May 22, 2020
In January of this year, I spent a weekend on the far South Coast of NSW, keen to support those communities that had been devastated by bushfires. Although the roads had been opened and visits encouraged, the threat of bushfires was still a very real consideration and so we took a decision to set off as late as possible to give us confidence that the rapidly moving fires in the vicinity of our journey had been successfully contained. As we drove south, we could see the ominous orange-tinged clouds of smoke billowing high into the dark skies ahead of us. At one point we stopped for fuel and, as we were filling up, a number of fire engines arrived. The men and women who exited the vehicles looked exhausted; the smell of acrid smoke smell hung about them and their uniforms were smeared with a dark oily residue from the smoke and fumes they had been subjected to for several hours.
I think the sights and smells of that night time drive will stay with me for many years to come, but my strongest memories will be of the humility and gratitude I felt for those firemen and firewomen who were retiring from countless hours at the fire-front. They were humble people in the midst of doing selfless, heroic things and I was grateful for the opportunity to have a chat with some of them, to say a heartfelt thank you, before continuing on into the night.
The next day I was shocked to see the devastation caused by the fires. Previously verdant, familiar bushland was nothing more than a wasteland of blackened trunks and stumps, the earth still smouldering in places from the prolonged heat that had been applied to it from the raging fires. The same shocking scene stretched as far as the eye could see in every direction. It was hard to believe that the area could ever hope to recover.
In early March, we returned to the South Coast. By this point, we had been blessed with some prolonged and heavy rains that had not only extinguished the fires but also replenished the State’s diminishing water supplies. The air was fresher, the sky was blue and things had largely returned to normal in the small towns and communities we were visiting. What was most striking about this visit was the way in which life was returning apace. Vast swathes of previously scorched earth had been adorned in the fresh green of new growth. What had appeared desolate and lifeless just a month or two earlier had sprung back into new life.
It has been a strange and challenging year in so many ways but I hope in sharing this story you will be reminded, as I was, that God is sovereign over all things. His creation is truly awe-inspiring and even when it appears hope and optimism are in short supply, we can be assured that our loving God offers us an imperishable hope and the wonder and beauty of new life as we place our faith in Jesus.
Professional Learning Day and Student Pupil Free Day – Cancellation
Our transitioning of all students back to full onsite learning by the end of next week has meant that the PD day, planned for Friday 5 June, has been cancelled. We are keen to avoid any additional disruption to student learning and the normal week-to-week school routines we are keen to reestablish.
The extraordinary PD day held in Term I has now taken the place of this Term II PD day and the published dates for PD days in Term III and Term IV will remain in place, dates unchanged.