committed to ensuring that urban students have access to Christian education.”

Related articles:
Bright Promise Fund Aids Urban Christian Schools (The Banner)
Urban Church Planter Finds Christian Ed a Selling Point (The Banner)

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