After a public school district refused a pastor's request to make Bibles available to any student who wanted a copy, he came up with a different plan — a work-around that now enables him to provide local children with access to the scriptures.
Pastor Bill Moss of Hill Memorial Baptist Church in Martinsville, Virginia, decried the Martinsville City Public Schools' decision last year not to allow Bibles to be placed in a box for optional use by students. Despite his disagreement, though, he has continued working toward that goal.
Moss recently launched the Good News Club, a Christian-themed gathering for students that meets after school hours in two local elementary schools, according to the Martinsville Bulletin.
The private club requires parental permission for students to attend, and each participant is given a personal copy of the Bible to keep. It's a victory for Moss — one that he said required patience, as he navigated school rules to find an appropriate middle ground.
"The Good News Club is ... here to teach the kids good moral behavior," Moss told the outlet. "It is here to help the kids come to Christ. It is here to give them an understanding of what is right and what is wrong, and to change wrong behavior."
The after-school club will run two times during the year for six weeks in the fall and another six weeks in the spring, WDBJ-TV reported.
Superintendent Pam Heath told the Martinsville Bulletin that no new rules were crafted to offer permission for Moss to rent the space and that the policy has always permitted groups to rent after hours.
"There is no settlement of any type," she said. "This is a normal routine policy that has been in place for years."
At least one set of parents spoke out in favor of Moss' efforts, with Benjamin and Jessica Doss telling WDBJ-TV that their 5-year-old daughter loves attending the Good News Club.
"It makes my heart skip a beat that she is actually soaking it in. She's five, she's a sponge," the father told the outlet. "And I believe that this should be allowed especially in the public schools, it should be allowed in cause ya know so many years ago they took Christ out of schools and look where this country has gone, look where school's have gone."
Moss had previously voiced concerns in 2014 after the district refused his proposal that a box of New Testaments be made available in the schools for any students who wanted a copy.
"They have a right to accept or refuse. They're not forced to take it," Moss told KWCH-TV at the time, though his pleas were unsuccessful.
For now, Moss has found a work-around that enables him to both teach values to children and ensure that students who want a copy of the Bible have access to one.
(H/T: Martinsville Bulletin)
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