A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100.
I am amazed that this is, in fact, the final edition of NCS Bytes for the 2017 school year. A number of clichés immediately come to mind including ‘Time flies when you are having fun’ and ‘Time and tide wait for no man (or woman).’
However, it has made me think back to Friday, 27 January when I had the opportunity to write my very first Bytes article. At that time, my wife Sharon and I had been in New South Wales for less than a fortnight. I remember gratefully commenting on how warmly we had been welcomed by the whole NCS community. I had also taken the time to read what Mr Smith, my predecessor in the role of Principal, had stated in his farewell comments in the final edition of BYTES for 2016. Mr Smith wrote ‘My prayer is that NCS will continue to put relationship ahead of structure, that it will remain a Christian School and that God’s Kingdom will continue to grow through this place and that He will be glorified.’ At the time I responded to Mr Smith’s prayerful refection with the following words ‘As I prepare to commence as Principal at NCS, this would also be my heartfelt prayer.’
Now that our school year is concluding, I would very much wish to thank all members of the NCS
team - students, parents and carers, alumni and staff – for the vital role that you have played
throughout this year in helping to ensure that Mr Smith’s key desires for NCS have remained at the forefront of our endeavours. I am confident that we have continued to value healthy relationships with others and our emphasis on the devotional theme of ‘Who is this King?’ has consistently reminded us that Jesus is the one whom we choose to serve at NCS.
Much of our attention during this week has focused on careful planning for next Wednesday’s
Thanksgiving Evening. I have taken a ‘sneak preview’ at the program and I am convinced that we can all look forward to a very special evening. It will provide a most fitting way to recognise student achievement and endeavor in a wide variety of areas. And, as the name suggests, it will present us with ample opportunity to acknowledge God’s wonderful provision for our school and to give Him the praise and the glory for His faithfulness to us. I am very much looking forward to your company at this very special school event.
Whilst much attention has been spent on preparations for Thanksgiving Evening, the important
business of teaching and learning has continued to occur in an amazing range of areas. Our students from Kinder through to HSC and all staff have been kept gainfully occupied throughout this final full week of school. I had the privilege of accompanying 25 talented members of the School Concert Band as they presented a number of Christmas carols for the elderly residents at Clelland Lodge. They also handed special gift-wrapped biscuits that had been made at school by NCS students to each resident in the audience. Following this, the Band then headed for Jelly Bean Park to entertain busy shoppers in the central area of Nowra. Many of our junior Primary school students also continued their swimming program that has operated on every morning of this week. Our HSC students are now well into their important Foundation Studies routine and testing and report writing processes for students at all year levels have now concluded.
On Friday we held our final Years 1-11 Assembly and the program included some very significant presentations, designed to recognise student performances in areas such as the Duke of Edinburgh program and the NCS Concert Band. Students also brought along their generous gifts of tinned and packaged food for the Caring Box Appeal. These items will now be delivered to All Saints Community Care for distribution to those most in need.
Another enjoyable opportunity that I was given on Friday was to join with the Year 8 French class as we went to the Food Technology room to make ‘buche de noels’ (Christmas logs). The students worked brilliantly in groups to produce delicious final products (which were happily eaten after organising some photographic evidence)!
Another important event that I trust you have circled on your calendar is the Worrigee Community Christmas Carols that will be held at the school this Saturday. This is a combined Nowra Baptist Church and Nowra Christian School event and many people have been working very hard to ensure that all in attendance will have the opportunity to be presented with the true message of Christmas through music and song. The carols will commence at 7.30pm but there are many enjoyable family-friendly activities that will get underway from 5.30pm. Don’t forget that there will also be food and beverage stalls in operation so you don’t even need to worry about what to prepare for the evening meal! In the event of inclement weather, the program will still go ahead but will move indoors.
Our focus verses for this week are, in fact, an entire psalm. Psalm 100 is subtitled ‘A psalm. For giving grateful praise.’ The words of this psalm are most appropriate for us to focus on as the conclusion of our school year rapidly approaches. The final verse of this psalm reminds us that ‘… the Lord is good and His love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.’ I am confident that this has been the experience of our NCS community throughout our 38 year history. We have found our God to be a faithful provider and a loving support. And 2017 has been no exception! As a school community, we have experienced countless blessings as our God has enriched our relationships, guided our decision-making and blessed our teaching and learning programs.
On behalf of the School Board and the NCS staff team, I would wish every school family a blessed Christmas and a safe and refreshing holiday experience. May you enjoy special times of family ‘togetherness’ and conversation as you reflect on the events of this year and contemplate what the new year may hold. I trust that you will return to our school next year feeling refreshed and renewed and looking forward to the ‘journey’ that we will embark on together in 2018.