Comments from the Principal 26th February 2021
Kia ora e te whanau
Lent – Time to take a step back and notice God more
Submerged in a world of distraction, there are more reasons than ever for young people finding it difficult to practice disciplines that are important for their own growth. We invite our students during this season of Lent to slow down and notice everything around them in the natural world. Notice the ant crawling through the grass. Notice the way we spend our time when it is up to us. Notice the kid who ends up as the punch line of everyone’s jokes.
Above it all, we are inviting them to notice God, the way God is actively at work in and around us each day, the way God speaks through Scripture and through our community, the whispers in the silence, and the shouts from the dramatic sunset. It turns out that paying attention can make all the difference. In the midst of all that noticing, we’re inviting them into practices of faith. These practices, or disciplines, shape us largely because they open up space in our lives to notice, and make meaning of God with us. The more we practice, the more we form patterns and rhythms in our lives that in turn allow the Holy Spirit to do the work of transformation. So when we pray, we become more aware of God and what God is doing. When we forgive someone, we notice that God is at work forgiving us too.
Traditionally Lent is a time of fasting, a time of giving something up. Another way to approach Lent is to subtract things so we can add in new things. If we give up an hour of video games, what do we do with those extra 60 minutes? If we give up lattes, what do we do with that money? Maybe it is adding silence and stillness to a life full of noise and movement. Maybe we add prayer when we are usually silent toward God. Maybe God adds passion for serving the poor where we are usually self-absorbed. Subtract and add. Notice more. Lent means subtracting something so that we, or perhaps God, can add something new.
On Monday we had our annual Athletics day, and it was great to see all of the students out there participating in their house colours with pride. I was particularly proud of those students who stayed all day to cheer on their peers and house members in the afternoon relays. A lot of time and effort goes into organising and running an event like this and I would like to thank the PE and Sports department of Ms Janelle Conlan, Mr Ronnie Kotkamp and Ms Jessica Young for their efficient organisation. Our senior student leaders also stepped up to ensure the clean up at the end of the day went smoothly. At St Peter’s College it is a privilege to work with staff and students who just get the job done, serve their community and help each other out without being asked. A special thanks also goes out to all of the parents who came down to support, help run events, and cheer their children on.
This week we had Cyber Safety expert John Parsons in school to spend a day with teachers and students, followed by a session with parents in the evening. John facilitates interactive workshops where he encourages debate and audience participation. He helps students to take ownership of their own wellbeing and become capable, connected and confident in the online world. John leaves parents with the knowledge that helps them relate to and build strong relationships with their children and the school. I particularly enjoyed his messaging around values and faith and how the parent and school partnership of sharing these consistently with our young people ensures they have a solid foundation for making good decisions as adults. We thank all of the parents and caregivers who came along to hear John and meet their child’s teachers.