Yesterday I delivered my conference on Lottery Winners, Money and Religious Faith in a school in Doncaster. I was delighted that Joel Cribbin, a gifted youthworker came with me to observe the conference. I had to squeeze a 90 minute conference into 55 minutes which was very challenging.

During the conference, students are invited to think critically about the responsible and irresponsible ways in which people use their money. They hear the heart-warming story of Christian woman Sheelah Ryan, who won $55 million in 1988 and used her jackpot in an imaginative, faithful and responsible way which contributed greatly to her community. This is contrasted with the story of William ‘Bud’ Post who won $16 million in the same year but ended up a sad and bankrupt man. Bud’s brother hired a hit-man to murder Bud in order to inherit the cash bonanza. He went to prison! How is faith present in all these stories of money madness? We explored secular, pagan, new age and Christian perspectives on luck and money. At the end of the conference I explained the remarkable Christian faith of George Muller and how God answered his prayers to feed and clothe 10,000 orphans!

I was very pleased with the feedback. Three girls stayed behind to ask excellent questions about faith. It got even better when the Headmaster of the school told me he had used one of my articles in the Baptist Times as a school assembly. He also tweeted that the RB conference had been ‘inspirational as ever’. Joel liked the stories but he pointed out that I should spend more time doing group work. Excellent point. I defended my corner by explaining that in schoolswork you have to improvise and I had to adapt my conference to a much shorter time frame.

Overall this was a good time with young people but I will listen carefully to Joel’s comments.

Mark Roques

Mark Roques

For eleven years Mark taught Philosophy and Religious Studies at Prior Park College, Bath. As Director of RealityBites since 2005, he has developed a rich range of resources for teachers and is a popular speaker at educational conferences in the UK, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. Mark is the author of three books, including the Religious Education textbook The Good, The Bad and The Misled, and his innovative approach has led him to appear on television (Channel 4) and radio.