Archbishop and the Lord’s Prayer

Rowan Williams thinks the Lord’s Prayer should be taught in public schools because of its importance. I agree it is important; on teaching it in the public schools I have no opinion other than to say the problem is shaped more by lack of church attendance than public schools.

The study, which compared the answers of children aged 6-12 years old and adults who would have been that age 40 years ago, found that children today are less familiar with religious texts than their parents.

However, they are twice as likely to say that religion is important to them compared with those growing up in the 1970s.

Of the 1011 adults surveyed, 931 out of 1011 (92 per cent) said they knew the Lord’s Prayer as a child, while only 571 out of 1040 (55 per cent) of children knew it today.

The Archbishop of Canterbury told the BBC he believed that children should be taught the Lord’s Prayer in schools and is worried by news that half as many children know the prayer.

Dr Rowan Williams said: “I’d like to see schools introducing children to the Lord’s Prayer, so that they know that it’s there, they know what it means and know why it matters.”


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  • Timothy

    I think it unlikely that he specified “public schools”. It would be very snobbish for him to do so if only Eton and Harrow and the like were to learn the Lord’s Prayer.

  • James Petticrew

    Yeah very strangely “public school” in the UK refers to fee paying schools. Rowan was referring to local authorities school and many do teach the Lords Prayer. We started every morning in the 70s in my primary school in .Scotland with the Lords Prayer And my kids in the 2000s certainly learned it too.

  • Kyle

    I’d say that the law won’t be a law much longer, especially if Williams unintentionally draws attention to the startling discrepancy between the letter of the law and the practice of the schools.

    This according to the National Secularist Society:

    On the topic of the law mandating collective Christian worship, “Almost two-thirds (64%) of parents told a survey that their children did not attend such an activity and over two thirds (67%) of parents do not support enforcing the law.”

  • Michael J. Teston

    Although this is concerned with the UK its alway intrigued me how “church” folk try to insist that somehow the “public/government” sphere of education should teach the ways of Jesus to children when it has become clear the “church” has failed to make a credible case for the things of God and see dwindling attendance and interest in “alignment” with the ways of God as Jesus taught. If the case can’t be made by the “church” no way should government and schools bear such the burden the church has failed at. Just my .02.

  • I’m with Michael. Preaching the Gospel is the task of the Church. If the Lord’s Prayer is being taught in a state school, it would only be as a cultural artifact. I would rather see the Lord’s Prayer be seen as a prayer of the Church than “something that British people know.”

    On a side note, as an Anglican I’d like to say that Rowan Williams doesn’t have any credibility on these issues. He is a fine academic, but he has been a incompetent church leader.