Home   Thanet   News   Article

St Lawrence College in Ramsgate withdraws support for charity Samaritan’s Purse after complaint from parent about Christian beliefs

An independent school in Ramsgate has come under fire for severing ties with a Christian charity after one complaint from a parent about its beliefs on marriage.

St Lawrence College has been working with the Samaritan's Purse for the past year, helping with its ‘Operation Christmas Child’ project which sends supplies to vulnerable children abroad.

St. Lawrence College
St. Lawrence College

However, the school in College Road says it will no longer work with the charity after one set of parents demanded it dropped its support based on the charity's religious beliefs which are stated on its website.

The charity led by Franklin Graham, who is the son of the renowned evangelist, Billy Graham, follows The Church of England’s stance that marriage is the exclusive union of one man and one woman.

But the parent in question described Franklin Graham as "homophobic" and called the college’s support for Samaritan’s Purse "disturbing".

They also alleged that anyone who shares those beliefs is a "danger to children".

Other parents have described the decision of the £12,485-a-year college - which follows Christianity - as a “betrayal of Christian children and parents at the school”.

The chapel at St Lawrence College
The chapel at St Lawrence College

However, a since-deleted web page created by the complainants - who are being supported by Humanists UK - said: "It’s time for the school to change, not us".

Humanists UK campaigns to eradicate faith schools from the education system.

Despite the college initially dismissing the complaint, it released a statement last month which said: "The college chose to support Operation Christmas Child – a charitable scheme which involves filling shoe boxes with gifts and sending them abroad to benefit disadvantaged children.

"The College carried out due diligence on Samaritan’s Purse and believed its values were in line with the College’s Christian ethos.

"We now accept our research, which was conducted in good faith, did not give sufficient consideration of the wider potential impact that supporting Operation Christmas Child may have on the existing college community, or a proper assessment of the charitable purposes of Samaritan’s Purse.

"It is important to be clear that such views are not in line with a school where pupils can be themselves and are respected and celebrated for who they are"

"We have therefore decided not to support this charity in future."

The statement went on to reference how Samaritan’s Purse is opposed to same-sex marriage, and that: "While it is important to respect the right to freedom of expression and the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion within the bounds of the law, it is also important to be clear that such views are not in line with a school where pupils can be themselves and are respected and celebrated for who they are.

"We recognise that teaching across our curriculum and our pastoral care should respect and reflect the diversity in today’s society, and the importance of equality in our society and institutions."

One parent at the 625-pupil school, who wished to stay anonymous, said: “I feel very let down as the school has failed to stand with Christian children and parents on this issue.

"It is a betrayal of the purpose for which the college was founded.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern. Picture: Ruth Towell
Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern. Picture: Ruth Towell

“Many Christian parents, especially in Africa, have spent vast amounts of money sending their children to board at the school because of its Christian ethos.

"They would expect their children’s faith to be respected and not for support for a charity to be dropped on these discriminatory grounds.

“The school is trying to have a foot in both the secular and Christian world, which just won’t work.

“If the school does not reverse its decision, it will embolden the complainants and the governors who support them to go further.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said: “This school has an amazing history linked to its Christian roots and has sadly bowed the knee to pressure from a small minority pressure group – Humanists UK.

“How sad to see a Christian school, with such an amazing heritage, pressured into abandoning its support for one of the most effective emergency relief organisations in the world just because it won’t water down what it believes in.

“This is another in a long line of cancel culture stories where the pressure of an ideological LBGT lobby has forced people in charge into submission because they are scared to resist. This has to stop.”

St Lawrence College has been approached for further comment.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More