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'Release time' Christian classes coming
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High school students in Newton County will soon have the opportunity to learn more about Christianity, through a new program geared toward offering religious studies outside of school.

The Newton County Christian Learning Center is a Christ-centered, nondenominational program.

Its director, Chad Caldwell, said it represents a form of "release-time education," through which students enrolled in public schools are permitted by law to receive religious instruction as long as parents sign a permission form.

"Release-time" classes usually meet at a nearby church or school, and no public funds are used, Caldwell said. He also said NCCLC has a board of directors, which includes Chairman Sonya Hopper; Vice Chairman G.W. Davis; Secretary Glenda Abdullahi; Treasurer Johnny Smith; and board members Kyle Berry and Sheldon Landy.

Caldwell said the NCCLC program will be available to all high school students, preferably juniors and seniors who can provide their own transportation. The first class is scheduled to start in January at Journey Church, 1150 Monticello St., Caldwell said. Classes will be taught by Kurt Petersheim, a youth pastor at Eastridge Community Church.

According to information from NCCLC, students will be able to take the following courses:

• Family, Community, and Careers - A course that examines God’s plan for lives and relationships.

• Life Skills and Careers - A course that examines how to understand God’s will for our lives, careers, and ministries, specifically outlining how to make wise decisions when planning for college, pursuing a career, handling money, and leading in ministry, based upon Scripture.

• Current Issues - A course that examines the truths of scripture as they relate to issues facing society and the church today.

 • Comparative religions -- A course that will examine the core beliefs, values and worldviews of the major religions around the world, beginning with Christianity, which will be taught as absolute truth.

Chad’s wife Lori Caldwell said information about the program can be found at, and on the NCCLC’s Facebook page, "Newton County Christian Learning Center-CLC."

Through the website, people can also make tax-deductible donations to help the NCCLC program, she said. 

Registration information will be available in October.