Christian school being explored in county - Republic-Times | News

Christian school being explored in county

By on July 5, 2017 at 2:55 pm

An exploratory committee unveiled its dream of opening a cross-denominational Christian school during a public forum Thursday at the Monroe County Annex in Waterloo.

“We are an exploratory committee. We have not gotten very far with this because we want as much public input as possible,” committee spokesperson Mark Jones explained.

The school would teach traditional subjects, such as math, science and English, through the lens of Christianity.

“Offering quality education from a Christian worldview in a Christ-centered environment to prepare the whole child to grow in Christ and to serve in His world, all by God’s grace,” is the provisional mission statement for the school.

The school would also have a board that ensures the school follows its mission statement, exploratory committee member Will Hesterberg said. Jones added board members would be chosen based on a tentative list of qualifications including being an active member of a church and being recommended by a church pastor.

The idea for the school was brought to the public last week because the exploratory committee is now looking for outside input, Jones said.

“We know this has to be a community school. We have to have Monroe County coming together on this,” he said.

Additionally, the group created an online survey — the deadline to fill out the survey is July 16 — which will help define whether there is a need for the school and how the school should operate.

The survey includes such questions as, “Is there a need for a Christian school in Monroe County? Why or why not?” and

“Explain what you think a Christian school is, and/or list its important characteristics.”

The survey is available at

“We want to know what people are looking for in a Christian school because we want to adapt this to our community,” Jones said.

Jones added the committee hopes classes can start in August 2018 with enrollment scheduled for March 2018. In order to reach that goal, committees have been created for interested parties to serve in. These committees include administration, communication, educational philosophy and curriculum, facilities, fundraising, and policy.

Such committees will help determine the best available space to lease for the school, how to establish a non-profit for the school to raise money and how much money the school will need to raise to open, what kind of teaching philosophy will be employed, what age group the school would serve, whether the students must come from a Christian home to attend, and the like.

For more information or to volunteer on a committee, call Jones at 618-978-6854 or email There is also a Facebook page called Monroe County Christian School.

A letter also went out to churches in Monroe County and surrounding areas, letting these institutions know of the idea for the school. In the letter, the churches were asked to participate by coming to last week’s meeting and to find congregation members willing to volunteer on committees.

“Because a community Christian school is an ambitious undertaking, it is important to have input and participation from as many Christians in the community as possible,” the letter states.

Andrew Cheatham, senior pastor of Concord Presbyterian Church in Waterloo, who is not on the exploratory committee but is interested in seeing the school built, said similar schools across the river have paved the way for this idea in Monroe County.

“This is brand new for Monroe County, but across the river this is old hat,” he said.

Exploratory committee member Michelle Perjak listed Victory Christian Academy in Arnold, Mo., as one example of this type of institution. Others in St. Louis area include Tower Grove Christian Academy in St. Louis and Central Christian School.

The next public meeting will take place at 7 p.m. July 27 at the annex building.

Sean McGowan

Sean is a die-hard Cubs fan, despite the relentless peer pressure coming from the rest of the Republic-Times staff. He and his wife, Jacqui, have been married for two years. Originally from the west suburbs of Chicago, Sean and his wife moved down to Normal to attend Illinois State University and stayed central Illinois residents for the past four years.