I started writing this newsletter Wednesday morning watching the updates on various news websites and waiting on education specific updates. Now it is Thursday morning and a lot has changed. Once again, we are in a time of rapidly changing information and growing uncertainty. Holiday plans have been shelved and people’s work and travel arrangements are being rapidly reorganised.
That said, we have a far better understanding of what is involved in navigating the current situation than we did 15 months ago. Secondly, God’s sovereignty over all things is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, and this is a great assurance
One key thing that we have learnt from the past 12 months is that a successful response for controlling disease requires consistent community actions to limit the spread. Complacency towards the health restrictions will prolong the impacts of COVID-19 in our community. I call on all members of our community to take the current restrictions seriously to work together to prevent wider spread of COVID.
It is because of previously successful disease control we have enjoyed a wide range of activities that contribute to the rich experiences of learning at Carey. Our students have participated in Year 11 Biology fieldwork, a Year 8 Poetry intensive, school musical rehearsals, drama performances of the ‘Guilty Party’ and ‘Shades of Shakespeare’. Parent teacher interviews with Year 11 and 12 families were conducted online to provide for flexibility and greater engagement. We hosted students and parents in the Year 11 2022 subject selection night and celebrated 100 Days of Kindergarten. Sadly, we have not been able to host parents, carers and guests at our end of term assemblies for both Primary and High School. However, this is temporary.
As you can see there is so much we can do in a healthy community.
The topic of ‘respect for others’ continues to be an essential one when it comes to caring for our students. Responding with respect at all times can be a challenge for all of us. The Bible outlines that our default position is ‘self interest’. Sadly, when people find themselves in high stress or challenging situations, respect for others can easily be forgotten and harm can be the result. For our students, developing respect for others is a matter of learning, growth and maturation. The Bible also points us to the change that Christ brings to the lives of those who choose to trust in him. This change includes how we relate to others with respect.
Through this term we have run a number of programs in both Primary and High School for students on this topic. We are committed to providing good guidance for our students and to work alongside parents and carers in the development of this attribute in their children.
Over the holiday break school leadership teams will be meeting to continue to develop programs linked to wellbeing and growing in respect for others. Key focus areas include:
– respecting others and their property;
– resolving conflict well, and;
– how to engage constructively in shared decision making.
It is also on the theme of respect that we will be using an Acknowledgement of Country as part of the assembly program. The wording of William Carey Christian School’s welcome to country is:
On behalf of William Carey Christian School, I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land upon which we meet. In His wisdom and love, God provided this land which was accessed by the peoples of the Dharawal (Tharawal) and Darug Nations. On this land they taught their children their beliefs, knowledge, and culture for generations. In God’s sovereignty, He has allowed other groups of people to migrate to this land. As we continue to learn and live together on this land, we acknowledge and pay our respects to elders, past and present. I extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples here today and pray that God will unite us all in a knowledge of his Son, Jesus Christ, in and through whom all things were created.
An Acknowledgement of Country is a statement of recognition of the traditional owners of the land, the history of this place, God’s sovereignty over the earth and the responsibility on those who have and do live here to be good stewards of what God provides. It is also a message that speaks to reconciliation. Firstly, between God and humans in Jesus and secondly between one another.
The use of this statement is also intended to show respect for Aboriginal people, their heritage and culture as part of our School’s responsibility to develop students to grow in knowledge and understanding. It also enables students’ capacity to participate in the ongoing development of a just and equitable Australian society that genuinely reconciles with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
So as this is our last newsletter for this term and look to Term 3 with a sense of excitement (mixed with uncertainty), I wish you a safe and healthy break, responding to our current situation in ways that care and respect others, working together to return as quickly as possible to the low level restrictions that allowed us to run the great programs we have enjoyed over the past two terms.
Yours in Christ,
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:18-21