As you might imagine, there has been a huge focus this week amongst HCS staff on preparation for tomorrow’s 40 Year Thanksgiving Service and Gala Day. This is a direct outworking of our school value “Serve in Community” and is a lovely representation of the character of the HCS staff as a whole. I am thankful to God for Emma Schmidt who has been a driving force for the day. I am also thankful to the many families who have already contributed to the event in various ways.
I am particularly thankful for the families who began the school in 1983. Their story includes the sacrifice of money, time, and skills to build the school to what it is now. Recently I heard that the founding families each paid a year’s worth of school fees, before the school opened - to ensure that the school was resourced when it did open - and then they paid the school fees for that year to pay for their children’s education. Their story has become our story. Other stories include the purchase of land with money donated by families and the building of the first classrooms in the junior school by one of the fathers of a founding family for just the cost of the materials. This indicates the passion of these wonderful people to have a school that was able to explicitly honour God and to educate their children in such a way that they knew the truth about who God is and who they are: uniquely and wonderfully made in the image of God and loved by Jesus.
On Saturday we will be celebrating this. We are also celebrating all the families that have since joined the Heritage Chrisitan School community. Thank you to all of you who continue to sacrifice to ensure your children are “Inspired for lives of transformation through excellent, authentic Christ-centred education.” If that sounds like a vision statement, that’s because it is! This year the School Board, on behalf of Hastings Association of Christian Education, announced the reinvigorated vision for the school. I say reinvigorated because the vision of our school is entirely in line with the original vision of the school. I am truly thankful for this. It is inspiring for me as teacher to think that this work is for our young people to become transformed by God’s eternal truth and to be transformers of society through their service and actions.
John Maguire, in his article entitled “A Biblical Framework for Education”, makes the point that “[people] are first and foremost religious beings”. His argument is based in the Christian doctrine of Imago Dei – humans are created in God’s image. Maguire explains that because creator God has made us so, mankind has a desire to worship. You don’t have to look far to see this worship played out in society. We see the worship of the body, sun, wonderful experiences, money, sexuality, power, strength, and even sporting icons and national teams to name a few. Sadly, the worship of these created things always lets us down. Bodies age, the sun burns, wonderful experiences are transient, we never have enough money, we are unsatisfied, the powerful mistreat, and our sporting teams lose.
Because man will naturally desire to worship, it is so important that they worship the right thing. Our school seeks to Honour God in all we do. That means teaching our young people to do likewise. As we consider the 40-year history of our school, it is good to reflect on what those original families wanted for their children and to ensure we are committed to the same: inspiring students for lives of transformation and service through excellent, authentic Christ-centred education.
I’m praying for a rich week of learning and a wonderful day of celebration tomorrow. Please come and say hello, it will be great to see our families there.