Exploring the meaning of life?
To date it certainly has been a very challenging year for the global community, for many in this nation and ourselves as a school family. None of us could have foreseen what would unfold as a result of that Coronavirus initial outbreak and the subsequent COVID-19 global pandemic. We travel in uncharted waters and hope and pray for a vaccine and an end to this difficult season of uncertainty and, at times, anxiety.
Such uncertainty can generate many questions, big questions and we certainly see that amongst our student body. How we manage these questions, ask them and consider responses to them, is an important part of the spiritual component of the St Paul’s journey for our young people. It is something that we very much take seriously and address through our chapel program and other opportunities.
In many recent chapel services we have engaged with some of these big questions that life often presents us with; questions around meaning, purpose, direction, life, faith, God and even “what happens next”? The human race has been living with these questions for many thousands of years, our faith and religion is often the route we choose in order to engage with these existential questions further.
Regretfully, we rarely have the opportunity or the time to give more thought or attention to these big questions though. We are often so busy and so caught up with the many demands that life seems to make upon us that we seldom have the chance to pause in order to ponder, to wonder and to delve deeper into these questions. As a result, we do not have the chance to explore the whole range of possible answers to these questions and in particular, the positive part that Christian faith can play in our search for meaning and direction in life.
St Paul’s Collegiate School is currently offering once again this year a safe, creative and engaging place for our young people to ponder and explore some of these “big” questions. The ALPHA Course runs every Thursday at 7 pm in the Chapel of Christ the King and lasts for an hour. It will run each Thursday in term time and at its core is food, fun, friendship and exploration. The Alpha programme has been running for 30 years and operates in over 100 countries worldwide, with some 24 million people now having participated in it. It is a fantastic program and invites people into a conversation around life and faith without putting pressure on anyone to change what they think or who they are.
Alpha is an opportunity to ask these questions, to explore them and to consider what part faith can or should play in our lives. It is unashamedly Christian in content, does not seek to indoctrinate but rather to educate, offering a rare opportunity to inquire and engage with faith in a safe and friendly space.
As your Chaplain, it is my privilege to lead the group and to invite you all again to Alpha this year. If you would like to find out more about it or have any questions then please don’t hesitate to let me know. Alpha is also the space we use to prepare those considering baptism and confirmation, which this year occurs on Thursday October 29th at 8am.
I will send out further communication in respect to baptism and confirmation just before the holidays begin. I look forward to hearing from you with any questions and to seeing you at Alpha
Blessings and aroha
Mā te Atua e manaaki
Ngā mihi nui
Jesus said “I have come that you might have life, life in all its fullness “ - come to Alpha and explore what this means.
Revd Peter Rickman
St Paul’s Collegiate School