I’m passionate about God’s people being equipped and ready to share their faith in the contexts they operate in. This will include families, neighbourhoods, workplaces, schools, sporting/hobby clubs, and plenty of other places and relationships. I’m also passionate about us as Christians going into spaces where we can shine as a light, make a difference by our presence and actions, and take up opportunities appropriate to the context, to share the good news of Jesus. I’m particularly conscious of the places in our society where children, young people and their families are present and how we might be God’s people there, which all leads me to be passionate about the school environment and how Christians could be involved in those spaces. My own story contributes to my passion for that context as well.
When I was a teenager I went to boarding school and very quickly joined the Christian group at school. Within months, I was involved in leading this group and with the wider inter-school networks related to our individual school group. There were years of significant shaping from leadership camps like the spring Leadership Camp which Kieran recently led, and attended by a number of our young people with strong growth in their faith as a result. It’s so encouraging to see where this investment in us as teenagers has led many of my cohort.
Here at St Philips, we are surrounded by schools. It’s fantastic to have a number of our congregation present within North Cottesloe Primary School each week. It’s also encouraging to see groups of students gathering for Bible study, encouragement and prayer in many of the schools in our area, and some of those groups gaining strength. Chaplains in government schools around our state offer tremendous support to school communities on a daily basis. These include Naomi Fulton at North Cottesloe Primary, Jessica Kenny at Cottesloe Primary and, slightly further afield, Jane Duff at Caralee Community School. It’s exciting to have gospel-minded chaplains like Nick Russell (Christ Church Grammar School) in some of our independent schools. And, importantly, there are teachers, students and parents who, through their roles, lives and presence, seek to shine as a light for Jesus in their school settings.
As we come to the end of the school year, would you join me in giving thanks for all that these people have offered into the lives of young people and their families through this year? Would you also pray for energy and perseverance as they come towards the end of the school year, and for rest and refreshment for them over the summer holidays? As well, would you pray for more people to recognise opportunities to be present and influence in these contexts where so many young people and their families are present and involved?
Thanks to those of you who are involved in or around school environments, as teachers, parents, students, chaplains, helpers, board members, curriculum shapers and plenty more. We celebrate you and pray for you.