“Stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”
1 Corinthians 16:13
Wellbeing is a key component of the life of St Columba Anglican School. A significant part of this is what we refer to as Spiritual wellbeing.
As a school who welcomes all who respect our (Grafton) Anglican foundation, we believe that important keys to spiritual wellbeing include creating positive relationships, having clear and enacted values, and leading a meaningful and purposeful life.
Our goal is to offer to our students, staff and community an example of a lived expression of the Anglican faith, offered to all members of our community, whether they are Anglicans or not. The values of the Diocese are:
- Christ-likeness → God’s grace revealed in Jesus Christ shapes and moulds our lives.
- Discernment → We continually seek to discern God’s revealing to be faithful in who we are and what we do.
- Openness → We are open to change and to the development of innovative and responsive models of mission and ministry for our contemporary Australian context.
- Collaboration → We work in collaborative partnerships with others to achieve our goals.
- Distinctiveness → We honour the rich diversity of our Anglican heritage and culture.
- Accountability → We practise responsible and transparent stewardship of all that is entrusted in our care.
As a relatively diverse school – in culture, religion, ethnicity etc – we will always be open to criticism in the things we do and say, particularly in the religious context.
As Principal of the School, I have in one week been accused of our School not being Christian enough and then being guilty of forcing our Christian beliefs on students. The fact is that we have clear Anglican values, that are made evident in the enrolment process and they are the lodestones that guide our teaching and decision-making.
What are lodestones used for? Pieces of lodestone, suspended so they could turn, were the first magnetic compasses, and their importance to early navigation is indicated by the name lodestone, which in Middle English means “course stone” or “leading stone”, from the now-obsolete meaning of lode as “journey, way”.
As Principal, I am constantly reassured of the strength of faith shown by our students and their capacity to offer respect to those who follow different faiths and traditions. In their actions, I see our Christian faith alive.
“Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth.”
(1 Jn 3:18).
Our hope is that they are growing in their faith as they travel through our school, not losing faith – that they have a faith strong enough to withstand challenge or question. A faith that walks with them in life and informs their relationships, actions and contributions to society.
It concerns me, sometimes, that some adults lack faith in our young people’s capacity to be open to other ideas and theologies without losing their own faith.
In fact, I believe exposure to other cultures, faiths and traditions provides our students with the capacity to understand their faith in a context that strengthens rather than clouds their beliefs.
They get to experience their faith in the context of the world in which they live.
We hope our students can act in truth, with compassion and respect for others and in doing this follow the greatest of commandments: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in The Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39
Want to share your thoughts on this story, or do you have something you’d like to add? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org