Carrie Graves, Canon for Communications, The Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina
State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman sees her work as her ministry. The moral imperative that guides her daily work is the passion that every (and adding the word “every” increases the challenge, Spearman says) child in the state of South Carolina be provided a high-quality education. But the government can’t do it alone. That’s where we come in. Our four denominations represent nearly half a million people. Knowing that it takes not only good education but love to prepare children to go out into the world, we are called to enter the schools and act like Jesus, walk like Jesus, love and be in relationship like Jesus, as Superintendent Spearman described it.
On Monday, November 30, 2015, nearly 100 people gathered at St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church to listen to Molly Spearman, as well as bishops from the four LARCUM denominations, speak on the importance of educating children in poverty.
Molly Spearman has seen it all. She graduated from a public high school in an impoverished area. She has taught in the finest of schools overflowing with resources, to the most impoverished in resources and population. As she spoke to the crowd of church parishioners, teachers, volunteers, administrators and clergy, she shared her personal story of faith.
It was hard for her, Spearman said, to decide to go back into politics after serving four terms in the House of Representatives and run for Superintendent. But as she has progressed in her life, she has grown closer God. She listens for the call of his will in her daily life by reading Scripture, praying and meditating. This call was too strong and she decided to run, amidst a slate of about 11 other candidates. Peace descended and she knew she was doing the right thing, whether she could win or not. She was elected.
The SC Bishops’ Public Education Initiative is about doing the right thing. Spearman says that we can maintain separation of church and state, and there is nothing to stop us from being a part of the lives of all of our children.
The five LARCUM Bishops have real education experience, several having been public school classroom teachers in the past. They showed their passion for God’s children, our children in the state of South Carolina, in the panel discussion held after Molly Spearman’s talk. As they listened and answered questions about practical ways we can accomplish the goal of high-quality education for every child, two things emerged: the LARCUM Bishops were asked to be accountable for communication of upcoming legislation in order for our people to advocate more effectively, and the bishops asked participants to be accountable for getting involved in a tutoring or other enrichment program and to each invite five people to join them.
One call to a legislator at a time, one child at a time, if we all pitch in, we will make a profound difference in the state of South Carolina.
On Saturday, December 5th The Rt. Rev. Andrew Waldo, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, will participate in a pre-Trinity Institute Dialogue panel on education at Trinity Wall Street in NYC. To access the live stream go to the following:
- Last year, the SC Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty Task Force put together a resource for local churches to use who want to connect with their local legislators around advocating for education issues. It is available as a free pdf document on the United Methodist Conference of South Carolina website: