School Ministries California: Released Time Christian Education the Open Door To California Public Schools

43 0015aCalifornia has had RTCE programs since the World War II Era

Parents were extremely concerned about the effect the war years were having on children with so many fathers away. People who knew about the released time option were watching and preparing for California to have a provision for Released Time Christian Education.

When the policy permitting time to release students for religious education was added to the state education code in 1942 people were ready. Programs were started in Oakland, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Burbank and Long Beach in 1943. Soon RTCE Programs were being started all over the state.

California Released Time Christian Education was started when Pastor Wayne Edwards took a trip along the California coast visiting Released Time programs in 1988. He discovered that most people working in Released Time Programs had no idea how many Released Time Programs there were. He and Oakland Director, Frank Connaughton, were convinced that California RTCE Programs would benefit from working together.

Under Wayne Edwards’ guidance and with Frank Connaughton’s help, the California Released Time Christian Education Association was started. Wayne’s friend, Forrest Turpen, invited him to bring people interested in Released Time to the Christian Educators Association Int’l Convention in Anaheim in 1989. A group from the National Association of Released Time Christian Education, based in South Carolina, came to Anaheim and offered their help to develop the ministry.

The state ministry sponsors conferences and regional meetings so members and friends can get together in person. It is the best way to network, pray together, to share success stories and prayer concerns. It was welcomed by directors who were glad to share methods and curriculum that work in RTCE classrooms. Many benefits have come because of networking.

Another development occurred in 2018 when California Released Time Christian Education became a part of the National Released Time Association and changed their name to School Ministries Inc. California – SMI CA.

Mission Statement

The Mission of School Ministries CA is to help Christians start Released Time Programs and to serve the leadership of released time programs by providing opportunities for prayer, networking, training, fundraising and raising statewide awareness of Released Time Christian Education for the benefit of California’s public school.

Our Passion

Our passion is to help you start and maintain a successful Released Time program to serve the public school students in your community. School Ministries Inc. California will respond to your request to:

  • Make a presentation to your church or community group about the need for and legality of Released Time Bible classes
  • Coach you through the process of getting a Released Time Program up and running
  • Help your established Released Time Program review its policies and procedures in light of best practices and developing legal trends
  • Network with other Released Time Providers at state and national conferences