… We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
The Apostle Paul, circa 100AD.
When I sat down to reflect on 2020 and write the report we were already so far into 2021 that 2020 was a blurring memory, but I think it is one that will stay with us for a very long time and one many of us are still feeling the effects of as we try to make the most of the present and future opportunities.
In my annual report I mentioned that current McCrindle research suggests that in this current time, where the pace of change has never been this fast and will never be this slow again (Trudeau, 2018, cited in Fell, Renton and McCrindle, 2020) society is faced with a VUCA world; one engulfed in volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. When articulating the Christian’s faithful response to such circumstances, the apostle Paul states that because of God’s grace and faithfulness, when a Christian community goes through difficulty, they do so in the knowledge that “tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:4). It is upon these foundations of faith and grace that Richmond Christian College traversed the VUCA and established strong foundations for the future.
The question, though, is what does this look like for us and how do we continue to do this in unprecedented times? I am convinced that it looks like what we did in 2020, and what we are doing in 2021.
In 2020, as a community we supported each other to adapt and respond out of our faithful identity in Christ and the hopeful purpose we have with Him as individuals and as a community.
In my report I celebrated the way the students resiliently responded to the uncertainty.
I applauded the way our parent body supported their families, their friends and the school whilst encountering so many new and uncertain times, from possible financial instability to their new profession of teaching at home.
I also noted how I am indebted to the RCC staff and Board for the many many hours of work completed in very difficult and foreign circumstances. The way they supported each other and made significant sacrifices of time, energy and money to support each other and our community is inspiring and evidence of Jesus in action.
Furthermore, every time I reflect on our financials I am astounded by God’s provision. As we faithfully attended to His people through the discounts offered to every family in Term 2 and then in the additional Hardship scholarships for those in need, for us to turn a profit after a predicted significant loss is nothing short of a miracle. Thank you to all those who made sacrifices in time and money for this to happen.
Therefore, as we move into 2021 and beyond, we do so optimistically based on Christ’s faithful character. I am excited to see that we will not sit in the past, using unprecedented uncertainty as an excuse, rather we will use the opportunity covertly presented to us in 2020 to continue to grow and innovate in such a way as to faithfully respond to our 26-year-old purpose: to provide a Christ centred, biblically based, rigorous and relevant education to our community that brings identity, purpose and hope beyond our time.
I am excited that we are engaged in master planning and will begin to strategically plan for 2022 and beyond, plans I trust will see us continue to build on the concepts of integration, opportunity and community connections that we began last year. For example, we hope to continue to provide authentic learning opportunities via integrated units, or more opportunities for performance and a more established music program in primary that aims to put an instrument in each student’s hands from Year 3 – 6. We are excited about the reintroduction of Relate and more opportunities for parents to volunteer and connect. I am also buoyed by our students numbers and the interest that continues evidenced in waiting in lists in our significant transition points of PreK, K and Year 7.
It was a privilege to witness the way the RCC community managed the unforeseen challenges of 2020, but it is more humbling to see how we continue to build and, through God’s faithfulness and our commitment to Him and one another, successfully navigate 2021 and beyond. It is my hope that RCC can continue to serve its community, our students and their families to develop an identity that navigates the uncertainty and ambiguity, a purpose that removes the volatility and a hope that overcomes the complexity. It was an honour to walk with the Richmond Christian College community last year as they persevered through the VUCA to produce a character and a hope that will establish foundations for flourishing into the future.