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In 1992 the first School-church service group formed in Denmark. The intention was to build a service for schools which was equivalent to the one offered to schools in most Danish museums, Zoos and other culture institutions where guided tours and teaching resources for qualitative learning is available.

The Danish church now have school-church service groups all over the country in around 42 different units with approximately 70 people employed. The staff consists of both teachers and theologists who write the teaching materials and often also visit schools as guest teachers.

Every local school-church service develops new teaching projects every year which are offered to the schools free of charge in individual catalogues within their area or council district. The projects are extremely popular and are acknowledged for their thorough quality. Often there is a cultural event, a workshop with an artist, a guest teacher or a visit to the local church included in the project. 

The school-church collaboration in Denmark is an educational collaboration between local churches and schools.

Each school-church unit is financed by local parishes around Denmark, mostly organized based on deaneries or dioceses. The main purpose is the preparation of educational projects for use in Danish primary and secondary comprehensive schools.

The teaching takes place during school hours and must always be on the school´s terms and follow The Education Act (curriculum) and in the end it is the teacher who is responsible for the teaching– precisely as when the school collaborates with any other external organisation or institution.

The collaboration between school and church is one of the ways that the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Denmark takes on responsibility for sharing knowledge of the fundamental values of Danish and European culture to coming generations. Values that are built upon the Christian understanding of the human being – trust, community, charity, care, and forgiveness. The collaboration is based on neither the religion nor the personal belief of any single student. All pupils – regardless of ethnic, cultural or religious background – can attend educational projects offered by The School-Church Service of the Danish National Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark.

School and church have since 1975 been legally independent institutions in Denmark. In that way the school-church collaboration is purely curriculum based Religious Education. Most of the local school-church collaborations work together in a national network, The School-Church Service of the Danish National Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark https://www.folkekirkensskoletjeneste.dk .

Every second year this National Network for the School-Church Service work together developing a large national teaching project which is available to all Danish schools via their local school-church Service. These projects are well known and popular with teachers. Around 30,000 children are usually taught using these projects across Denmark. The projects are free of charge for the teachers to acquire if they have a school-church service within their area and other schools can also access them for a small payment.

The Danish school system includes both primary and secondary school within the same building and leadership, and with ages ranging from 5 to 16 years old. The national projects therefore variate in which age group they are aimed for: youngest (5-9 years old), middle group (10-13 years old) and oldest ( 14 to 16 years old).

Examples of previous national projects:

On edge with Kierkegaard in 2013 (Oldest group): A project about the Danish theologian and philosopher Søren Kirkegaard. A cartoon strip was produced about him and the project also included works of five famous Danish artists (Peter Brandes, Maja Lisa Engelhardt, Christian Lemmerz, Cathrine Raben Davidsen and Erik A. Frandsen). They each made piece of art to themes from Kierkegaard´s philosophy. https://paakant.dk/underviserlogin
(For further information please contact Christine Holm Clayton CHHC@km.dk.)
Soundtracks – playing with biblical stories in 2015 (Youngest group): A project about music and biblical stories. A digital sound platform was developed where students could combine sound and bible stories to give the stories mood and atmosphere. www.lydspor.net
Re:formation –  thesis, faith and doubt in 2017 (Middle group): A project about Luther and the Reformation on the occasion of the 500 year anniversary of the reformation.https://re-formation.dk/
(For further information please contact Christine Holm Clayton CHHC@km.dk.)
Is everything going go to hell? (Oldest group): in 2019: A project evolving around a short story by the Danish author Kenneth Bøgh Andersen and a board game where the students are challenged to make impossible choices in a dystopic universe.  https://www.gårdetheleadhelvedetil.dk
(For further information please contact Christine Holm Clayton CHHC@km.dk.)
Monsters in action: in 2021(Youngest group): A project about monsters in myths, folklore, and Christianity. A “big book” was written about the theme including monsters from myths, folklore, and Christianity. A symphony orchestra recorded music to accompany the teacher when reading the book to the children. https://monstre.dk
(For further information please contact Christine Holm Clayton CHHC@km.dk.)

The school-church collaboration has shown to be a unique way of making pupils aware of some of the values that make up the core of “Danish and European culture”. The subjects relate to both the RE and the general goals in the Danish Educational Act. A national survey in 2016 stated the school-church collaboration is of great support to pupils, teachers, school and church.

Sørensen, Peter Green; Larsen, Irene, 2016, ”Selv om man tror på noget andet kan man godt være et sødt menneske” (“Even though you believe in something else, you can still be a nice person”). A Survey of the Collaboration between the Danish Comprehensive School and the Danish Evangelical-Lutheran Church. Center for Pastoral Education and Research.  

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