From the Dean of Christian Culture
What is it all about?
Recent events have no doubt caused all of us to stop and think. I know this is the case for me. And I would suggest that our thinking has not only focused on the global pandemic, lockdowns, restrictions and vaccinations, but also on many other difficult situations of which we are aware. Both in this nation and across the world we sadly see story after story of greed, abuse, violence, division and hatred.
But I for one refuse to give up. I refuse to become negative in the midst of these seemingly overwhelming difficulties, and although I realise that every generation and every era and every culture has experienced these same frustrations throughout history, I would still like to see a situation where today we choose to keep trying to make a positive contribution and bring about a different environment for now and for the future. I sincerely hope that we all decide to focus on helping this world, and the people in it, to be much better than what we are currently experiencing.
What is it going to take to make it much better? Change.
That sounds altogether too simplistic; offering a one-word solution to a complex and challenging global situation, but it just might be the start we need. I am sure many of us have heard the old saying – “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result!” – so perhaps it really is time to try something different. To change.
But what exactly needs to change? We do. You and Me.
There is a wonderful Scripture in Romans 12:2 which simply says this;
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
The patterns of this world are not taking us anywhere productive in a hurry. The suggestion being offered in this Scripture is that we consider stepping away from the behaviours of the world and instead line up with God’s thinking. Maybe, just maybe, this transformation could help.
What potentially could we change?
What might be some of the things which would be positively altered if we decided to live according to God’s patterns and not our own?
- Life could be much better if our focus was US not
God’s plan is definitely for a we-culture not a me-culture. Everything in Scripture relates back to connection and relationship and family and team and group and community.
Unfortunately, our default position is so often a selfish one – What do I want? What is in it for me?
I noticed this really rise to the surface when a particular banking institution released a series of television advertisements about fifteen years ago full of wonderfully tear-jerking and motivational images of good-looking families achieving their dreams, and each individual advertisement carried the same voiceover tag line at their conclusion; “For the most important person in the world. You.”
The opposite pattern of thinking is illustrated in this story from The Bible;
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then He said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
And He told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:13-21
Reading this Scripture reminded me of a story I heard a few years ago about two brothers who owned a farm together and had worked side-by-side all their lives. One day they bumped into a rock buried in a paddock which they unearthed and discovered to be a precious gemstone. They fought and argued and could not agree who would keep it, and so decided to cut it in half. When the gemstone was valued on their behalf they were thrilled to discover that each of the two halves were worth $60,000 but devasted to hear that had they left it untouched and in one piece it would have been worth almost $2 million!
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all think more about us than me? Imagine if you will a time and place in the future where we have eliminated selfishness and created a new focus on selflessness. Beautiful.
- Life could be much better if our focus was on our RESPONSIBILITIES not only our RIGHTS.
This is related to the first point, but takes our thinking to the next step. As well as living selflessly with a focus on we not me, how about we also consider living generously; with an emphasis on giving not getting. How can I help? What can I contribute?
I recall, quite a few years ago, hearing the case of an individual who spilled coffee on themselves and then sued the café where the coffee was purchased, because the coffee was hot! Not to mention the story of the driver of the Winnebago who sued Winnebago because he crashed, after putting the vehicle on cruise control and heading into the back for a sleep!
Accepting our responsibilities alongside our rights is not always easy, but the patterns of life will flow much more smoothly if we work together as opposed to working against one other.
If we could all accept the challenge and begin to renew our thinking and transform our minds to be re-set to focus on even just those two small things to begin with, I suspect that would be a wonderful success.
- A selfless we-attitude, not a selfish me-attitude; and
- A generous ability to focus on my responsibilities not only my rights
Of course, the world has a different view of what constitutes success, so we may need to slightly adjust our perspective of success in this process as well.
Ask yourself today, “What is success?”
Here is a little thought to get you started.
“To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived;
This is to have succeeded.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) American Essayist & Poet.
Bless you all.
Rev. Tim Edwards
Dean of Christian Culture
What’s Happening at Middle School
Week 5, Monday 1st November 2021
Wed 3rd Nov – 8MRY GEOS Camp
Thurs 4th Nov – 9H & 9M Class Photo and Individual Portraits
Week 6, Monday 8th November 2021
Tues 9th Nov – Robert Noggler Presentation – Year 9
Wed 10th Nov – Robert Noggler Presentation – Year 8
Fri 12th Nov – Robert Noggler Presentation – Year 7
Moving Forward into a ‘New Normal’
It’s hard to believe that a week has flown by with all our students back on campus. It’s so wonderful to hear the voices of students in the classrooms, chatter along the balconies, and the laughter of young people filling the yard at recess and lunchtime once again.
With restrictions easing, the time has come for us to move into a post-lockdown new normal. While the prospect of heading back out into the world is exciting, not to mention seeing loved ones after months apart, it’s normal that you and your children might feel nervous or worried. Rest assured this is completely normal. To assist with the transition to the new normal, I have compiled some tips that you might find helpful if you, or your children are feeling overwhelmed.
Move at your own pace
Being able to access our freedoms again means there will be opportunities to get out and about and start to be a little bit more social again. This doesn’t mean you have to transform the way you live overnight and go back to the way things used to be. Take some time to assess what might change in your life in the coming weeks and months and make plans with a timeline that feels right for you, and what you are comfortable with.
You might prefer to ease back slowly — rushing to fill every day in your calendar and visit everyone right away isn’t necessary. If you need to, slow it down to a pace that suits you to build your confidence starting with places where you feel comfortable.
On the other hand, if you’re ready to jump into life where you left off that’s fine too. Keep following the latest health and safety guidelines to keep yourself and your community safe while enjoying life in the way that you are happiest.
Making plans and setting goals
During lockdown you might have already reflected on your life and goals and thought about what you want to achieve when the new normal arrives. Exploring new hobbies or activities might be something you’ve considered. Make a list of some of the things you’ve missed doing during lockdown and reassess if they’re things you’d like to move forward with.
Maintain good habits
When we started adjusting to restrictions and changes when lockdowns were initially introduced, it became apparent how important daily routines can be. If getting up and ready for school is a challenge, it shouldn’t take long to readjust again to find the motivation needed. You’ve done it before; you can do it again!
Just because restrictions are coming to an end, it doesn’t mean you need to stop doing some of the activities that you really enjoyed during lockdown. Many people found themselves become passionate about cooking, exercise routines or hobbies at home, and it’s okay to continue with the things you have come to love – especially if they’ve been good for you! Staying in your PJs until 10am everyday might be a challenge moving forward though.
It might be tempting to rush out and do everything all at once simply because we are allowed to but keep prioritising your self-care and don’t push yourself too hard. There’s plenty of time to enjoy those freedoms we’ve all been longing for.
Talk to your friends and families
If you feel anxious, apprehensive, or nervous about the easing restrictions and the re-introduction into the world, reach out and talk to those around you. Your friends, family and teachers can offer support and may even be experiencing similar feelings. After all, we’ve all been through this together and we’re coming out of it together too.
When making plans, don’t forget to check in with your friends and family about what they are comfortable doing. We are all different — communication is key to take a supportive approach as we navigate the new normal.
Remember, you might need to adjust your expectations a little because chances are, life won’t be exactly the same as pre-pandemic but there are still so many fun and exciting things to do in the new normal.
Please remember that support is always available. If you need to reach out, Mia Kafieris email@example.com and I (firstname.lastname@example.org) are available as your Middle School Chaplains. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you would like any support as we move forward together.
Take care and stay safe,
Lifeline Australia – Provides access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services
Telephone: 13 11 14
Beyond Blue – Provides information, and support for depression, anxiety and suicide prevention
Telephone: 1300 224 636
Headspace – Provides young people with information and resources on mental health, physical health, work and study support, and alcohol and other drug services
Telephone: 1800 650 890
1800 Respect – Provides 24 hour support to people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse
Telephone: 1800 737 732
Mindspot – Provides free effective internet delivered psychological assessment and treatment for stress, anxiety, worry, depression, low mood, OCD and trauma (PTSD)
Telephone: 1800 614 434
Kids Helpline – Provides private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25
Telephone: 1800 55 1800
Road to Winter
On Tuesday the 26th of October, the year 9 students heard from guest speaker, Mark Smith. Smith is author of the book Road to Winter, the final text being studied by the students this year. He shared his personal story of turning to literature after a significant accident which left him in a neck brace and incapacitated during his middle years in high school. From being a sporty, outdoorsy boy who had never read a book, Smith turned to reading to entertain the months he had to spend in a bed. This changed the course of his life. His personal story from adversity to becoming a writer engaged all of our students no matter their level of connection and love of reading and writing. He discussed his creative process, giving students tips to help develop their own writing skills such as how to create detail and complexity in character and setting. He also explained his planning process and his focus when crafting his narratives, particularly discussing the importance of developing a page-turning storyline and engaging characters. Furthermore, the students learned more about the influence of editors and the need to draft, edit and redraft their own work. There was a Q&A session at the end of his presentation and students were eager to ask questions. Smith even gave away some copies to his new book, ‘If Not Us’ which has just been released. With some inspiration from Smith, the Year 9 students are now writing their own creative story as part of their study of this text and author.
Reflection from year 9 student, Lucy Howard
Mark Smith’s debut novel, The Road to Winter, was an engaging and riveting read. I found I really got engaged with the emotional structures of each character. I loved the dystopian theme to this novel, as it is heartbreaking and warming within the same chapter. Smith takes you on a gut-wrenching exploration of a post-pandemic world in which almost the entire population has been killed by a virus (hitting a little too close to home there, I know). We follow the main character Finn as he navigates surviving on his own to suddenly protecting a stranger, Rose. As Finn helps Rose find her sister, we watch as Finn finds love and friendship when he least expects it. For future students who will study this text, I would recommend taking notes as you read the novel; put them in the margins of the page. I also stress the importance of using post-it tabs throughout the pages of the book, as it will help to find more direct quotes and navigate when finding themes.
Christian College Geelong – Cross Campus Musical Production 2022
Shrek the Musical
Everyone knows Shrek- the story of the ogre who just wants to be left alone but finds himself the saviour of all fairy tale creatures, on a quest to rescue an imprisoned princess accompanied by a very very talkative donkey. We are very excited to announce that ‘Shrek the Musical’ will be our cross-campus production for 2022.
Students from Years 7 – 11 (2021) from Highton and Bellarine Middle Schools, and the Senior Campus are invited to audition. We are seeking a cast of 50-60 students to play the colourful list of characters; including principal and support cast such as Shrek, Fiona and Donkey, as well as ensemble fairy tale and Duloc townsfolk.
Auditions will commence in early November; separate auditions will be held for those wishing to audition for a principal or supporting role and those wanting to be in the ensemble only. We hope to have casting completed in time for a read through of the script in the first week of December. Rehearsals will be held at the Senior Campus on Tuesday afternoons from 4.45-6.45 and Thursdays 4-6pm. Students must also be available for list of rehearsal dates on certain Sundays and student free days.
Please consider all details in the attached document before registering to audition. Students may register to audition via the online survey provided here up until Monday, November 1st.
Fiona Gardner – Co- Producer Shrek the Musical 2022 on behalf of Mandy Calderwood and the Production team
Order Your East Timor Calendar Now!
The 2022 East Timor calendar is due to arrive soon! Proceeds from sales will enable funding for 16 University scholarships. Each year Christian College sponsors four new university scholarships, and we are excited this year that these students will come from our very own Uma Maun Alin volunteers.
You can pre-order and pay for your calendar now by calling any one of our campuses and paying over the phone via EFTPOS. They will be available for collection in the next two to three weeks.
A MYTERN Message for This Week
Today, as well as being aware of what road you are on, also try to focus on what road others may be on.
Acknowledging what road they are on can influence how you respond to them.
And that’s a positive for everyone 👍😊