to the Anglican Schools Office
The Anglican Schools Office exists to support, resource, provide training opportunities and build fellowship between the Chaplains and Religious Education teachers working in its associated schools in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, and encourage interaction between the schools and the church.
A Word from Anne
Advent. Waiting. Preparing. It’s a season that gets compressed if it’s noticed at all in our schools, as it often starts just as the term finishes in a flurry of exams and ceremonies and farewells. While it’s good to have a few weeks off before Christmas, it’s a pity that we can’t travel with our students through these four weeks: weeks that are traditionally remembered in terms of hope, peace, joy and love. (Incidentally, wouldn’t those four things be fabulous “values” for our schools?) We celebrate the hope, peace, joy and love already present, and we wait and prepare for the indescribable hope, peace, joy and love God promises us in the New Creation. That’s one of the wonderful things about our faith. With Emmanuel (which means “Godwith-us”) – God-made-flesh – we celebrate that the world is essentially good; that the aim of the spiritual life isn’t to escape the confines of the material world but to engage with it fully with God. Yet we are also realistic about the tragedies, the pains, the ways in which the world is not good, and we can be realistic without despair because we have hope in our faithful God. What greater gift could we pass onto our students? Recently I have been dipping into vignettes written by an American author, Brian Doyle. Here’s the end of one short essay in his “Grace Notes” during which he has delighted in everything from a dragonfly’s flight to his refrigerator’s hum. I think his final paragraphs are a great summary of the Advent journey.
Look, I know very well that brooding misshapen evil is everywhere, in the brightest houses and the most cheerful denials, in what we do and what we have failed to do, and I know all too well that the story of the world is entropy, things fly apart, we sicken, we fail, we grow weary, we divorce, we are hammered and hounded by loss and accidents and tragedies. But I also know, with all my hoary muddled heart, that we are carved of immense confusing holiness; that the whole point for us is grace under duress; and that you either take a flying leap at nonsensical illogical unreasonable ideas like marriage and marathons and democracy and divinity, or you huddle behind the wall. I believe that the coolest things there are cannot be measured, calibrated, calculated, gauged, weighed or understood except sometimes by having a child patiently explain it to you, which is something that should happen far more often to us all. In short, I believe in believing, which doesn’t make sense, which gives me hope.
May you all be blessed with hope, peace, joy and love this season.