Twenty years ago Gordon Raggett began visiting a few local primary schools to assist with Religious Education (RE) and collective worship in Bexleyheath while running a delicatessen business. His ministry has developed and grown and is now known as Christian Resources in Bexley Schools (CRIBS)
– a team of 15 schools workers, now visiting more than 50 primary schools each year. Whilst CRIBS is made up of various denominations, of the small trustees board of six people, three are Baptist. Some members of the team also worship in local Baptist churches.
The team offer schools support in pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, lead assemblies, and deliver a portfolio of specially-prepared RE lessons covering all aspects of the Christian faith.
Lunchtime and after-school clubs focus on encouraging young people to grow character as well as explore the Christian faith and way of life.
Each year they write, rehearse and deliver drama productions in local schools, being enjoyed by staff and children alike and providing opportunity to "store the story of Jesus in the memory banks of thousands of children".
January 2011 saw the launch of a project called 3:16, which celebrated the 400th anniversary of the Bible being authorised and published in English. 3:16 enabled them to take a fresh look at the stories and biblical wisdom. A double-decker bus has been fitted out to make creative zones and is taken to schools and youth groups across the borough. The zones engage with the story, the issues, and the characters and meaning.
CRIBS support young people to set up Christian unions, visit existing groups, train and encourage young leaders. The team also runs outdoor adventure activities as part of the wider curriculum. These help pupils develop the values, skills and understanding which will help them towards responsible adulthood – strengthening self-confidence and improving relationships.
CRIBS latest project is to expand our team into Secondary Schools. With one full time worker already on the job, we are looking for the finance to employ more.
I would described the CRIBS team as one of the best teams of schools workers I have seen in over 40 years of ministry in the London City Mission and in London schools. Their dedication is second to none and they constantly come up with new ideas to keep the door open in schools – most recently helping difficult lads by providing support and training other schools workers.
George Hider is on the leadership team at Sidcup Baptist Church and a trustee of CRIBS (Christian Resources in Bexley Schools)