Mesona CHAN, Director of Inter-School Team
Contextualised bible reading, reflection and textual reading have always been an emphasis of the FES ministry, and the Inter-School Team is no exception. However, have these ministries been shaken or transformed by the social movement and the pandemic in the last two years?
In response to the social movement in 2019, we chose the theme of ‘Pursuing the Truth’ for our 2020 Joint School Fellowship Committee Training which encouraged honesty in facing our real self and an attitude of truth discernment. Catch magazine has also extended and deepened our textual expression of some of our beliefs. Issue 127 explored how we interpreted the outbreak and our search for answers in the context of the pandemic puzzle. The schools no longer have the dynamic learning that they used to have, which has led us to practise such as active listening, listening to the needs of the individual, the needs of the surroundings and, more importantly, listening to the voice of God in the current moment and contemplating what He is doing. However, behind all these actions, it does not mean that we have found the right path to follow, or even that we have created more questions and struggles. Yet, in this process of exploration, we, together with our students and teachers, cherish the fact that when we do not have the answers, we still choose to continue to believe and discover the value of being together.
Our Imagination of the Future
What will the future secondary school campuses look like? If the most obvious way to bring secondary schooling to a close is to complete Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE), we can see that the future curriculum reform of Liberal Studies or even other subjects in DSE will reflect the direction in which secondary education is heading and the kind of young people it hopes to produce. This is clearly a tightening of space across all aspects. For teachers, that means more guidelines on what should be taught and what can be taught. For our team members, will the access to the school be the same as usual? Will the text approval give Catch the same access to the school as usual? These variables are not unheard of. Thus, rather than waiting to see if we can get into the schools, we are challenged to explore more possibilities and to continue our belief in discipleship, community witness, joint school fellowship and social concern.
The development of the online platform has been a path of no return: over 300 devotionals a year are being prepared for distribution to secondary school students in September via the online platform; weekly devotions for DSE students will continue; and the online version of Catch will run in parallel with the physical version.
In a Narrow Gap We Stand
Besides, in response to the future learning environment, the Joint School’s Discipleship Training Day Camp and Fellowship Leaders Training this year encourages students to explore the beauty of God’s creation of the whole person in different areas, from the heart to the mind to the imagination. However, we are not meant to be left alone to feel good about ourselves. We have been emphasising the importance of witnessing as a community on campus, and making good use of the joint school platform to counteract the tightening of this space. We have to keep a broad mind in the narrow gap, that becomes our continuous learning journey. Let’s start with secondary school students!
External circumstances drive us to adjust the direction and expression of our ministry, yet the overall direction is always the same as allowing God’s Word to orient us. The Word of God not only penetrates the heart, but also cuts through the walls that surround us, both visible and invisible, enabling us not to become discouraged or lazy, but to open up a wider space that God has given us to make the impossible possible.