CS Lewis, a great Anglican of last century said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not just because I see it, but because through it I see everything else.”
The Christian message is certainly a message of hope. We need only to open our eyes and look at our youth to see what a treasure they are to us all. Teenagers especially know how much they need hope in this world, a hope that sometimes can be rather daunting and at times overwhelming. They also know that with affirmation and the right encouragement they can be ‘hopeful visionaries’.
Recently Chaplains and Religious Education teachers, Principals and Bishops attended the biennial Anglican Schools Conference held at St Margaret’s College in Christchurch.
For a group of Year 12 students attending the conference the 5 Marks of Mission:
- Proclaiming the Gospel
- Nurturing Believers
- Responding to Human Need
- Transforming the Unjust Structures in Society and
- Caring for Creation
were key discussion points. The workshops were led by Phil Trotter (National Youth Advisor) and Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley, (Bishop of Waikato) and students came up with ideas on how they envision the future of church schools.
From the workshops came five key action plans: tell, teach, tend, transform and treasure. As a result, by the end of the conference the students had put together their collective thoughts:
- Modern-style chapel services to tell
- National Anglican Schools camp to teach
- Mentoring young children in the community to tend
- Fundraising for educational resources in Polynesia to transform
- Outdoor chapel services to treasure
Sam Johnson, who led the Student Army after the Christchurch earthquakes, was the guest dinner speaker at the conference. He shared how he has recently been working in disaster zones in Nepal and Japan and said how his Student Army experience in Christchurch reflected the role of young helpers throughout history. Sam said the key is in recognising skills in one another and using technology to bring about a smart outcome. He also gave appreciation for and paid tribute to his time being educated at Christ’s College, especially his learning in Religious Education classes and Chapel. He said his global learning and the caring ethic taught at school helped him immensely when it came to recognising times of crisis.
Homeroom Chapel Services
Our Friday Chapels are led by different Homeroom groups and their Mentors with each House sharing their chosen theme. By doing this, every student in the school actively participates in leading worship before their peers. Rouncil homerooms are focussing on servant leadership, Tauroa on random acts of kindness, Frimley on love and forgiveness and Wallingford on morals.
I have been impressed by the creative ways students have willingly shared their House theme. TCA’s random act of kindness service had a lovely ending. Everyone was asked to look under their seat (pew) to see if they had a prize and 15 girls walked out of chapel with yummy chocolate and big smiles on their faces.
These services have given students the chance to express the Christian faith through their personal and unique presentations and especially in reinforcing the Gospel message of ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself’. These student led services are sure to build a strong spiritual foundation at Woodford.
“If we all do our random acts of kindness daily, we just might set the world in the right direction.” ~ Martin Kornfeld
Thank you to all who helped make our Grandparents Day service a success.
Special thanks to Mrs Williams’ Food Technology classes which helped make heart-shaped shortbread and also the Year 9s and Ms Dustin’s Year 7/8 classes for creating the bookmarks.
My blessings to you all,
Reverend Joy Hamilton-Jones, Chaplain