Thread: Plymouth Brethren - advice please Board: Oblivion / Ship of Fools.
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Posted by Smudgie (# 2716) on
I am, as of February 25th, moving back into teaching from my current career - initially going into supply work until the right job comes along.
A recruitment agency I have registered with has contacted me today to see whether I might be interested in a long-term placement in an independent school run by the Plymouth Brethren. They state that teachers of any faith or none are welcome to apply.
I'm intrigued. I know a little bit about the Plymouth Brethren but not enough to decide whether to apply or not. The only hint of the "difference" was that female teachers are required to wear a long skirt (I'm guessing that means not trousers), and that there may be some different rules about things like internet use.
I am a Methodist.
I'm wondering whether there are any shipmates on here who know more about the Brethren than I do who could tell me things which might help me make my decision as I don't want to apply for a job which I would then find difficult to fulfil ethically if the differences are too marked.
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on
Smudgie, I would first try to find out just which group they are from. If they say they accept most, then the may well be Open brethren and a Methodist could fit quite well apart from different ideas of church and its government. There are varying degrees of strictness and while I did know one Christian girl down here who was employed by Londoners ie Exclusives, this group would normally have nothing to do with those not in fellowship with them. Of course, things may be different to here .
PM me if you like with questions. I was in a group for many years which was fairly closed but not Exclusives.
Posted by Smudgie (# 2716) on
I'm fairly confident it will be Open, though the website of the school only says "Christian Brethren". I've asked the recruitment agency to find out.
How might they differ from a non-Brethren school? Would there be things like worship and would it be different from what I expect? What are the restrictions on dress? Behaviour? I know that the Brethren try to discourage those things that may distract attention from God and that technology/internet etc fall under that heading (something I can pretty much relate to) so what sort of impact might that have on the classroom? I'm interested in the fact that they want a Year 7 teacher who teaches in the Primary style. Is that usual?
Posted by PeteC (# 10422) on
They don't seem to dislike the internet and they have a Facebook page!
Posted by QLib (# 43) on
I would suggest that - as you might with any school - you consider a preliminary visit and informal discussion. If you then decide to apply (and I guess that might partly depend on whether taking up the post would involve a re-location) make it very clear who you are and where you're coming from. If you get as far as interview, that will in itself give some idea of how open they are - and I would imagine that questions about differences on matters of conscience could and should be discussed at interview.
Maybe my view of the Brethren is outdated, but I think it would be worth asking about both sex education and disciplinary sanctions (no 50 Shades jokes please!)
Posted by Welease Woderwick (# 10424) on
I'm with QLib, you need to visit complete with a list of questions including ones about the official faith of the school impinges on the curiculum. In my working days, thankfully long gone, I pretty much always made a point of visiting somewhere to get a feel for it and also, when I was a manager, was more inclined to shortlist candidates who had bothered to visit rather than those couldn't be bothered.
eta: there were quite a few places where an initial visit was enough to decide that I wouldn't be bothering to apply! Crewe to Dorset and back in a day to see the most awful place!
[ 30. January 2013, 14:13: Message edited by: Welease Woderwick ]
Posted by Matt Black (# 2210) on
Doesn't sound like the Taylorite Exclusives to me - they're the ones to really watch out for IMO.
Posted by Pia (# 17277) on
I used to be married to someone whose family were (open) Brethren. My ex-father-in-law used to preach in many different local non-conformist places, including Methodist chapels.
My ex had long since drifted away from the faith, so I never went to one of their meetings. I understand, however, that women have to cover their heads and are not allowed to speak during meetings. They were particularly strict about keeping the Sabbath holy and would not watch TV, do household chores, or take part in hobbies on a Sunday.
Sorry that I don't know more. It was quite a long time ago and not a time I look back on with a lot of joy.
Posted by Latchkey Kid (# 12444) on
I grew up the Open/Christian Brethren in Middlesex in the 60s and though I had problems with their strictness and left while my father was an elder, I still have fond memories as well.
Views varied within the assembly and between assemblies. We had limited ecumenism (we joined on missions with the Baptists up the road and participated in the Billy Graham missions, but were not too keen on the Roman Catholic church, and the rest of my family made the break after me when the elders would not allow my sister to marry an Anglican in the Assembly Hall).
When I was growing up we could not watch TV (a new technology) on Sunday, but that was relaxed later.
They did not express views on drinking much, but I observed that visitors were not averse to being offered wine with a meal.
And they are non-sacramental. The Lord's Supper is a memorial.
There is a Brethren initiated forum called Simple Gathering, though recently it has been very quiet. It occasionally gets complaints of the I Thought This Was A Brethren Forum type, just as the Ship gets similar ones.
Posted by CuppaT (# 10523) on
I have not been to a PB chapel since I was 17, but I am thankful for my upbringing and my good founding in the Holy Scriptures. I grew up believing the Sunday School songs I was taught, like "red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight". Apparently, the grown-ups didn't sing those songs and their theology turned out differently. My father, at least, is pretty sure that anyone (including us) who is not PB is not Christian, and said so to my husband once. Our church was Open, but I did not know that at the time, and did not even know that it was Plymouth Brethren until I was filling out a college application and HAD to put down a denomination. My mom told me then.
On the other hand, some theology just makes sense and sticks. I grew up wearing a head covering, it was explained to me scripturally, and I have prayed with one ever since. It was hard sometimes because strange women would come up to me welcome me to their church and ask if I was Mennonite or what, and I had no clue what to say, but eventually life evened out. At my church now some do, some don't; I couldn't even tell you who does or doesn't.
Good luck with your new job!
Posted by Chorister (# 473) on
I worked for a while in a school with a Brethren foundation; all the senior staff were Brethren. It was a long time ago, but I don't remember any particular demands being made of non-Brethren staff. There was compulsory attendance at services; staff meetings always began with prayer. Otherwise, the school operated just like any other school, but with slightly more overt evangelistic assemblies. I'm not sure whether they used a particular RE syllabus - I wasn't aware of one.
Posted by TurquoiseTastic (# 8978) on
If the website PeteC linked to is anything to go by, I'm not sure this group is linked to the Plymouth Brethren at all. It looks more charismatic/pentecostal, which the Brethren definitely are not. Are you sure it's not just a group with a similar-sounding-name?
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on
Looking at their website, they seem to have no connection with the PB at all. Their founder is apparently a Nigerian who was converted through listening to a Lutheran radio broadcast.
I think they are independent; of course this doesn't mean they haven't perhaps picked up some "Brethren" principles along the way - as happened to Watchman Nee's "Little Flock" in China.
Posted by Smudgie (# 2716) on
Thanks to all of you who've helped me do my thinking. Just as I was thinking that it was sounding an interesting proposition, I discovered that they were actually looking for a sight more middle management experience than I have. But it's been interesting to hear a little more about a group of which I previously had very little experience.
Posted by chive (# 208) on
The wife of one of my colleagues works in a Brethren school. She says that the girls are impeccably behaved and the atmosphere is excellent. The one drawback she finds is that the pupils do not have huge expectations of going on to further or higher education as that is not particularly valued in the culture in which they live. I don't know how open or closed the brethren that run the school are but she is an atheist and is very happy working there.
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