On June 11, the Kutztown Area School District school board voted to adopt the “green” plan, which keeps the Albany School open for kindergarten and first grade, but sends second through fifth graders to Greenwich. We are grateful to Brandy Rapasardo, Colleen Fitzgerald, Kurt Kanaskie and the rest of our fellow citizens at Save Our Neighborhood Schools (including some from Kempton New Church) for convincing the school board not to close the Albany School entirely.
Some people have inquired about sending their children to the Kempton New Church School. With the hope of answering questions, we would like to explain our school’s enrollment policy.
The school asks that parents who are thinking about the school should first consider the church, because the school is an extension of the church. It is healthy for parents and children to grow together in the life and teaching of the same church, whatever church they choose.
Prospective parents and students should be familiar and comfortable with the religion of the Kempton New Church before enrolling their children here, to the point that they are ready to be baptized into the New Church faith.
The religion curriculum runs from kindergarten through tenth grade. For example, the overall theme in the first grade is that the Lord Jesus is our Heavenly Father, the Creator and Provider. Units include one on the Lord; on the Family; and on Creation; that the Lord rewards good and punishes evil (Genesis 3-11); the Lord’s commandments; the Lord’s Prayer; that the Lord has all power: His miracles in the Old and New Testaments; and a unit on life in heaven.
Children at the Kempton New Church School learn many specific religious concepts. The most universal ones are that there is one God, the Lord Jesus Christ; that the life of religion is to keep His commandments, with repentance; that the Sacred Scriptures contain a spiritual meaning in addition to their literal truth; and that the Lord created us for eternal life in heaven, but He also gives us free choice to decide whether we will live in heaven or in hell, by the life we lead.
The Kempton New Church School’s enrollment policy is that admission is open to children baptized into the New Church. Occasional exceptions may be made in cases where the parents are not active in another church or religion, and have demonstrated a sincere interest in looking toward baptism and inquiring affirmatively into the Heavenly Doctrine, by reading, and by attending church, doctrinal classes and other functions, and by welcoming regular pastoral visits, for about a year before a child is enrolled. Admission is at the discretion of the pastor.
If you would like to explore whether the New Church and its life and teachings are right for you and your family, you can look at our website (www.kemptonnewchurch.org); you can borrow or buy books by or about Emanuel Swedenborg; you can come to church any Sunday at 10:00 a.m.; you can talk to New Church neighbors (such as Paul Schorran, the Kempton Barber); and you can talk with one of the Kempton pastors (Andy Heilman, Christopher Smith or me). True religion must be received freely and rationally. The most important thing is to live as the Lord teaches us, whatever church we belong to.
Rev. Lawson M. Smith