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Faith Matters

New `ibook' helps pupils learn about salvation history

Pupils enjoying the new ibook

SCHOOL pupils are enjoying a new `ibook' of the Old Testament designed as part of a faith initiative to engage them in the story of salvation history.

The project has been developed by the RE department at Assumption Grammar School in Ballynahinch.

Head of department Máire Daly said young people now had a very limited understanding and knowledge of the Old Testament.

She said the school wanted its pupils to appreciate the narrative that ran throughout scripture rather than knowing a few random events or disconnected stories.

The RE department, therefore, designed the ibook of the Old Testament which those in Years 8-10 could access during class time on an ipad.

Emma Rose McCloskey a member of the RE department said the ibook format was both environmentally and user friendly.

"Students can read at their own pace and enjoy graphics, maps, pictures and quotations that support the text," she said.

From the outset , pupils are clearly informed that their individual life story is a continuation of the big picture of salvation history.

Noel Wilson, another member of the department who assisted in the design of the ibook said "twice in the academic year we have a designated reading week for junior students".

They begin by reading the book of Genesis and appreciate the powerful creative power of God. They encounter the wonderful Patriarchs such as Abraham, Moses and Jacob, the brave Judges and the struggle to set up a Kingdom.

From the Book of Kings they understand the influence that David has had to this day and the foolishness of the kings who followed him. They encounter some of the great Israelite prophets. Those courageous men who spoke on behalf of God. They learn how in biblical times, as happens today, people were exiled from their own land. Yet God helps them return to the promised land and set up home again.

There are struggles and rebellion against the culture of the day - Hellenization - very much like our own today. And then the most wonderful moment. Jesus Christ, the Messiah entered history.

Máire Daly said the school wanted pupils to appreciate that by reading the Bible they could nurture their faith, and change their life.

"This is a very exciting faith initiative for us in the department and we hope that in time we will see the fruit of our efforts," she said.

"The Bible's essential message is this: God loves us and wants us to be in a lifelong friendship with us. The Bible tells us the story of God's love, revealed most perfectly in Jesus's life, death and resurrection. Through Christ, God offers us forgiveness, freedom, companionship and new life. It is a wonderful gift that we are keen for our students to embrace and live out in their own lives."

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THE STORY SO FAR

In the Early World, you created the heavens and Earth and tested Adam and Eve in the garden

In the time of the Patriarchs, you called Abraham and promised his children land, a royal kingdom and worldwide blessing

You freed your people from slavery in Egypt so they could worship you

You taught Israel to walk in faith through forty years wandering in the desert

You led Israel triumphantly into the Promised Land. They failed to teach their children and instead did what was right in their own eyes

You established a kingdom on your servant David and promised him an eternal throne

Israel split into rival kingdoms and fell into idolatry

You punished first Israel, then Judah with exile. Prophets brought a message of hope

You brought the exiles back to Canaan; they rebuilt the Temple and Jerusalem and were taught once more from your Law

Mattathais and his sons stood up against the threats of Hellenization

You sent your only Son, Jesus Christ the Messiah, to fulfil all your promises

The Church carries on your work in the world

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