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My name is Denise. I’m a teacher assistant at the Assumption Catholic School and I teach Special Religious Education (or Scripture) at Kelso Public.

My SRE journey began when I was just a child. I attended a Catholic school in Sydney and was taught by the nuns. I was so inspired by them. I admired their faith and commitment, and I wanted to be just like them. I told myself, and God, that I was going to become a nun one day.

Well that didn’t happen! My upbringing and culture had me married at a young age, and I was blessed with three amazing children – two daughters and a son.

Growing up in a faith-filled family, I wanted the same for my own. Both my husband and I had attended private schools and were raised to go to church and pray.

When the time came for our eldest to start school, we struggled with the decision of where to send her. Do we send her to a private school, or to the public school right next door to our home?

As I was expecting my third child, it seemed most convenient to have her close by and give public schooling a go, but I was concerned about what religious education she would be getting. I would go and help with reading and craft, and take my toddler and then newborn with me. It was going well… In my daughter’s second year, a friend mentioned that helpers were needed in the scripture classes and wanted to know if I was interested.

My thoughts went back to that child who wanted to become a nun and serve God. I saw this as my opportunity to make up for not following through. I had carried guilt for some time and felt like I had let God down. I enjoyed the school environment and saw this as my chance to share the Good News.

There were many wonderful volunteers from many Christian churches back in 1992.  All the students were divided into their denominational groups and sometimes a few would follow their friends, not knowing any different. That, of course, changed several years later to ecumenical teaching as volunteers diminished, and it was easier to keep classes together.

I started off as a helper for the first five years and then took on a class of my own. I was nervous to begin with, but had to get past that, to fulfil my responsibility and duty to my Lord and the community.

It’s been the most incredible journey. I have grown spiritually and personally. With every lesson, I learn something new. The Holy Spirit has been a great companion. He has helped me with the tricky questions, but more importantly nurtured the seeds planted in the little hearts of those children. To see their faces light up in awe and their expressions when it all starts making sense, and the emotion they feel as they take on the message, is just so rewarding.

No, it’s not always smooth sailing. The students can be challenging, and often enjoy debating and questioning. But it’s also quite amusing when they want to know who God’s mother and father are…. what God eats…. or what car He drives! I’d like to think God has a shiny Ford Mustang, but I think He prefers the four-legged horsepower!

Whilst our primary purpose is to teach the students, we must keep in mind the adults in the room. They too – are listening, they too – need direction. There’ve been several occasions where a staff member has been going through trauma or grief and have needed the lesson more than their class did. We must never underestimate the power of our words and actions.

It’s been 32 years of SRE for me, only one year off in between. I wouldn’t change it for anything. It’s an honour and privilege to be in this ministry and I pray to continue in the future.

Please consider joining this wonderful ministry as a helper just like I did 32 years ago. 

Jesus said….”Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”.

Together let us be Christ’s disciples…

Denise Basha

For information about becoming a SRE Catechist or to register your interest contact: 

Vicki Mair – Southern Region SRE Coordinator
Jacinta Thatcher
– SRE Northern Region Coordinator

Ph: 02 6334 6426