There's this preschool, you see, that's housed in a United Methodist congregation in Bethesda, Maryland, one of the tony suburbs which seem to ring Washington, D.C.
For years, we're told by The Washington Post, the school was rather secular and all was well. Parents pitched in to help run the "cooperative" nursery school, and everyone, with or without a religion, felt welcome.
Now, however, the United Methodist pastor of the United Methodist congregation that sponsors the Concord-St. Andrew’s Cooperative Nursery School wants to teach the children enrolled there about the Christian faith.
Cue the scrupulously balanced Washington Post story on all this, headlined, "‘A breach of trust’: A preschool, a church and a change in mission."
Wait, "balanced"? Not exactly:
A small preschool in Bethesda has a big problem on its hands, and God -- or at least teaching about God -- is at the center of it.
For as long as anyone can remember, the Concord-St. Andrew’s Cooperative Nursery School has been educating young children without including much, or anything, in the way of religious instruction, say numerous parents at the school, some of whom attended when they were children. That secular approach was fine with many at the close-knit school, where families and teachers come from a range of religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds and find harmony in their divergent viewpoints.
Comes now the Rev. Sue Brown, a United Methodist cleric of more than 20 years' service in the Washington, D.C., metro area, who has been pastor at Concord-St. Andrews since 2014. Because the school is a ministry of the church -- it says so on the website linked above -- Brown has instructed Amy Forman, who directs the school, to incorporate Christian teaching into daily lesson plans. Religious ministries tend to do this sort of thing.