As an independent Anglican school, Abbotsleigh's understanding of education is underpinned by Christian teaching. The task of education is ultimately one of human formation. A holistic education provides students with the opportunity to consider their own response to the question, 'What does it mean to be human?'
C.S Lewis wrote, 'God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other.' C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.
As we empower our students to be courageous, constructive and compassionate world citizens, we do so with the conviction that Jesus shows us who God is and what it is to be truly human. Students are challenged to respond to the Christian message as they develop their own understanding of the world. An example of this is beautifully displayed in the creative student video below, which captures the impact of faith on her life.
At the centre of Christian faith is the belief that Jesus reveals the true nature of the God who created the universe. We discover him today through God's word, the Bible. In Jesus, God reveals himself to be faithful to humans despite the fact they have turned away from him. The suffering that has entered our world, which is seen in both in war and environmental disaster and in the everyday hurts we inflict upon each other, are testament to this turning away and are at odds with God’s purpose and character. They point to brokenness between God and his creation and a rejection by humans of his good and loving order. Yet, God’s love is so powerful that he is able to overcome the very worst outcome of our wrong doing that we might live in right relationship with him.
1 John 4:9-10 reads
This is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
When Jesus rose from the dead at Easter it was to proclaim that there is life after death. Jesus came that we might know the hope of forgiveness that restores our relationship with God and the promise of eternal relationship with him. Humans are spiritual and built for a relationship with God and each other which is unending.
At Abbotsleigh there are four main ways in which every student’s spiritual growth is fostered.
- The School values are underpinned by the Christian faith.
- Chapel is a time to sing, pray and hear from God’s word the Bible. This is a time to stop, to learn, to reflect and to grow spiritually. It is a time of celebration and joy.
- Christian Studies is taught from Transition to Year 12. In the classroom, girls are encouraged to thoughtfully understand the Christian faith. . In Years 7-10 the curriculum centres on understanding the Bible, Christian theology and ethics. Students are free to explore their own response to the Christian faith and are encouraged to think critically and ask their own questions. In Years 11 and 12 students are prepared to engage respectfully with world religions and consider competing world views from a Christian foundation.
- Crusader groups are voluntary student groups run in the Junior and Senior Schools. They give students the opportunity to express their response to the Christian faith in a safe environment, provide opportunities to serve and lead, and offer the experience of Christian fellowship.
As the Chaplain, it is also my privilege to respond with spiritual care for students and their families, whether in times of crisis or celebration, in times of exploring faith or seeking to strengthen it.
Rev Jenni Stoddart