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The Anchor | Term 2 | Week 8 | 22 June 2018
From the Chaplain

Rod Marsh Resized

The Wontok Conference

Nine GSG students attended a Youth Poverty and Development Conference at All Saints Anglican School in Bull Creek on Wednesday 30 May. 

There, they heard some very good news: “Globally, the number of people living in extreme poverty has declined by more than half, from 1.9 billion in 1990.” However, we still have a way to go to end world poverty; about 836 million people still live in extreme poverty.

The Wontok Conference aimed to educate about 90 students from 15 independent schools on the nature of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) (2015-2030).

The programme featured a community development visitor from the Philippines. Supported by the Australian Government and the Anglican Board of Missions, Clagel Nellas (Philippine Independent Church's Development Agency) gave several wonderful examples of empowering poor Philippino communities to create a modest increase in their income. This enabled the children to go to school, support disabled people in their village and give greater opportunity to improve the health and welfare of the community.

Students attended four mind-expanding workshops and heard an encouraging message from Archbishop Kaye Goldsworthy, who intends to have her own plastic-free July. The afternoon session motivated students to think carefully about one of the SDGs, its relationship to other SDGs and what each school could do to promote the achievement of the goals in their community.

GSG students enjoyed their day out with Perth-based schools, and returned safely, better informed about the way we all want the world to be in 2030.

Student comments:

  • The balance of the whole day was great; a mix of hands-on and lectures
  • They got their message across, especially through activities
  • The workshop presenters expressed their deep understanding, passion and commitment
  • It was very interesting to learn the detail about each sustainable development goal and how they connect
  • I really enjoyed meeting and working with new people
  • The highlight was group collaboration/hanging out with students from other schools, especially those as passionate as us
  • It was fun; a pretty neat day

The Lord’s Prayer and School

Jesus taught his followers to pray, “Our Father, Hallowed be your name … Your Kingdom come… your will be done on Earth…"

The Kingdom of God was Jesus’ signature phrase for God’s presence amongst his people in the world. For Jesus, the kingdom was anywhere, any time that God’s faithful people see God’s rule established. For Jesus, the ‘Kingdom of God’ describes the time and place where God is God and God’s people live lives of loving service. Jesus, himself, embodied God’s rule of justice, peace and love in God’s world, and so he associates God’s kingdom with his presence.

So when and where is God’s kingdom present? As Jesus himself said, the time for the kingdom is now (Mark 1:15) and the place of the kingdom is in you (Luke 17:21). Jesus signified the presence of the kingdom, proclaiming his message, healing those who asked him and confronting and defeating evil. Jesus also indicated the future by asking his followers to daily 'pray in kingdom,' saying “your kingdom come” and by telling stories about the coming establishment of God’s future reign with justice and peace.

What must have Jesus’ followers thought when Jesus facilitated His own death in order to initiate God’s kingdom? They thought, of course, Jesus had failed and he, his followers and his so-called kingdom would be destined for the dustbin of history. How wrong they were! They soon realised their error when they saw Jesus alive again and received his spirit. Then Jesus’ followers started preaching a new message: Jesus’ death has defeated death and now God offers to all new life in Christ. They realised the kingdom had come through the momentous events surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection. God’s kingdom of justice and love soon began to grow and grow. The members of God’s renewed human family were baptised and received the presence of Jesus’ spirit within them. But Jesus’ followers also knew that the suffering and evil still in the world meant that they must keep praying daily, “your kingdom come” and serving to make the kingdom a reality. Still, the spirit of Jesus cries within his modern day followers, "Abba!" To cry Abba both assures us, each one, we are indeed God’s children, and also, "Jesus' spirit lets us know that together with Christ we will be given what God has promised,” (the Apostle, Paul).

Jesus' followers still pray, every day, “Your kingdom come,” because we are waiting in hope for the promised fulfilment of the kingdom, when, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign for ever and ever." (the Apostle, John).

When we, together as a school community, pray “Our Father…. Your kingdom come,” and together follow Jesus to introduce God’s love through word and deed, the kingdom will come in our classrooms, playgrounds, sporting fields and homes.

Perhaps when all of God's people, worldwide, join in saying and living the Lord’s Prayer, then the kingdom will finally and fully come, and heaven will be on earth forever. Then, we will eternally rejoice in God’s presence and each and every prayer for the kingdom to come will be gloriously fulfilled. By teaching our children to pray the prayer Jesus taught us, we involve them in playing their unique part in fulfilling God’s eternal plan, God for all people.

Rev Rodney Marsh | Chaplain
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