Prayer in Schools

Garden Valley Collegiate
Winkler, Manitoba

By: Brenda (Grade 12)

"To GVC, prayer and Bible reading each morning are just part of the curriculum", says Karl Redekop, Garden Valley Collegiate's principal. That is just how it feels to the students at GVC, but GVC is one of the few schools to participate in this act. Why is that?

When questioned, Carol Enns of Winkler's School Advisory Council, says that "because we are a Mennonite community, we have very strong Christian morals." A great majority of the population of Winkler is Christian Mennonites so it is possible to have Prayer in schools. In a big city, where religions are so mixed, it would not be fair to have one group's religion forced upon everyone else. Each person has a right to their own religion - one should not dominate another.

To Winkler residents, having a tie with a church is very important. It symbolizes Christianity. Having prayer and Bible reading in school also symbolizes Christianity. This symbol is very important to many Winkler residents.

When viewers come to GVC to check out the latest technology, the comments are not always about the technology but more about the cleanliness of the school and the cheerful, respectful students that GVC consists of. "Prayer is all a part of that" says Redekop, " It creates an inner peace among the students and their peers."

It is not an easy process to keep prayer and Bible reading in our school. The government wants to make sure that the whole town really is for this. Petitions need to be drawn up and passed around at any event that will include a large number of school parents. ALL students need to get a permission slip signed by their parents saying that they are for the prayer and Bible reading. "We've never had less than 100%", says Redekop. Parents in Winkler will continue to support this. "It has to do with our ancestors and our upbringing - it's just what we've been taught", says Enns.

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