I first introduced the new members of our community to Realms of Thinking, a way to teaching and learning that helps young people master the basics while nurturing their creativity. Realms of Thinking is what makes St Paul’s unique: supporting your children in developing the dispositions and skills to be employable in the new economy; that is, to become innovative thinkers.
Last newsletter I spoke about our great community and how COVID was a wonderful reminder of the important things in life.
Today I want to talk briefly about the third value: Faith.
St Paul’s is an Anglican school. We are unashamedly sharing the Christian faith in a manner that demonstrates the heart of the Gospel of Jesus. Christians are people who have responded to the Good News brought by Jesus Christ, believing that in Jesus, God has come among us, sharing our joy and pain, and bringing the offer of new life and wholeness to us and our world.
One of the wonderful things about the St Paul’s community is its diversity. We are a multicultural community and, with that, have representation of all faiths: Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Catholic, Baptist, Seik, Anglican and Atheist. Our diversity is broad, and we as a community are richer for it.
Faith can be taken to mean, “complete trust or confidence in something or someone.” The word faith can be applied to all religions. Even atheists demonstrate faith of a kind. Not believing in a god or something beyond the tangible is a form of faith.
The richness of faiths in our community helps teach our students about tolerance, respect, and acceptance. I am constantly impressed with the students’ willingness to listen to their peers when they are courageous enough to share their beliefs and/or thinking. We can learn much from each other and our experiences of the world.
You may not accept the view, but in offering a holistic education at St Paul’s School, we believe that all people have a spiritual side to their humanity, along with an academic, physical, emotional, and social nature. Our view is that to be fully human, to truly flourish as a person, we should not just acknowledge and attend to our physicality, or intellect, but also to our spiritual nature.
Ways of Being is the flipside to Realms of Thinking. Ways of Being is our framework of pastoral care; programs that are focused on the development of a person’s character.
Through various programs including Chapel, Religion and Values Education lessons (RaVE), community service, Flex, the RITE journey, and our camping program, we encourage young people to reflect on who they are, the type of character they would like to be known for, and the mystery of who God is. What do they believe and why?
My hope is that at the end of their education at St Paul’s School, the mystery of God is still alive in the minds of graduates, that they are still questioning who they are and what their faith will be built upon.
My ultimate hope is that people will have met the person of Jesus in the example of staff, their peers and all those who have accepted the Good News – that they have placed their faith in someone, rather than something.
Dr Paul Browning