Message from Christian Education National (CEN)
Not so long ago, I had the privilege to share in some surprising school stories in several countries in the world. Stories of parents who, so determined were they to ensure their children received an education, that they were prepared to make significant sacrifices to see this happen. Families who began small schools in their own slum dwellings because no one else would teach their children. Families who were so committed to education where God is honoured that they risked persecution just taking their children to school each day. Families who work 3,4,5 jobs so they can pay school fees because they knew that this would be the hope for their children’s future.
I am not sure this is too different to how our Christian Education National Schools first began here in Australia. From many small beginnings, Christian Educational National schools have grown into highly valued, well respected educational institutions. Many of our schools were established by families determined to provide an education that was God honouring, excellent and met all government best practice requirements. How well they succeeded!
Orange Christian School, with its vision “To raise up effective leaders of godly character who will blend academic achievement and biblical truth, to influence society for the glory of God”, continues to shine as a place where high quality, Christian education is celebrated.
As State Executive Officer of Christian Education National, I can honestly say that I have seen Orange Christian School do this with deep integrity – and a flourish! Yet you do not do this just on your own. Orange Christian School is part of a network of Christian Schools, all seeking to serve their communities with excellent Christian education. From tiny schools of 20 students in remote communities, to schools with over 900 students, we are all part of a community that seeks to develop students who engage deeply and thoughtfully with the world and contribute their God-given gifts and talents to the service of others. How hard would it be to do is just on our own! CEN NSW/ACT seeks to support our members to live out faithful callings as faithful, educational communities and share their knowledge, skills and resources with others dong the same.
So the vision and mission of CEN NSW/ACT is to strengthen and enrich school communities so that they can fulfil their God given purpose of providing education that takes the Bible into all of life. We seek to do this by providing pastoral support, training, mentoring, networking, advocacy and fellowship with and on behalf of our member associations.
As a family of schools we are blessed by the fellowship we share around the task of Christian education; we are strengthened by people’s willingness to share the gifts, opportunities and resources with which God has blessed them; we can delight in the faithfulness and dedication of the gifted and energetic people across the vibrant CEN family; and, above all, we can rest in and be assured by God’s grace to us in Jesus.
Within CEN schools there is an overwhelming sense that this is a place where God is being honoured by children being taught what God’s word says and being discipled in how to apply that word to shape their understanding of the world and relationships. We don’t provide enclaves but schools that engage with thoughtful rigour in their worlds.
Christian schooling is not just a “head knowledge” process of teaching and learning.
It is children experiencing lifelong learning as modelled by teachers and parents; and it’s also children being provided with opportunities to put their faith in Jesus and understanding of the Bible into practice themselves.
Our schools pursue this in delightful and creative ways. In addition to the all important day to day teaching, there are also wonderful experiences such as children preparing for and presenting musical and dramatic performances; special celebrations as schools reach milestones such as recognising their first 30 years; school camps and mission trips; engaging with schools in other parts of the world; seeking to make a difference within the local community or communities overseas; and a host of other amazing ways.
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to support the Orange Christian School community as it provides high quality Christian Education with integrity and a depth of thoughtfulness that is quite unique. I look forward to sharing more of your journey as you respond to your context now and into the future.
State Executive Officer, Christian Education National, NSW/ACT.