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Presbyterian Church Schools' Resource Office Newsletter

November 2015

Hello everybody
I'm sure that your schools will be humming with all the end-of-year tasks and events, including prizegiving, carol services and final chapels. 
This brief newsletter has some resources which may be of use to you in this last week or two of school, along with some news updates and resources you might like to think about for 2016.
Warm regards for the rest of the school year. May you all have a blessed Christmas and rest-filled summer break.
Sharon Ross Ensor
Resource Office Director. 

Turakina Maori Girls' College

A pastoral letter from the PCANZ's Convenor of the Council of Assembly, Rev Dr Colin Marshall, about the decision of the Minister of Education to close Turakina Maori Girls' College can be read here.
Please continue to remember the staff and students of the College in your thoughts and prayers at this sad and difficult time.

Advent and Christmas resources

A few ideas for resources around the Christmas theme for your classroom or chapel:
 Malcolm Gordon has recently published a new song called Hey Mary which explores the call to Mary and everyone, to recognise God coming to 'our house'. The link to the song takes you to a movie featuring Malcolm's son Sam...well worth a look!
The Very Angry Christmas Quiz asks some questions about the Christmas story and reveals some of the traditions and assumptions which have grown up around the story of Jesus' birth as it is recorded in the gospels.
A follow on to that quiz is a short movie called Retooning the Nativity
I love the John Lewis department store Christmas adverts which often have a thoughtful twist to them touching on the deeper things of the season.
The John Lewis Christmas 2015 advert focusses on looking out for others this Christmas
There has been a remake of that advert into one with a Christmas theme of God coming to dwell with us. 
My favourite John Lewis advert remains the 2011 one. 

Recommended on the Resource Office web-site

Curriculum on Service

Jennifer MacLeod (John McGlashan College) has written an NCEA Achievement Standard for Religious Studies 2.3: 'Explain how a contemporary social action derives from the ethical principles of a religion's tradition.' This standard focuses on a service project: 'considering the biblical incentive to serve others, plan, carry out and reflect on a service project.'
Even if your school doesn't offer NCEA Achievement Standards for Religious Studies, this resource could be of use for Religious/Christian Education classes.

Creation unit
Jennifer has also written a curriculum unit for Year 9-10 called God's Plan for Creation exploring the stories of Creation from Genesis 1-3.

Two interesting PD events for 2016.

Unfortunately these two events are on at the same time, but they are both recommended!

REthinking Approaches to Teaching Christianity with well-known UK Religious Educator Robert Kirkwood.King's College, Otahuhu, Auckland on March 31st. Cost is $A170 per person . 
Robert will be introducing a model of RE which he calls the 'personal search approach' which 'puts the experiences and existential concerns of students at the centre of teaching (as opposed to the communication of facts) and sees the primary aim of RE as creating a relationship between these life experiences and the insights of religion and a broader spiritual canon.'

The Art and Spirit of Leadership: a Courage to Lead Retreat, Thursday 31 March and Friday 1 April 2016 in Hamilton.
Some of you will be familiar with American Quaker, educator and author Parker Palmer and his books eg Courage to Teach and A Hidden Wholeness. This Courage to Lead retreat makes space for personal reflection and leadership development using Palmer's Circle of Trust approach. Mennie Scapens and Greg Sunter, who both have a background in education and experience of group facilitation, are the retreat leaders.

Transforming Service conference. April 14-16 2016 in Brisbane

This conference is being organised by a partnership of Australian Anglican and Catholic school organisations and Christian social service providers. The conference will consider the links between service learning and faith. Attenders will be discussing the nature of service in church schools, what best practice looks like and how it can be done in a way that is respectful and helpful to cross-cultural partners.

Registrations from Presbyterian church schools in New Zealand are warmly welcomed. Visit for more information.

Christian World Service   

A reminder of Christian World Service's exciting new initiative in 2016 called Ration Challenge. This is a way of providing some insight into the plight of refugees and raise money at the same time for agencies who support them.

Ration Challenge will be held from June 16-20 2016. After registering online for the challenge CWS will send each participant a package containing the rations that a refugee from Syria would receive in the camps in Lebanon: a small amount of rice, flour, salt, fish, split peas and oil. A personal online fundraising page can be set up for family and friends to donate to.
You can read more about the Ration Challenge here.

Another exciting initiative which we will be sending you information on in Term 1 is the songwriting competition which is a joint project between CWS and Rev Malcolm Gordon, the PCANZ Music, Worship and Arts Enabler.

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