Sunday, May 22nd, was Prince Royal’s College Day at First Church. Prince Royal’s College is a private Christian school (K-12) that was established by missionaries over one hundred years ago. It is one of 24 private Christian schools within the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) in the country. On this particular day, the teachers from PRC came to church in uniform (navy blue and white) and took up one-third of the pews in the sanctuary at both services. An orchestra of students played during the service, a choir of students and staff sang the anthem in English, an administrator of PRC led worship and read the scripture, and a graduate of PRC (who also went on to graduate from university and seminary) preached the sermon.
There is a strong partnership between the churches of the Church of Christ in Thailand and the schools operated by the church throughout the country. At the beginning of each school year, First Church Chiangmai recognizes the five CCT schools in Chiangmai by highlighting a different school each week. Last Sunday, May 15th, was Dara Academy Day and the church was filled with red and white uniforms. Dara Academy, an all-girl K-12 school, also provided an instrumental group, a choir, an administrator to lead worship, and (believe it or not) a female graduate (who went on to university and seminary and now serves as an ordained minister) to preach!
Chiangmai has five of the twenty-four schools in the CCT. All of these schools use volunteers to teach English to their students. That cadre of volunteers represents the largest single category of volunteers that come through the Christian Volunteers in Thailand program that I have been hired to coordinate. PRC alone has 16 non-Thai who teach English, among a faculty of about 50 in that department. I guess I should mention that PRC has over 6,000 students. Not all of these students are Christian. Many middle-class Thai are willing to pay the tuition for their children to attend PRC, as the schools of the CCT are recognized throughout Thailand as schools that provide a superior education. Jack Neale heads up the English Department at PRC and has been filling my ears with the school’s need for more volunteers to teach English while we stay in his home. Expect to hear more on this subject!