Just before Christmas break, Mr. Welch had the opportunity to visit with several government leaders in D.C. related to the continuing role of faith-based education in America. While attending, Chip, together with his father, Bobby Welch, was called upon to speak to a group of educators at the Paideia Conference in Greenbelt, MD. Please read the excerpt below from a recent publication covering the events.
On Thursday-Saturday, November 30-December 2, 2017, THE PAIDEIA CONFERENCE convened in the format called Weekend Dialogue.
The Conference proper began on Thursday afternoon at the steps of the Capitol building. Admitted to the StromThurmond Room, the PAIDEIA group was hosted by senior staff and policy makers such as Jennifer Marshall, Vice President of the Heritage Foundation. From the Senate, we proceeded to the Department of Education, where we met with a half-dozen key members of the Department, including Maureen Dowling, Director of the Office of Non-Public Education. Again, our group expressed our concern over issues of religious liberty as it pertains to the mission and vision of our schools. Given Secretary DeVos’ own Christian school and college experience, and her evident continuing interest by onsite visits, we have reason for hope.
From the Department of Education we made our last stop on our tour and held briefings in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Building, part of the White House complex. There, we were addressed by Andrew Bremberg, Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and two other members of his team. Once again, we heard assurances that religious freedom is an inviolable Constitutional right for our schools and for all American citizens. It was an impressive closing to our extraordinary close-up to government.
Throughout Friday and Saturday, the chosen theme of “Government and the Faith-Based School” aimed at specific topics. Each topic was introduced by a brief address, followed by extended time for discussion and debate.
Bobby Welch, Vice President, PAIDEIA, Inc., and his son, Chip Welch, Head of The Habersham School in Savannah, GA, pointed to what ought to be a major distinctive among faith-based schools, namely our curriculum and its moral worldview based on authoritative texts. For the Christian schools represented, this means a Biblical worldview, which Bobby Welch helpfully defined as Formation in Creation, Deformation in the Fall, and Re-formation in God’s Covenants, and ultimately in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. He challenged us to be more intentional in helping students acknowledge an awareness of God’s active presence in reforming his world through reforming humanity in his image.
(adapted from “The Peideia Letter”, Vol. XXIX, Number 2, Fall 2017)