The Story Goes On

IMG_2924You’ve likely been too busy to notice..  A school year is racing to a conclusion. Summer days invite us to all kinds of family activities.  Soccer season is here. The lawn needs mowing. Who could be blamed for not noticing that around the beginning of May, the stories on this blog stopped?  The pictures of engaged students and active classrooms ended. The celebration of students at Edmonton Christian Schools finding their places in God’s story were seemingly silenced.IMG_4695

Let’s set it straight right now.  The blog and other social media accounts may have stopped, but God’s story at Edmonton Christian Schools has continued.  A medical diagnosis silenced the author¹ of this blog, for a time,  but let there be no doubt:   God’s work cannot be silenced. Even the rocks would cry out …hosanna! (see Luke 19:40)

God’s story is so much bigger than all of us. At Edmonton Christian Schools there have been all kinds of stories that have gone untold since the beginning of May.  The word cloud below gives you some idea.

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With the end of a school year upon us, we hope that you will celebrate the stories, that God wrote through the students, staff, parents, alumni  grandparents and supporters of Edmonton Christian Schools. Those stories tell us who we are–a people of God created for love, created to live lives of renewal. That’s a story that is unstoppable!

May your summer be filled with grace and wonder!

¹Brian Doornenbal is currently on medical leave getting treatments for multiple myeloma which was discovered in early May.
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Go Deep!

IMG_7721When writing about the things that happen at Edmonton Christian Schools, it is sometimes a burden to try capture the full depth of the stories that happen as the school lives towards its mission.  But as I set out to write the story of the Grade 12 Passion Projects which culminated in a celebration of learning last week, there is no such burden. Why? Because the story is far to large to BE captured in a blog.  It’s a story of 81 students finding ways to explore something they are passionate, or, at very least, curious about. It’s a story about lessons learned from success and from failure. It is a story of enthusiasm and procrastination.  It is a story about learning new things about God’s world and about one’s self.

In the end, it is actually a collection of 81 individual stories each with it’s own depth.  Stories of making meals for homeless people, creating art, coaching kids and starting a dance club.  Stories of travel to the developing world, working with seniors, helping in an immigrant community association, taking artistic photographs, and working from the back of a Salvation Army van to meet the basic needs of people who live on the winter streets of Edmonton.  (That leaves 72 more stories to list!)

The best that one short blog can hope to do is give you the breadth of this beautiful story and hope that it will prompt you to mine the depths by taking up a conversation with one (or more) of these Grade 12 students to ask them what they experienced, learned and hope for in the future.  If you are able to do that, you will begin to hear how, for many, this project is one of the pieces helping them to find their role in God’s story:

“I hope to be a teacher, and this was my first taste of what teaching and coaching might be like.  I really enjoyed this.” Gr 12 student who volunteered as a coach.

“It was powerful getting to know some of their stories.” Gr 12 student who worked making and serving meals at Hope Mission.

“Sometimes I just want to sit down and watch Netflix and not care about the rest of the world.  But when you do something, it connects you . . .it makes you think about what it means to be a Christian.”  Gr 12 student who volunteered in a Senior’s Care Facility.

“I found out I truly do love working with these kids and being in their lives.”  Gr 12 student who worked in a Grade 1 classroom at an east-side public school.

“I learned that I am a good hard worker and that I like helping out people in need.”  Gr 12 student whose passion project took him to Belize.

Bikes for Eritrea (2)

 

If you know one of our soon-to-be-graduates, see if you can find a chance to go deep with them about their passion project.  That’s better than a blog any day!

by Brian Doornenbal

 

Deep Hopes for Our Students

What are your deep hopes for your children?  More specifically, what do you hope for when, each day,  you send them off to Edmonton Christian Schools (West, Northeast or Senior High School)?  These are great questions because deep hopes are at the centre of what we do at Edmonton Christian School.  After all, we are part of God’s story, a story filled with hope.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for God who promised is faithful. (Heb 10:23)

It isn’t news that the frenetic pace of life can often make us forgetful people.  In fact it has been said that forgetting is the default position for humans. It could also be the default for Edmonton Christian Schools.  That is why staff have been spending some early dismissal time lately deliberately articulating and discussing the deep hopes they have for the students they see each day.  Here are just a few of those deep hopes drafted by teachers from all three of our schools.* 

My deep hope is . . .

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Div 2 deep hope

SH Deep Hope

K teacher deep hope

Div 2 Deep Hope

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Div 3 Deep Hopes

Staff at Edmonton Christian Schools hope deeply that your children will find their place in God’s story.  How would you express your hopes for your children?  It’s a conversation worth having in our community as we continue living in the grace of a  faithful God whose promises give us unswerving hope!

* graphics  and visuals have been added by this blog author without teacher input.
by Brian Doornenbal

Hope Sandwiches

Recently our teachers have been thinking about their deep hopes for the students that attend Edmonton Christian Schools.  Many of these hopes, in one way or another,  speak about our students being people who love God and love their neighbours.

(Watch for an upcoming blog about DEEP HOPES)

But like the people in Jesus time, we sometime need reminders about who those neighbours are.  If we don’t live in the downtown core, are the people who live life largely on the streets our neighbours?  Does God call us to see and treasure His image reflected in the 1800 plus people in our city who are struggling with homelessness?

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Dan explains the work of the Mustard Seed to the students.

Some classes at Edmonton Christian Schools answered those questions with an emphatic “YES” last week as they used opportunities in their studies to actively love some of the people on the margins of the society we live in.  Both groups made sandwiches for the Mustard Seed and it’s partner programs in Edmonton.  These sandwiches will help someone on the street bridge a gap until their next meal or will become a child’s school lunch or will supply the energy for one of Edmonton’s working poor, heading off to their job.  Simple sandwiches providing hope for the day.

Mrs Piers and her grade 8 French class at ECWS made over 200 sandwiches as a learning experience in their FSL unit on Food:

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Two days later, at ECHS, Ms. Tsang and her Foods 10/20 class along with Mrs. Krol’s Physics 20 class that had raised some money for the sandwich supplies also made 200 sandwiches:

 

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Writing messages of love and encouragement on the sandwich bags.
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“Today I choose to be a History maker in the lives of those around me.”

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 Growing as servant-workers,  community builders and justice-seekers.  Recognizing the image of God in all people.  Finding their role in God’s story.  This is all part of what we hope for the students of Edmonton Christian Schools.

This time, that hope was realized in the simple act of making a sandwich.

by Brian Doornenbal

A Christmas Card for You

A  Christmas card from Edmonton Christian Schools to you:

In these long days of darkness, God-With-Us has come.  “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” Isa.9:2.  That’s God’s story.  The darkness does not last!  That’s the Christmas story.  And it is our story!  “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace to those on whom God’s favour rests” Luke 2:14 

This, our Christmas card, comes in the form of pictures and messages carried by the voices and instruments of students in all three of our schools.  We join them in wishing your families the renewed hope that comes in this season of God changing things around, calming our fears and inviting us to be people of love and light.


🎶When down is up and up is down,

Our God can change things around.”🎶


Edmonton Christian West School K – 6 (slide show may take a few moments to load on your device)

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🎶“Sleeping Adonai,

Calm the waves, then calm my fears.

Light the world, then light my way,

Sleeping Adonai.” 🎶


Edmonton Christian High School Band&Choir, ECWS & ECNS Junior High Bands, ECNS Gr 7 Choir (slide show may take a few moments to load on your device)

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🎶All around us people are hurting . . .

We are meant to be as his hands and feet

To share God’s wonderful love.”🎶


Edmonton Christian Northeast School Gr 1-3 (slide show may take a few moments to load on your device)

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by Brian Doornenbal

What’s Your Superpower?

If you had a choice, what superpower would you have? Flight? Invisibility? Time travel? Breathing under water?  That’s fun to think about and it makes a great conversation starter at a dinner party.  If dinner parties aren’t your thing, there are multiple websites on which you can take a quiz to see which superpower “matches” you.  

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We know, of course, that super powers don’t really exist the way Marvel Comics and Hollywood portray them. They are just an entertaining fantasy.  But what if we already have a power, and  what if we can use it in super ways?  Good news!  At Edmonton Christian we do, and we did!

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IMG_4733The superpower we all have, in this loud world, is a voice to speak for love and justice.  In the last weeks, Gr 7-10 students at Edmonton Christian Schools have used their powerful voices to promote and protect  human rights.  They used their voices, in love, to save lives.  In a world where racism bubbles through thin veneers of equality, where millions of women are treated as property rather than as people, where children are made soldiers and slaves, where terror grips hearts and where ruthless leaders beat down, kill or imprison anyone who dares question their authority, our students channelled their voices onto paper in the annual Amnesty International Write for Rights campaign.  By sending those voices to people in authority all over the world, they will play a part in some prisoners being set free, in some human rights violations ceasing and in promoting new and better laws in some places.  

 

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Isaiah 61 (1)This isn’t just a party-game-conversation about superpowers.  Amnesty International’s history is filled with examples of lives being saved, captives being set free, violence decreasing and basic human rights being respected.  This gives us the hope that our voices make a super-powerful difference. But it’s more than just hope in a less than perfect organization like Amnesty.  At Edmonton Christian Schools we believe that because of the Child whose birth we will soon celebrate, we are invited into a story where flawed people can be used by a faithful God in acts of restoration.  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me (us) . . .to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”  That’s a superpower that not even the brilliant imaginations at Marvel can touch!

by Brian Doornenbal

The Diviners

Moraine_Lake_17092005Mere existence is not really an option for the universe. God created it to flourish! If you’ve ever snorkelled above a healthy coral reef, seen the northern lights, watched a butterfly feed or stood on top of a mountain, you are witness to a creation that does more than just exist.  If a piece of music has ever gladdened your heart or if you have ever experienced the love of another person, you know what it feels like to flourish.

IMG_4648There are many characteristics of thriving communities and flourishing people; one such aspect is beauty.  That is why one of the Biblical through-lines that shapes our work at Edmonton Christian Schools is Beauty-Creating.  The senior high students, guided by Mrs. Knol, Mr. Epp and Mr. Boschman were beauty-creators as they rehearsed and, last week, performed The Diviners, a classic play by Jim Leonard Jr..  Following are some pictures taken at dress rehearsal.  Hopefully those that did not attend a performance can sense  how the beauty of this superbly acted and produced play joined the rest of the universe in singing the praise of our Creator and contributed to flourishing in our community(ies).

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The limited skills of the author to take pictures in low light means that Mr. Boschman,  and perhaps others, do not appear in this blog.  Sincere apologies if the lens missed you.  Thanks to ALL for your beauty creating!
by Brian Doornenbal