On Strowan - Volume 14 // Issue 2 // 7 March 2019
College Chaplain is Paul Morrow.
St Andrew’s College is a Presbyterian school founded by those who believed that education should be framed within the context of a Christian environment. A motion passed at the Board’s inaugural meeting on 20 December 1916 made it clear that the College’s religious foundation was to be of paramount importance.
What does this framework look like 102 years on? And have we been faithful to the motion passed by the Board in December 1916? How is our College’s religious foundation of paramount importance today?
The St Andrew’s College Faith Statement 2019 states:
St Andrew’s College is a Christ-centred Presbyterian Church School. We embrace a rich heritage of historic Christian faith with roots in the Free Church Presbyterian tradition and as part of the wider Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ). The Trinitarian theology of this tradition (2 Corinthians 13:14) informs, pervades, and shapes the life of the school in a missional and pastoral manner, but with respect to those of other faiths or of no faith. We believe education must be holistic and embrace the spiritual and emotional well-being of students, as well as their academic and social growth, and development in sport and the arts. Overarching values of Faith, Truth, Excellence, Creativity, and Inclusivity promote Developing Positive Relationship Values (DPR Values) which include Hope, Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Generosity, and Compassion. These are taught, expressed, and role-modelled within the lived experience of the College community. The College maintains positive relationships with the PCANZ and other Presbyterian Schools’.
Within my comments I thought it also appropriate to inform our parent body how our Faith Statement is worked out through the daily life and week of your child who attends St Andrew’s College.
Religious Education classes are compulsory for all students who attend St Andrew’s College. Attendance to senior classes is tied to the highly sought-after Senior College Diploma.
At Year 13, students attend one 50-minute period per week for half a year. The topic is Moral and Ethical Decision-making. This is a discussion-based course looking at questions of morality and moral decisionmaking within the context of the Ten Commandments.
At Year 12, the students are required to attend one 50-minute period per week for the whole year. The course at this level leads to students being given the opportunity to explore questions of faith, confirmation, or baptism for themselves. The course covers the ultimate questions of life – why are we here? Where did we come from? Where are we going? The ‘Curriculum Aim’ is for students to be able to answers these questions developed by philosophers and theologians throughout the ages.
At Year 11, a Life Skills programme operates which covers communication, leadership, and healthy decisionmaking around sex, drugs, and alcohol.
At Year 10, students attend one 50-minute period per week for the whole year. At this level students study the five major world religions. The ‘Curriculum Aim’ at this level is for students to be able to show attitudes of tolerance to others in describing the basic facts of five major world religions, and to respond to key human issues. Students reflect on how people maintain spiritual well-being within a religion.
At Year 9, students attend one 50-minute period per week for the whole year. At this level we study the Christian faith. The ‘Curriculum Aim’ is for students to be able to describe the background, scriptures, themes, key events, and key people that have been influential in the development of the Christian faith.
As well as Religious Education classes our weekly chapel services provide another important key component in ensuring that we hold true to our Presbyterian heritage. While I will take most of these services throughout the year, I do invite numerous guest speakers who communicate the gospel and other key Christian messages in inspiring ways. Also, our assemblies will always have a hymn, scripture reading, and prayer incorporated into the proceedings.
Most importantly, is our outward focus on others, and this is where our Community Service initiatives are so important. We have numerous endeavours operating within the College which allow our students to service at a local, national, and international level.
I think today, in 2019, we can say we are holding true to our founding Presbyterian faith and values, and the Board’s motion that made it clear that the College’s religious foundation was to be of paramount importance. And I pray that we remain true to this motion for the next 100 years and beyond. We are who we are because of those who have gone before us.