my view SEPTEMBER 2017
Pondering the gap … The question was a little aggressive: “Why, when there are more courses and resources to help people know the Bible better than ever before, do people know the Bible less than ever before?”
Dr Brian Harris Dr Brian Harris is the Principal of Vose Seminary and Pastor at Large for the Carey Group.
It’s a fair question, which has left me pondering the gap between what is now so easy to know and what we actually do know. I was given a Fitbit a while back. I can tell you that on an average day I will have six hours and seven minutes of sleep, a resting heartrate of 60, and will walk 9,874 steps. I’m likely to burn 2,621 calories, but am less sure how many I consume. Confident that my health stats were not too bad, I took a
life expectancy test (well, three of them actually), and the gloomiest informed me I am likely to perish when I am 90, and the most optimistic that I have a 75 percent chance of being around when I am 96. Each then referred me to a superannuation calculator which alerted me that I am significantly healthier than my ‘super’, which will almost certainly perish before I do. So much information … On a rainy day, you can enter the
data required to get your ancestry breakdown (an obscure 2.5 percent Italian and more Jewish than I realised), find hundreds of helpful tips on starting a blog, or compare the cost of flights on airlines you have never heard of, to destinations you never knew existed. It’s all a short Google search away. Here’s the question … Although we know more than we did in the past, are we wiser as a result?
When I read the ancient biblical text I find a wisdom lacking elsewhere. Three thousand years ago the psalmist claimed, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” [Psalm 119:105]. This is not information that merely interests – it is instruction that shapes and guides the direction of our life. Which takes us back to the opening question: In an age when it is easier to know more about the Bible than ever before, why do we know so little about it?
Invisible investments I watched my son go through a trampoline. One moment, he was up in the air, all 56 kilos of his 16 year old body. The next moment his knees were smashing into the ground through this huge rip that had just opened up in the middle of the trampoline.
Miriam Lochore Miriam Lochore teaches creative writing at Sheridan College, is a country pastor’s wife and mother of three.
“Are ... you okay?” “Yes, Mum, I think I’m okay.” He wasn’t badly hurt, but we were stunned. Something we had both expected to hold him up had failed. We often expect the physical world to be solid. Dependable. Sure as houses. The indignity of earthquakes is that sense of betrayal. The ground beneath our feet should be firm! But it isn’t. Not always.
It is so much easier to put our trust in things that can be seen, than to put our trust in an invisible God. The trouble is that ‘what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal’ [2 Corinthians 4:18b]. This messes with my head – the things I can see, like the trampoline, or the ground, which appear solid and dependable, actually aren’t; but the things I cannot see, like God, or abstract
things like values, these invisible things that seem ephemeral because I cannot touch them, are actually the things that I can trust. They are eternal – the things that last. The things that do not change. So why do I live, so often, as if temporary things matter more? Why is it easier to care more about a bathroom renovation than about the state of my heart before God? No comfortable answers to that
question. I wonder how often we expect education systems (schools, universities, teachers, even churches) to give us things we can see. Tangible outcomes. Secure jobs. A definite career path. Church growth. Obedient children. All the answers for the exams. What if the most valuable things an education can give us is the stuff we cannot immediately see: like humility, or perseverance? Or even a willingness, in the face of life’s shocks and often bitter disappointments, to keep engaging with God and with others?
The power of questions As an avid learner, and passionate educator, I have come to appreciate the power of questions. Okay, I’m obsessed with them. I keep a notebook to record good questions I encounter. I memorise and rehearse them in my mind. I ask questions, a lot.
Dan McGrechan Dan McGrechan is the Pastor of The Sanctuary Community Church in Midland.
My obsession with questions began with pastor Peter Birt. I would sit in his office as a church intern and field a series of uncomfortable questions. They had a remarkable effect; they opened up doors to new perspectives and awareness. They changed my thinking and shaped my actions as a disciple of Jesus and fresh-faced leader. Jesus used questions to train His disciples in the realities of His Kingdom.
‘If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninetynine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?’ [Matthew 18:12] “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” [Matthew 16:26] These questions continue to inspire a Kingdom imagination in us. As disciples of Jesus, we can ask reflective
questions of ourselves to grow in our faith. What is God saying to me today? Does my current rhythm support or sabotage my relationships with Jesus and others? Is my heart growing or shrinking? We can ask questions to gain clarity in decision-making. What’s really going on here? What is the mind of Christ on this issue? Which path requires the greatest amount of faith?
We can ask questions to move conversations beyond small talk. What experiences have you had that have defined you as a person? What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in life? What things can our generation be proud of, and what might we later regret? As leaders, we can ask questions to empower others to thrive. What do you sense God is doing in you, preparing you for? What resources do you need to accomplish what God is asking of you? How can I help? May we learn to ask good questions and unlock the life Jesus gives to us.
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Creating exceptional learning Vose College has an established cohort of students its Master of Education (Leadership) course along with plans being underway for the development of a teacher training institute. “Studying online can be difficult, however the support of the iCollaborate Network meant that I could have the best of both worlds – studying at my own pace with a personal and collaborative aspect included,” Kingsway Christian College teacher Sam Sheedy said. Vose Seminary Principal Dr Brian Harris thinks education can be a liberating experience. “It pushes us to consider things that we had never previously thought possible, and teaches us how to integrate and develop thoughtful and practical responses to the world in which we live,” Brian said “Vose Seminary is passionate about creating exceptional learning environments which enable students to thoughtfully, passionately and appropriately respond to the needs of modern ministry and the workplace.” “Seminary life is always vibrant and busy – and with a lot of exciting projects on the horizon there has never been a better time to jump into study.” Vose Seminary currently have a host of both new and ongoing students, who are learning alongside the staff and faculty across different programs – from Certificate IV to Bachelor, Graduate, Postgraduate and beyond. As a centre within Vose Seminary, Vose Mission proudly partners with approximately 17 international mission agencies and continues to equip students inside and outside of the classroom for effective missional vocations by offering overseas placements with organisations such as OM Australia. “Overseas placements are powerful ways for students to integrate their learning in ways that set them up to minister effectively in cross-cultural environments,” Vose Mission Director Lloyd Porter said. Dr Michael O’Neil heads up the research department at Vose Seminary, and at the end of August the Beyond Four Walls book, a collection of writings from Vose conferences was submitted for publication. “In addition to publications and conferences, there continues to be research students taking on worthy projects which will inevitably enrich the life of the church,” Michael said.
Notably, Carolyn Tan has recently had her PhD conferred and received a commendation from esteemed German theologian Jürgen Moltmann. “Carolyn is currently teaching in the area of New Testament at Vose, alongside new adjunct lecturer Dr Haydn Nelson,” Michael said. The Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector at Vose has seen some growth over the past six months, with a number of classes being launched both at its main location in Bentley, and also at Lake Joondalup Baptist Church. “The VET team have also begun a massive redevelopment project in order to produce some leading educational services in ministry, leadership and management. This includes some exciting new trials with videography, audio-based lectures and new online technology,” Vose Seminary VET Director Jon Bergmann said.
Overseas placements are powerful ways for students to integrate their learning in ways that sets them up to minister effectively in cross-cultural environments.
Vose Seminary staff are constantly navigating the changing and challenging landscape of modern education in order to serve their students, with the aim to set them up for a life of excellence in both knowledge and practice. For more information, visit www.vose.edu.au
Photo: Vose Seminary
One of the challenges of modern education is responding to the needs of an increasingly virtual world. Through its iCollaborate postgraduate learning network, Vose College is developing study options in fields outside of ministry and theology.
Vose student Pastor Graham Irvine taking part in a lecture at Vose.
news SEPTEMBER 2017
Chaplaincy – a job like no other The role of a chaplain can vary dramatically from school to school, and this is especially true for Derby District High School chaplain Nikki Stinson. “When kids, or adults, come in upset, angry, stressed, they’ll head straight for the file and start colouring in and talking follows.” “I colour-in right along with them, partly because I enjoy it, but it also helps keep me from making too much prolonged eye contact, which is culturally inappropriate here, and tends to make people uneasy.”
Author – Josh del Pino
Life is never boring in the Kimberley for YouthCARE chaplain Nikki Stinson.
Students’ award-winning art Visitors to The Lakes Theatre at Mandurah Baptist College frequently comment on the high standard of the artworks displayed in the foyer. They are even further surprised that all the works are produced by the students, according to Mandurah Baptist College Head of Arts Robyn McCormick. the College to broader horizons,” Robyn said. “Aspiring to further study has long been the goal for many an arts student, but now the door is opening to much bigger opportunities with several of our past students taking up internships in New York, including Snapchat and media, and another studying fashion in London. The opportunities are endless.”
Photo: Robyn McCormick
These are just a small part of the works being produced by students of the College’s Arts Department. Providing students a platform to present their skills to a broader audience through exhibition and performances is just part of the vision of the Arts Learning Area. The Lakes Theatre provides a wonderful venue to showcase and celebrate a gallery of student works and productions. “Students are encouraged to explore their giftings in areas such as drama, music, media, photography, graphic design and visual art, whilst always aspiring to excellence in whatever they do, supported by a passionate team of Christian teachers ... with amazing results,” Robyn said. Students across all disciplines have been excelling in their chosen fields. They have represented the College in Year 12 Perspectives performances and exhibitions, Peel Youth Artfest, YOH Fest, ATOM Awards and St Georges Art Awards. In addition, 2015 graduate Courtney Cummins won Young Australian Artist of the Year with her piece Me in Oils. “Involvement in community events and entrepeneurship is highly supported, resulting in students pursuing their giftings which have been nurtured at
A self-portrait by Mandurah Baptist College student Ghadia Malik.
Photo: Paul Carpenter
Derby has a population of about 4,500, with approximately 700 students at the high school. About 85 percent of the school are Indigenous. Nikki divides her time between various tasks such as ‘intentionally loitering’ – walking around during breaks to see if any students need to chat; or one-to-one sessions in her office with students, teachers and parents. “I also do a fair number of Suicide Risk Assessments, and regularly liaise with the school psychologists, deputy principals and Department of Child Protection and Family Support,” she said. “I regularly do home visits to encourage and assist families, meet with parents at the KindiLink program or drop-in at the Early Learning Centre at Mowanjum, the nearest Aboriginal community, as often as I am able.” After several suicides in the area, the manager of the local radio station provided some CDs of local musicians which encourage choosing life. “I rang to thank him, and by the end of the conversation I was booked to do an hour-long weekly radio program called Chaplain’s Corner,” Nikki said. “That was almost two years ago, and the radio program has become a way to do mass home visitation, to talk about parenting, health, emotions, and the many issues that students and families deal with every day.” Formerly in the US Navy, Nikki felt called to make a life change and along with her husband and three children, moved to Italy, Egypt and then Thailand, before settling in Perth in 1995. “Those years taught us to rely entirely on the Lord, as He was our only support,” she said. Nikki taught English as a foreign language during her travels, and has taught in mainstream primary and secondary schools in the US, Egypt, and Australia. “When we moved to Derby I thought I would be teaching at Derby District High School, but the Lord made it clear that chaplaincy was what He had in mind, so I became the first chaplain at the High School.” Nikki is also an artist and has naturally incorporated art therapy into her role as a chaplain. “I keep a file of photocopies from adult colouring-in books on my ‘talking table’ along with a basket of markers and crayons, and I would say that is my greatest art resource,” she said.
The award-winning self-portrait by Mandurah Baptist College 2015 graduate Courtney Cummins.
Empowering women with skills Volunteer training agency EmpowerAid continues to grow and provide opportunities for women in disadvantaged situations. Jennifer is supported by volunteers and staff in Perth and Adelaide who regularly travel to train women in all locations. “Hope is such a powerful gift to bring to a woman who, through no fault of her own, has been disempowered, and to see numbers of women in these locations empowered to gain employment or to start their own business, is actually a gift of hope to the next generation,” volunteer Robyn Christie said. “It’s a gift that breaks the cycle.”
For more information or to sign up to EmpowerAid’s newsletter, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Students participating in EmpowerAid training earlier this year.
Lifelong learning at Baptistcare Proving it is never too old to learn, Nancy*, who lives at Baptistcare Yallambee Residential Care in Mundaring, started art classes after moving to the residential care facility. Continuous learning is a key priority at each of Baptistcare’s residential care facilities, which offer aged care residents diverse activity programs specially developed by occupational therapy teams and lifestyle coordinators. “Keeping mentally and physically active is important for optimising wellbeing and enjoyment of everyday life, regardless of age,” Baptistcare Dementia Innovation and Allied Health Consultant Amanda Adams said. “The phrase ‘use it or lose it’ becomes more important as we age, as older people generally have a lower functional level due to the normal ageing process.” Programs consist of group and individual activities for each person’s abilities and preferences at a level of challenge that provides a sense of satisfaction and stimulation. Activities are adapted so that they are not of too high a difficulty for residents and not too easy, to enable cognitive stimulation for the participants. “Research tells us physical activity, as well as appropriately stimulating cognitive activity,
With a focus on delivering an international standard of training to empower women to have a life of dignity and independence, EmpowerAid was an answer to a lifelong calling to mission work, according to founder Jennifer Quartermaine. “I felt called to mission as a young child, but was unsure what this would lead to,” Jennifer explained. “After pursuing a career in hairdressing education and starting a family, I was approached in 2006 with an opportunity to start a hairdressing training program for marginalised women living in Bangladesh.” Since its conception, Jennifer has made regular trips to Bangladesh, and more recently East Timor and north-west Western Australia in the Pilbarra and Kimberley regions. These programs have created opportunities for women living in poverty or other disadvantaged circumstances to receive practical training and intentional relationship development. Through daily personal development, women are encouraged to flourish in confidence and hope for their future. “Women come to us from a variety of incredibly difficult circumstances and it is a great privilege to work with them,” Jennifer said. “We personally know every individual who is a part of our program. They have a face, a name, a family and are part of a community.” “They have hopes and dreams for the future, and EmpowerAid helps them to realise their potential, and empowers them to share their skills and experience with other women.” EmpowerAid’s original project in Mymensingh is now staffed locally by Bangladeshi trainers, and a salon has been planned to enhance work experience opportunities and increase financial sustainability. Training delivery and method is contextualised for each area, and cultural understandings of language, literacy and numeracy are also considered. “Every area requires a different approach and is at a different stage,” Jennifer explained. “The reward is in seeing the incredible capacity women in all of these places have to learn and be empowered to gain employment or start their own business.” Trips are supported with local knowledge and planning to help make them accessible.
Nancy started learning to paint at Baptistcare Yallambee residential care.
may help to slow the decline associated with conditions including dementia by improving blood flow to the brain and neural connections,” Amanda explained. Residents are encouraged to use their abilities to exercise both the body and the brain by continuing lifelong hobbies and interests, as well as trying new experiences and exploring new interests. Painting, gardening, Zumba, calisthenics and playing pool are some of the skills residents have continued to develop or taken up as a hobby more recently. Nancy loves taking the art classes. “I first discovered art classes which were run by Bev, a carer at
Baptistcare, who taught painting at the time,” she said. “Bev was extremely encouraging and always helpful. She gave me advice on how I can improve my painting skills and explained how to correct any errors.” “Even though my own daughter is an artist, I had never considered taking up painting previously.” “The positive attitude and encouragement of the teacher definitely made the difference and kept me going. She says my artwork is good even when I think it is awful,” Nancy said. Some of the activities residents participate in to keep
mentally active include quizzes, crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, table games, playing cards and discussing current affairs. One of the residents at Baptistcare who recently turned 105 years old says participating in quizzes is her favourite thing, proving you are never too old to keep learning and challenging your brain. For more information, visit baptistcare.com.au Author – Linda Lee * Surname not included for privacy reasons.
news SEPTEMBER 2017
Brighter futures through Alta-1 In only ten years, Alta-1 College has developed into multi-site senior school, providing alternative education to over 500 young people between the ages of 11 and 19 who struggle to engage with mainstream schooling. the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. “From the moment I got there, I felt like there was already that support system set up for me. I knew this was the place I should be,” Alta-1 graduate Katie* said. “I love some of the teachers at Alta-1 and they’ve been supporting me 100 percent. They are not just there to work, just for a pay cheque so they can feed their family. They’re actually there to support you. They care about you,” Alta-1 student Nick*.
For more information or to donate, visit www.alta-1.com.au Author – Laura Sheahan * Surname not included for privacy reasons.
Students at Alta-1 are encouraged to succeed through the College’s alternative approach to education.
Student artwork beautifies Armadale
Established in 2004 as a not-forprofit organisation by founding members Dr Peter Havel, Garfield Thompson and Paul Trinder, Alta-1 began by delivering an alternative education program designed to meet the complex needs of highrisk young people. Today, Alta-1 College is a Curriculum and Reengagement in Education (CARE) school that delivers a relational and flexible curriculum that is student focused to help address social, emotional and psychological issues, while gaining an academic pathway towards secondary school graduation. Endorsed by the School Curriculum and Standards Authority of Western Australia, participants gain credits toward the Western Australian Certificate of Education. According to Principal Dave Stevens, our nation has a growing problem with an increased population of young people disengaging in education. “Issues with mental health, addictions, despair, anxiety, fear and an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness all becoming a trend,” Dave said. “Youth suicide is a growing problem. Families are at their wits end. With our State’s mental health and medical services struggling to meet demand, the founders of Alta-1 saw the need to build an organisation that specifically addressed the situation to help reverse this trend.” The curriculum enables a student to address personal issues that are impeding their educational and vocational development, and is built around the socioemotional continuums, including literacy, numeracy, personal development, beliefs and values (religion in life), vocational experience, as well as site related subjects. “Each student in the College has a unique story, set of obstacles, and set of hopes for their future,” Dave continued. “At Alta-1, we strive to help each individual aspire to that future, see their good within, tackle the obstacles in life and reach their God given potential.” The educational process is heavily dependent on relationship building. All educational staff have significant youth and social work experience and relevant registration. Alta-1 works in collaboration with the Department of Education and Training, Department for Child Protection, Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia, Ertech Construction Academy, Polytechnic West, and
YouthCARE Chaplain Joy Magsaysay, Neerigen Ward Councillor Guenter Best, City of Armadale representative Barry Plumridge, Downer Construction Manager Steve Dymond and Neerigen Brook Primary School Deputy Principal Lesley Barrett with students involved in the NBN artworks.
Students at Neerigen Brook Primary School in Armadale have made their mark in the community by helping to decorate NBN Fibre Distribution Hub cabinets in the area. The boxes are being installed as part of the NBN rollout, with boxes closest to the School to be covered with artwork created by the students. The first one to be decorated was designed by Year 6 student Tyler*. Tyler said his work was inspired by the local environment. “I wanted to draw something Australian that has snakes, grass
trees, rivers and flowers as part of the dot painting,” he said. “I’m proud of doing something everyone can see. I’m going to show my friends and family.” The initiative was a collaboration between YouthCARE Chaplain Joy Magsaysay, City of Armadale, NBN contractor Downer EDI Engineering and local artist Renae Whyte.
Principal Jane Wescott said Joy’s local connections as a member of the Armadale Youth Council played a major part in getting the School involved with the project. “One of the things that Joy has been working on since joining Neerigen Brook Primary School, is building partnerships and building connections to the community,” Jane said. “The artwork really developed that sense of pride – to have artwork displayed that children have helped design, removes ‘the fence in the
school’ and really builds a strong partnership.” Joy said she was very proud of what the students had achieved. “It makes me teary to see the wonderful work the kids have done,” she said. “To see the kids start a project and see it through to the end, where it is displayed for all to see is just wonderful.” Author – Josh del Pino * Surname not included for privacy reasons.
Breaking the cycle of poverty In fact, Quality Education was one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations, and its 193 member states, two years ago this month. The SDGs are an agreed set of goals which aim to fight global poverty and inequality, whilst ensuring that economic growth is environmentally sustainable. Quality education being accepted as a goal to be reached to achieve a world free from poverty, illustrates its importance to the success of this mission. “Education is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty,” Baptist World Aid Australia International Programs Manager Dan Skehan said. “Increased education has been linked to outcomes like reduced inequality in communities, lower child mortality rates and better health.” For this reason, helping communities to ensure that children can receive a quality education is a key part of Baptist World Aid’s child sponsorship program. “Projects aim to increase access to quality education – both formal and informal – through activities such as advocacy about its importance, teacher training, and youth vocational training and support,” Dan said.
Last month, in celebration of Be Love Sponsorship Sunday, Baptist churches around Australia shared the incredible story of a young boy who understands the value of education. Ten year old Shanto* lives in rural Bangladesh. “When I grow up, I want to be a teacher so that children can learn many things,” Shanto said. But it is not enough for a child to know that education is important, they need to receive a quality education too, and only three years ago, Shanto was often too sick to go to school. Shanto’s parents struggled to afford enough good food to keep their children healthy, but this changed when their family joined a Baptist World Aid child sponsorship project. Shanto’s mother received training to become a tailor and start a small business. Today she can afford plenty of vegetables to keep Shanto strong, healthy and in school, so he can fulfil his dream of becoming a teacher. When he does, Shanto will be providing even more boys and girls with a quality education, so they can have a brighter future. Photo: Baptist World Aid Australia
The relationship between education and poverty reduction has been long recognised.
For more information, visit baptistworldaid.org.au Author – Samara Linehan * Surname not included due to privacy reasons. Shanto understands the importance of a quality education – that’s why he wants to be a teacher when he grows up.
Growing for God in the Great Southern Recent high school graduates to grandparents meet in Albany each week to study the Bible together as part of their internship program. Some plan to use their experience to enter new areas of service, others want to improve the way the currently serve, and all want to deepen their understanding of what Jesus has done for them on the cross and how they live for Him. “Being able to have this type of experience without the need to leave church or family and live in Perth for a year is an important thing in the country,” Cranbrook-Frankland Baptist Church Pastor Jeff Jackson explained. Photo: Phil Beeck
The twelve men and women of all ages from Albany, Cranbrook, Gnowangerup and Mount Barker study a variety of biblical topics and practical skills, and then put those skills into practice in their churches. “My confidence in the gospel and my ability to share it with others has grown,” Mount Barker intern Jeremiah Peters. The program, which began in Albany Baptist Church, has now been expanded to the rest of the Great Southern region. Interns spend a full year studying, serving within their churches, and undertaking a mission trip. Simultaneously interns complete a Certificate IV in Christian Ministry and a Certificate III in Community Services.
2017’s Great Southern interns look forward to using their new knowledge and skills.
feature SEPTEMBER 2017
The comment was dismissive. “He might have lived to 93, but he really just lived one year 93 times. He never learnt anything from life, nor did he grow from his experiences.” It’s true of many people. They live, breathe and go about their day-to-day routine, but stopped growing a long time ago. When you speak to them you can anticipate their replies in advance, and their answers seldom surprise you. It always feels a little sad. Can we be lifelong learners? Actually – it has never been easier than it is now. The range of courses available leaves some with decision paralysis. You can study full-time, part-time, online, for a formal qualification or purely for interest. Lack of formal education is no longer the barrier it was, with multiple bridging courses available. There are short seminars or longer formal courses going all the way up to the PhD qualification. No-one can validly say that there is no course they could study, or no seminars they could attend. But should we keep on studying? Isn’t there the risk that we will simply become people who know a lot but are not necessarily wiser as a result – well educated but still foolish? Perhaps it helps to think of the different kinds of knowledge we can gain. While in English we only have one word for knowledge, the ancient Greeks were more subtle. They spoke of episteme, techne, phronesis and metis. It’s worth pondering the meaning of each. Episteme (from which we derive the word epistemology) refers to theory, or about universal rules which can be outlined, codified and repeated. It is often about the scientific enterprise – things that can be tested and proved, with scientific laws outlined at the end of the process. It is the kind of knowledge that allows you to make propositions with a measure of conviction and accuracy. Episteme has been responsible for many of the advances of our age. Techne (you’re right, it’s linked to the term technology) refers to an art, craft or discipline. It is a practical skill, and
techne speaks about the knowledge or experience that lies behind that skill. Phronesis refers to practical wisdom and intelligence, and the ability to act virtuously (rather than simply to know what is virtuous). It is linked to moral insight, as well as to emotional intelligence and social skills. Metis in Greek mythology was one of the Titans, and the first wife of Zeus. She was associated with wisdom, but wisdom that had an element of being ‘street smart’ or perhaps even cunning. It is the wisdom that helps you survive, often in difficult circumstances.
As you lean in to learning, ask what kind of knowledge you are looking for … theoretical knowledge, an art or craft, emotional intelligence, or the practical wisdom that will help you navigate life’s trials and pitfalls. All are valid – and it helps to know what you are looking for. Perhaps I can push this further. Why not ask yourself if you are continuing to learn and grow in all four of these areas. You can draw up a personal checklist.
þ Episteme: What do you understand better than you did a year ago? Is your theoretical grasp of different aspects of life growing? þ Techne: Are you learning any new skills? Why not try dancing? Or how about painting? Or is now the time to learn a fresh new craft? þ Phronesis: Are your social skills developing? You could attend a few seminars on bringing out the best in others, or working more harmoniously in the workplace. You know a little more phronesis is needed when relationships are tense and things are held back simply because people don’t get on well. þ Metis: Do you feel you are getting left behind in a world that is constantly changing, or are your finances a little tight, or do you constantly complain that you never have the time to do the things you want? If so, look at ways to develop your resourcefulness, or at becoming more street smart, so that you get better deals, or are able to work a little more efficiently. If you do, your metis quota will quickly grow. It is sometimes said that madness is to keep on doing the same thing over and over, expecting it to suddenly produce a different outcome. For things to change, we need to be willing to learn and grow. Ideally, this should simply be part of the way we approach life. Christians believe that God created the world out of nothing. That level of creativity should inspire our own, and as we lean in to learning, we can perhaps be people who continue to grow and achieve, rather than people who drearily settle for the same old, same old … Author – Dr Brian Harris Dr Brian Harris is the Principal of Vose Seminary and Pastor at Large for the Carey Group.
10 news SEPTEMBER 2017
Kennedy’s clear mission There is some evidence to suggest that during the last century some Christian schools have diverged from their original mission. The challenge is to ensure the school’s mission is maintained and does not fade from generation to generation. “The key to maintaining a school’s mission is through intentional strategy and leadership,” Mark said. Research indicates that college board governance is essential in guarding an organisation’s mission. Baptist college boards have guidelines within their constitutions to ensure that board members are Christians who are committed to the mission of the college they serve. Likewise, Baptist college principals have guidelines to ensure staff uphold the college’s statement of faith as part of the employment process. “These processes are embedded to ensure that commitment to the mission is maintained through strategic direction and curriculum delivery,” Mark said. “This means that from the top down the mission is transparently driven and sustainable.” “It ensures that the central drive for Baptist colleges remains their core mission by providing opportunities for students to engage in a quality education and hear the gospel message.”
school briefs Aspiring students Four Carey Baptist College students are currently taking part in the City of Armadale’s pilot of the Aspire career development program. The six week program is driven by local industries and aims to increase job readiness with workshops such as resume writing, interview techniques and industry excursions.
Basketball championship win Kennedy Baptist College’s Senior Girls Basketball, in an historic achievement, went undefeated in the School Sport Western Australia Champion Schools Basketball regular season earning them a place in the grand final held during the final week of Term 2. The final was held against Willetton Senior High School – winners of the championship 18 times in the
past 21 years – with Kennedy emerging victors 59 to 44.
Wet weather blitz Recent heavy rains in Perth were put to good use by primary students at Austin Cove Baptist College with a tree-planting blitz taking place. The seedlings were supplied by Men of the Trees in Rockingham, and a team from Bunnings Halls Head helped to plant 12 established trees.
Principal changes Rowan Clark and Tel Williams have concluded their role as the Principal at Carey Baptist College and Quinns Baptist College respectively. Dawn Clements will be concluding at the end of the year as the Principal of Lake Joondalup Baptist College. Tamara Saunders has been appointed as the new Secondary Principal of Quinns Baptist College.
Kennedy Baptist College Principal Mark Ashby and Kennedy Baptist College students are part of the Kingdom mission of Baptist colleges and schools.
The challenge of chaplaincy If I’m being honest, becoming a chaplain at the age of 20 was not something I had planned. Instead, it was something I fell into after someone had encouraged me to pursue that pathway. Prior to starting my work as a chaplain, I had worked in other community service jobs since finishing TAFE. I always knew that I enjoyed working with youth more than adults. I first stepped into chaplaincy in 2014 and have loved every minute of it. In my first year I worked in a primary school and then stepped into a year of part-time secondary school and primary school work. I eventually took on working in a secondary school only, Shenton College. I am now in my third year at Shenton College and I am loving everything about it. Being a chaplain in a public school has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding experiences of my life. I have seen a significant increase in mental health, friendship issues and stress from curriculum pressure. This has pushed me to ensure I am always at the forefront of professional learning to meet the needs of our students. I feel that it is a privilege, as a Christian, to be a pillar of support for both students and teachers in the
Photo: Josh del Pino
Kennedy Baptist College clearly articulates its mission as ‘To provide educational opportunities of excellence in a Christian context, addressing the needs of individuals for lifelong learning.’ Kennedy extends an open invitation to families to enrol at the College so its mission can permeate into the community. Principal Mark Ashby said it then commits to provide the best education services possible in a Christian setting. “It is the College’s intention that its culture supports academic excellence together with an opportunity to hear and reflect on the Word of God. A duality of mission,” Mark said. “The College has a number of structures in place to ensure that its Christian ethos is unambiguous. This includes employing committed Christian staff and presenting the gospel through a timetabled Christian education program alongside a pastoral care program reflecting Jesus’ clear mission.” Other Baptist colleges operating in Western Australia have similar Kingdom missions. The independent boards that govern each college have constitutions that ensure a continued focus on the mission and provision of opportunities to share God’s Word. As Baptist colleges continue to grow and become a key part of the wider community, a real challenge exists, according to Mark.
Photo: Francis Andrijich
Over the past 25 years, Baptist colleges in Western Australia have offered students and parents a quality education whilst also presenting the good news of Jesus Christ to an increasingly secular world.
Lishka Hawke enjoys chaplaincy despite the challenges she faces daily.
Department of Education – a secular environment. Each day comes with new challenges, there is never a dull moment. I am constantly learning new things and being stretched in my capacity as a chaplain. Each day, I am always doing something different. I feel very fortunate to play a key part in a much bigger team of people who all work together to achieve the best outcome for each student. An average day can look like anything from: playing four square, one-on-one pastoral meetings, administration work, conversations with staff, camps, driving a sports team to a match, attending meetings with staff and parents, working with the student council or generally getting involved in events around the school. I love the variety of what I get to do
from day to day. There is always something happening to keep me busy and expand my repertoire. The beauty of chaplaincy is that every single school is completely different, and every chaplain is unique. Even working within one school, the chaplaincy provided by each individual chaplain looks very different. It is wonderful that we, as chaplains, have the freedom to express who we are and use our strengths to build rapport with the staff and students around us. I love being a chaplain; I get to work with some incredible people and students. I am constantly encouraged by the bravery and courage that I see in students who fight to be the best they can be. Author – Lishka Hawke
news 11 SEPTEMBER 2017
The freedom to study
In 1517, Bibles were expensive, difficult to understand and impractical (such as Prince Anthony Günther of Anhalt-Zerbst’s Bible which weighed over nine kilograms). Education and literacy were a privilege of the rich and the influential, of the nobles and the clergy. Martin Luther, a clergyman and professor of theology himself, believed that this narrow privilege deprived the majority of the population of the freedom to discover and make full use of their God given potential. Taking the matter into his own hands, he translated the Bible from Latin into German and preached to his students at university that all baptised believers were ‘priests’ and of equal rank in God’s Kingdom. In a letter to the German political leaders of 1524, Luther declared an educational ‘state of emergency’ and appealed for more schools to be built and investments into public education to be made. He insisted that every man and every woman, no matter the social rank, should have access to education and should be able to study God’s Word. While his teachings would show to have a significant influence on bigger scale social developments such as the increased establishment of public libraries and schools, Luther believed that a child’s education was first and foremost dependent upon parental dedication towards schooling.
Luther criticised that parents in his day and age were neglecting their children’s intellectual and spiritual wellbeing over a focus on their physical wellbeing. His teachings had a noticeable impact on the development of education and family culture in the historic Protestant community. According to a recent study by Becker and Wößmann based on historical figures, the clergyman’s revolutionary encouragement to parents to send their daughters (as well as their sons) to school led to a correlation between the number of Protestants living in a city and the number of girls attending school in that city. The scholars found that even up until the late 1800s, Protestant women could read and write better than other women in Germany. Martin Luther was not the only theologian who stressed the importance of public education during the Reformation. Besides well-known historical figures such as Calvin, Melanchthon and Zwingli, it was also university students who spread the Reformation’s revolutionary message prior to the invention of the printing press. Coming from throughout Europe to learn about the controversial teachings, the students took their newly found knowledge (and with it the educational reformation) into their home countries; decreasing public illiteracy and the education gap between men and women in many majority Protestant countries throughout Europe. Author – Ramona Őtting
When Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to a church door in the German town of Wittenberg, he was convinced that every Christian believer should be able to read and study the Bible. It was this conviction that drove an educational revolution which would influence school culture all over Europe and spread across the world.
The Martin Luther monument in Wittenberg is a public reminder of the theologian’s dedication to the written Word of God.
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12 in conversation SEPTEMBER 2017
Keeping up with the drones Des Mitchell, Principal of South Coast Baptist College, talks with The Advocate about navigating through the digital revolution.
What are some of the biggest changes in teaching you have seen in your career? Schools started out as geographic places, but they now have a global reach. Teachers and adults are no longer perceived as the gatekeepers of knowledge, as access to information is easy. Young people can now spend more time with technology than with people, so as a College we need to manage that. I think people who are not exposed to education now would be utterly amazed at the changing landscape. For example, at SCBC, our football program use drone technology – built by students – to fly over the training field and pick up data about players which we then analyse. It was only a year ago that drones started being widely used this way in China – so in education, new technology is integrated very quickly and, at SCBC, we prioritise these innovations. How do you keep up? No-one can keep up! And parents are very aware that they are not keeping up with the digital space. The rate of change has become cumulative, with no slowing down in sight. But it’s fun! You don’t have to be overwhelmed. It’s about working out what helps kids and what is going to contribute to the
wellbeing and education of the person. Wisdom enables discernment. Students are empowered to follow their instinctive curiosity and interests. As Christian teachers, we need to help kids learn how to intentionally turn away from technology. Turning off altogether is not realistic or practical, but we can nurture them in promoting time out: to enjoy being human; to enjoy being a person, made in the image of an infinitely creative and loving God. How do you approach the issue of the digital revolution in the College? We need to re-imagine education. Great school staff always start with the question, “What can I learn to help students have a more enriching learning experience?” If they see an opportunity for technology to be helpful, they will seek to investigate its application to their teaching. For example, at SCBC technology has affected the way our school and classrooms have been built and designed. There is an argument that the design features of exposed structure, height and light facilitate an optimal learning environment. A classroom is more correctly a ‘class-space’: a space that helps promote effective learning. We know that effective learning involves interactive relationships. While teachers are no longer the gatekeepers of knowledge, they remain significant influencers and encouragers of young minds. We need to be aware of the limitations of traditional education methods in today’s innovative world. As a Principal, it’s imperative to be looking at new approaches to inspire the teachers and students in my school community. I recently took a team of staff to a Future Schools conference in the United States. We visited high-functioning schools and spent time with internationally published, analytical thinkers in education. It was very valuable and we came away with a paradigm shift in the way we saw learning moving forward. How does being a Christian school shape your commitment to excellence? Real excellence is God’s love in action. We have highly skilled personnel in all areas of the school. Together, they help shape
Photo: Shelley Pearson
When did you become involved in the education sector? I have been an educator for 30 years and I am probably more enthusiastic now than I ever have been! If you are like me, you can recall that teacher who saw something in you that no-one else did. Or who explained something in a different way and it suddenly clicked. We know that this simply cannot happen with crowded classrooms and stressed out staff. My role is not just to select excellent teachers in the first place, but to support staff to keep engaging in professional development, and growing their personal faith. I am committed to lifelong learning in my own life and engage with what leading thinkers say about what the future might look like for the next stage of learning. Seeing students move on, healthy and secure, to the next stage of life just makes me even more driven to not just foster outstanding students, but to help South Coast Baptist College (SCBC) develop people of outstanding integrity and character.
South Coast Baptist College Principal Des Mitchell exploring the SCBC app created by Year 9 students.
the hearts and minds of the young people entrusted to our care. For example, one of our hospitality teachers is a fantastic chef. He joined forces with our engineering staff and some students to design and build a food trailer. Our young people are now happily serving homeless clients with freshly cooked, high-end meals with The Salvation Army. That project is a mix of talent, skill and personal faith playing out in their lives. Kids are very creative and they helped drive it. People might be surprised to see some of the things we have adopted that have come to us from our own student
body – with some gentle nudging from us! To me, that’s where it’s at – seeing students using the resources available to them to take God’s love into their community. What principles do you think should distinguish a Christian school? Being a Christian school isn’t a badge to hide behind. It can’t be tokenism. Excellence in faith, character, and achievement should coexist. I have heard it said that ministry and mission set the framework for economy and cleverness, and that really resonates with me. Fundamental beliefs matter, and at the heart of our
beliefs is that a human being is of value. If our young people conceive they have been made in the image of God, they will instinctively know they are gifted with abilities that can make a positive difference to themselves and the lives of others. They will value matters of lasting significance, and not issues and activities of fleeting content. If schools truly reflect the influence of our awesome God, then people will want to be drawn to that and want to be a part of it.
growth 13 SEPTEMBER 2017
As I neared the end of my secondary school education, my Mum asked me, “What are you going to do when you finish school?” My response was, “Well, I’m just going to go to university and study and when I finish one course I’ll study another and then another and then another until I retire.” Clearly, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I knew I had an insatiable desire for learning; to know and understand the world around me. Knowledge. Facts, information and skills acquired through experience and education. As a society we value knowledge and rightly so. We love to trawl the world for all kinds of knowledge, which has never been easier than in this digital age. We love to listen to gifted speakers draw knowledge from the filing cabinets of their brain and present arguments that astound and enlighten us. We have valued knowledge to the point that the question of its seeming worth above true belief has its own name (the Meno problem, first discussed by Socrates and Plato). Knowledge is good and can be used for good. The Bible teaches us to seek out knowledge and to treasure it as a valued possession. Knowledge though, can also be hurtful and intimidating. We can use diverse and extensive vocabulary in well-formed sentences to show clever wit that brings humiliation to those who are not particularly academic in their wiring. We can have prejudices toward people based on the level of their education and their academic understanding. Knowledge puffs up and can be used to laud it over others. Knowledge, when delivered and utilised in love and humility
is a wonderful gift, one that all people should have a desire for and access to, but when it is used as a weapon can be terrifying and soul destroying. The Apostle Paul was an incredibly educated man. He trained under Gamaliel, one of the most highly respected doctors of the Jewish law. Not only did he train under him, Paul was his most excellent student! He knew the law inside and out, and how to apply it. When the Church was birthed, he used his knowledge as a weapon by persecuting Christians. It wasn’t until Paul met Christ personally though, did he receive knowledge that truly became life to him. From this pivotal moment, Paul understood that the knowledge of his head, all the futile ‘stuff’ he had mastered was nothing. It was worth nothing. It was worth less than nothing. It was worth dung (it was worth poo). The knowledge that was worth something was knowledge of Christ. Not knowledge about Christ, but intimate knowledge that came through knowing Christ, the person. Not an intellectual apprehension, but an experiential knowledge resulting from personal communion with Him. A knowledge that reveal who we truly are in light of who He truly is. A knowledge that was birthed out of intimacy and trust. A knowledge that was of the heart, rather than the head. This knowledge – knowing Him – should be the ultimate goal for all believers. All of our gains, achievements and goals, Paul implores us to count them as loss. I can learn about Jesus, about His life and family. I can read His teachings and seek to understand the choices He made and the actions He took in His life. I can seek to know how He related to
the people of His life and how He related to God the Father. I can do all of this by reading the Bible and various commentaries on those books. I can look at history and watch the plethora of videos and teachings that have been made about Him that are plastered all over the internet and filling all of the libraries and bookshops across the world. I can talk to other people about Him in a bid to know Jesus. But until I meet Him and sit at His feet, allowing Him to speak to me and share with me, I can only know Him with that knowledge of the head. Once I have made that first step in faith, my heart becomes alive to the reality of this person who, though He died, was raised to life and now lives in my heart, by faith. I can know Him intimately and personally. I can have a knowledge that is alive and empowers me to understand who God is, who I am, and what my purpose is in this world for this time. This is a knowledge that never seeks to intimidate others or make me look good. It is not a knowledge that has quick wit and a silver tongue. It is not knowledge that puts others down or makes people feel inadequate. It is a knowledge that brings with it the love of Christ and all He is. It is a knowledge that seeks to bring wholeness and healing to all humankind. Peter and John went to pray, they met a lame man on the way and after they healed him they were hauled up before the Sanhedrin (the Jewish judges). The Sanhedrin were welleducated, they had knowledge, they knew the Torah and the rules and regulations. They knew what their religion should look like. The Sanhedrin marvelled at the two untrained and uneducated fishermen, who were
Something about knowledge
operating in the power of what could only be God. They realised that they had been with Jesus. They had gained knowledge of who Jesus is, by spending time with Him and getting to know Him. This enabled them to trust Jesus for a notable miracle. We, through faith in Jesus and His accomplished work, are also able to know God, Sovereign King of the Universe and Eternity. We, even if untrained and uneducated, are of value to Him. We need just know Him. This kind of knowledge changes lives. Removes fear. Removes intimidation. Makes all people equal. Brings back balance. It is vital that, as a people, we never cease our pursuit for knowledge. Much good comes from what we learn. It is equally vital though, that we remember all knowledge is dung in comparison to knowing the Creator of knowledge as a first priority. It is Him alone who
determines our value, not how much we know. Puritan John Owen encouraged people to know God experientially saying that if we know doctrine in mind only, it will lead to nominal Christianity and eventually unbelief. (Paraphrased from Chapter 11 of Timothy Keller’s book Prayer). It is vital that we seek to know Christ intimately and personally. Paul prayed in Ephesians that we may know the love of Christ that passes knowledge and are filled with all the fullness of God. May you experience that knowing, the knowing that passes knowledge, and may it fill your all. Author – Sarah Oliva Used with permission from Sarah Oliva, writesomething.org.au
14 news SEPTEMBER 2017
Finding purpose in music
... it is a gift from God that I feel the privilege and responsibility to share and hopefully have a positive impact on this broken world we live in.
Music has been a big part of Constanza’s life and faith. As a result, she has considered the role of music in her life and how she can best use it to impact the world around her. “A part of me doesn’t want to take music too seriously as I don’t want to allow that to define who I am or put my value in success,” she said. “At the same time, I do take it very seriously because it is a gift from God that I feel the privilege and responsibility to share and hopefully have a positive impact on this broken world we live in.” Constanza has not only found that purpose in performance and worship, but also in teaching. She has been teaching music in schools and privately since she started university and often leads worship at her church. “Receiving education has encouraged me to also share it … there’s nothing like sharing the things you’ve learnt with others.” Constanza’s EP launch will be on Friday 20 October at the Fly By Night Musicians Club, Fremantle. For more information, visit www.constanzaherrero.com Author – John Igglesden
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Using music to learn Catherine Wilmot, from Carey Baptist Church, is approaching a significant milestone in the next few months. It will be 25 years that she has used music to provide therapy to a variety of patients facing a range of challenges.
“There’s no point in learning how to sing with the best technique you can if you don’t find a purpose to share your gift,” Constanza said.
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Constanza still finds time to teach music whilst recording her new EP.
Music therapy is ‘a research-based practice and profession in which music is used to actively support people as they strive to improve their health, functioning and wellbeing’ the Australian Music Therapy Association states. Many music therapists work with people experiencing physical, social or emotional disabilities, as well as those experiencing learning or language difficulties. Since 2005, Catherine has been working with Sing and Grow, a music therapy project that provides services for young children and their families. Using the patient’s context, strengths, needs and responses to music, Catherine intentionally uses music to help her patients
Photo: Catherine Wilmot
Whilst in LA, Constanza had the opportunity to record with musicians who have performed with great names, including Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli and Michael Bublé. The Australian/Chilean singer and songwriter previously acted in a television drama and sung in a pop band as a teenager in Chile. Having moved to Australia, Constanza has now completed her Certificate IV in Musical Theatre and a Bachelor of Music at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.
Photo: Constanza Herrero
Having recently returned to Western Australia from Los Angeles where she started recording her upcoming EP, Constanza Herrero is already back in the studio to continue her recording.
Not only do Catherines’s young clients benefit from her music therapy but so do their families.
engage in their learning and reach their goals, and become the best versions of themselves. “The music provides an outlet in which children can actively be involved in, so you can encourage a struggling child to find confidence in their own abilities
and thus encourage more learning involvement,” Catherine said. For more information, visit www.singandgrow.org Author – John Igglesden
intermission 15 SEPTEMBER 2017
read A minute with ...
On the Way for 3-9s
Photo: Kim Moore
Kim Moore – Canning Bridge Early Learning Centre Director Como Baptist Church What led you to this role? A while ago someone used their profession and God-given gift to save my life at their own expense. I believe that God used their actions to be a witness to me, to imprint on my soul the value of purposeful and intentional servitude. The experience of being a recipient of God’s love through someone else’s deliberate actions was incredibly overwhelming, intimidating and beautiful. This crash course in God’s love further fuelled my desire to serve, coupled with my education and advocacy background, I hoped that the education and or community service sectors would be where I could do so. What is a feature of your ministry you would like to share? When the opportunity to serve on a start-up team for an Early Learning Centre, where one of the objectives is to minister to and care for the welfare of the whole family came up, I felt called and compelled to be involved. At Canning Bridge we are currently blessed with the resources to be able to provide alongside the child care, a chaplaincy service, community playgroups, community events, men’s and women’s events, meals, monthly community church services with lunch provided, and referrals to other professional services as needed. How do you separate yourself effectively from work to rest? I often struggle with rest and feelings of deserting my post when away from work. However, my husband and three sons are great motivators to be present in the moments with them. God has been teaching me through complex health issues the importance of pacing myself and self-care, as well as teaching me the importance of treasuring and valuing the time at home with my family, and how regenerating the simple things can be. What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time? It is easy to become overburdened and disillusioned in a leadership position. I have found that it is helpful to recognise and acknowledge these states existence. Then instead of looking at the whole overwhelming picture, focusing on individual scenarios as separate entities each of which is an opportunity to witness God’s love. I find this helps reground me and provides perspective again. A final thought … No matter what life and leadership are throwing at you, there are always opportunities to serve and witness Gods love, it is in these moments that you can find fulfilment and great peace.
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David Jackman On the Way for 3-9s is a children’s ministry lesson program for a range of age groups. Divided into books for 3 to 9 years old and 11 to 14 years old, activities are designed for age groups within each book, for example, three to five years then four to seven. Each book has a theme and a main point for each week, as well as the aim and plan of the lesson and activities appropriate to reinforce the lesson for each age group. The books also include reproducible material so they can be used for both small and large groups while being cost effective. These resources are useful in situations where there is no electronic equipment as there is no DVD included, also making it easy for both novice and experienced facilitators. – Dorothy
The Jesus Storybook Bible: Curriculum Kit Sally Lloyd-Jones and Sam Shammas Based on the bestselling The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones, the curriculum kit will suit large and small groups with options to use videos and audio or allow the leader to do the whole lesson themselves. With 44 lessons, this is almost a whole year of content with printable handouts and teacher’s notes. Children and teachers alike will enjoy this curriculum, bringing Jesus alive – not just in the New Testament but showing how Jesus is also linked to the Old Testament stories. The story section is short, helping children stay focused, and is followed by a fun craft activity, allowing children to express themselves creatively and to actively reinforce the story’s message. – Alison
The Seven Laws of the Learner Bruce Wilkinson Teaching is often considered one of the most challenging and yet rewarding roles that a person can undertake. For those who choose it as a profession, it is essential to understand the learning process and how to effectively pass on what they are seeking to teach. In The Seven Laws of the Learner, Bruce Wilkinson looks at seven laws to help any and all teachers in their pursuit of this. Each law is broken into two chapters, the first challenging the reader’s beliefs about teaching and the second aimed at changing behaviour as a teacher. In his introduction, the author makes a capturing statement: ‘The teacher is the living link between the content and the class, and how he or she accomplishes that is the heart of teaching.’ Take the challenge that Bruce himself took and look at teaching from God’s perspective. – Dorothy
16 sport SEPTEMBER 2017
Photo: Iona Presentation College
The explosion of female footy
The Iona Presentation College Football team after a training session with Coach Taylor Pervan, and Docker’s Women’s Coach and Iona Past Pupil Michelle Cowan.
The rise of young women in sport, and AFL in particular, has been gaining momentum in recent years. In fact, just this year a number of significant milestones have been overcome – females outnumbered male athletes for the first time at a Summer Olympic Games. In Rio, our female gold medallists outnumbered the men 20 to three; Eleni Glouftsis became the first female field umpire in AFL history, officiating her first match between Essendon and the West Coast Eagles; in only its second season, the Women’s Big Bash League was embraced by cricketing fans with huge crowds (121,000 in 2016/2017 season) and impressive TV ratings; and this year saw the successful introduction of the AFL Women’s league. The inaugural game drew massive crowds, with approximately 2,000 spectators turned away from the ground after it had reached capacity. According to VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter, the interest in women’s sport has not been sudden. Rather, it has been gaining momentum for some time. This year VicHealth launched a campaign
#ChangeOurGame to increase the profile of women in sport and encourage female participation in sport. “Women in sport is no different to men’s sport,” Ms Rechter explained. However, she admitted that there is still a long way to go before achieving equality between men and women participating in sport. “Women are significantly under-represented in management, coaching and officiating, particularly at the higher levels,” she said. In WA, female football has exploded in popularity after the successful launch of the Women’s AFL Competition. There are now double the number of girls playing the sport compared to the same time last year. The WA Football Commission’s female football
coordinator recently commented that the number of secondary schools fielding girls’ teams had grown by 44 percent in 2017. In 2012, fewer than 5,000 females were playing competitive football. This has increased to more than 70,000 female players. One of three private girls’ schools in Perth offering the sport to its students. Iona Presentation College’s football team is having great success and a lot of fun. To encourage more interest in the game, the Fremantle Dockers Women’s Coach and Iona Presentation College past pupil, Michelle Cowan, has been working with the girls to improve their game. “It’s great to see, not only Iona, but so many schools across WA and the whole of Australia embracing the game for women,” Michelle commented.
“We’ve seen that there has been a rise from 35,000 young girls playing the game in WA last year to 70,000 this year, so the growth has been incredible, it is an exciting time,” Michelle continued. The College also recently invited representatives from the Claremont Women’s Football Club to run clinics with the Year 10 students. Lindsey Kenyon and Louise Carey of Claremont Women’s Football Club spoke to the girls about the basics of football, teamwork and game play, before working on skill development. “The Women’s AFL Competition has raised awareness for women’s sport, empowering more women to take part and definitely encouraging more women to play footy,” Year 10 Iona student Eden Ryan said. “I have always loved watching football, and now with a women’s league, it is really exciting for those of us who want to continue playing after school,” said Year 10 Iona student Niamh Osborne. One Iona student who plans to follow in her father’s footsteps, Fremantle’s Scott Chisholm, and
do just that is 16 year old Sarsha Chisholm. In her second season, Sarsha would one day like to play for the same side at the same elite level. “I think Dad would be upset if I went and played for a different team,” Year 11 student Sarsha said. Esperance Anglican Community School (EACS) also provides a wide range of sporting opportunities for its girls. This year, the EACS girls participated in an AFL tournament and had great success at School Sport Western Australia Country Week. The girls also won the volleyball, placed second in netball and third in dance. To further support and encourage young women to participate in sport, the School has recently been accredited by Netball WA to become a netball specialist school. Author – Laura Sheahan