Jude Long Vice-Principal (Academic)
The year has certainly started off with both joy and celebration and also great challenges. We began the year very excited to celebrate the achievements of Eastern Students at our graduation ceremony in February. It was so encouraging to hear students affirm how their studies had helped them grow in their faith and be more equipped for the many and varied ministries and vocations they are stepping out into. We then started looking forward to this year with Orientation and the Commencement Service. It is always such a joy to share together in these events and to meet the new students at the start of the year.
However, at the same time, we were coming out of the worst bushfire season on record, with loss of people, livestock, rainforest, animals, homes and businesses. Even areas not on fire struggled with choking smoke. This highlighted the need for a Christian voice in both the climate change discussion and in the care of those so devastated. In response, our counselling lecturer Dr Julie Mursillo opened up her classes on counselling to the public to provide guidance in how we can support people as they face trauma.
Now we are facing yet another threat on an international scale with the COVID-19 pandemic. As I write this, our College has been working industriously to swiftly adapt to the changing restrictions. In particular, our educators and staff have been working tirelessly to move every class online and care for students in the process. These are indeed challenging times.
However, as we face these challenges it is important to focus on our great God, creator and sustainer of all life. The fires and pandemic remind us of the fragility of human life and the economic, political and social structures we put our faith in. It was interesting to observe how the fires in many ways brought out the best in people – generosity and care, yet the pandemic has brought out the worst – suspicion, fear and greed. In the midst of all this, we as God’s people are called to demonstrate lives transformed by the gospel, to walk with the suffering and to bring hope and healing in Jesus name. I am excited to share this journey with wonderful staff and students at Eastern.
In these times of uncertainty, may you manifest the peace and hope of Christ in you.