Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Starting the year with a jubilee attitude

Smithville Christian High School principal Ted Harris started the school year with a reflection on the fact that he's turning 50 this week, and a look at the significance of the number 50 in the Bible.

In Leviticus 25, God introduces the concept of the 50th year as a "year of jubilee," saying it's a time for freedom, for forgiveness and for renewal, Harris said. "It's a time for things to be 'set right.' "
Borrowing from the inspiration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech (also 50 years old), Harris said he has a dream that life at Smithville Christian High School can also be like the year of jubilee, where things can be 'set right' for students and their teachers.
"We want to be the kind of school where you can be at home," he told students. "Where you can be comfortable where you are as a learner."

Harris promised that learning will be more important than evaluation, that teachers will be constantly finetuning project-based learning, and that the school's new online learning management tool will aide student achievement and success.

But more importantly, Harris said his dream is for a school where "we are forming community in a way that no one is pushed aside, where we are aligning our thinking with the kingdom of God and where we are taking our faith perspective seriously.
"Let's consider having a jubilee attitude," he said, "where you emphasize enfolding the new student sitting next to you, where we are returning every square inch of creation to the one who created it, where the sowing and reaping will be in the fertile ground of your minds and your hearts."
Harris told students he has a dream "that you will be dreamers, and that the dreams you have will have great cultural significance -- both here at school and in the wider community."
Harris told students they have the potential to change the world.
"The dreams of our young people can have a massive impact in our world, and we encourage you to be culture makers," he said. "Dream big."
Chapel began with a time of worship, led by a team of staff members. Students sang "Mighty to Save," "How Great is Our God," and "10,000 Reasons."
Students also learned about the many activities getting underway:
  • Praise and worship team auditions - sign up in the office
  • Grade 12 Retreat planning meeting for all interested students Wednesday at noon
  • Homework Club starts next week and runs every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
  • Boys Volleyball, Jr. and Sr., first tryout after school today
  • Girls Basketball, Jr. and Sr., first tryout after school Wednesday
  • Cross Country team starts this week. All are welcome
  • France Trip short meeting Wednesday at noon, Room 113
Returning vice-principal, Fred Breukelman, said his two-year stint in Indonesia emphasized to him how "absolutely critical it is that we are a community together." Breukelman said things won't always go perfectly this year, but the book of Leviticus is an "incredible story of forgiveness" and we can be the kind of school where forgiveness is both sought and graciously extended.

Breukelman ended with the blessing from Jude:
"But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!"
* * *
Chapels are held weekly, usually on Wednesday mornings at 9. They usually feature praise and worship led by student worship teams, and all are welcome to attend. Next week's chapel will be on Tuesday.
Check morning announcements on the school website or via Edsby to find out what's happening daily.
P.S. Mr. Harris's 50th birthday is on Saturday.
Here are a few more photos from the first day of school. We are GLAD to be back!


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