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Dear friends 

A few weeks ago Marzia Babbakarkhail, a refugee in Oldham, came to speak as part of the 8.00 and 10.00 sermons. For those who didn't hear her on the day, we have printed the text of her talk elsewhere in the magazine. Like others, I found her address a moving experience, and this despite having spoken with Marzia several times about her experiences and I was again moved by her courage. Besides her legal work, Marzia founded schools offering an education to give girls the opportunity of an education. She had received the benefits of a good education because of her parents' wealth and their commitment to education for all, and offered her time, many talents and money to this end. Unfortunately this made her an enemy of the Taliban, who almost killed her, and have permanently disabled her; a huge sacrifice.

A hundred years ago, the founders of our church and school were making great sacrifices to found our church and school, that individuals and society could thrive.  

This year is our school's centenary year, a year of celebration and thanksgiving. We can be thankful to God for our founders, for the sacrifices they made in the giving and raising money, the time that they gave, and the way in which they used their talents. What adds to our admiration must be that for the previous two years our country had been at war causing extra demands on the local community. Let us also give thanks for all those who down through the years have made their contributions, that our school has been able to serve so many, and is still flourishing. 

There is an ongoing temptation to reduce education to 'schooling', where the work of schools and colleges is seen as a means of generating the needed workforce for economic growth, reducing humans to 'production units'. Whilst education might have economic benefits, its primary purpose is to enable human flourishing, the growth of the 'whole' person made in God's image. Our school however still shares the same vision as our founders, education of the whole person as God's children, education for all for all, whatever ability, class, race, and religion of our children. A Christian ethos running through the whole life of the school, but where people of all religions and none are welcome, coming together to grow spiritually, morally, intellectually, socially, and to be a community where all grow and flourish together in God's world;

 

As we thank God for our school's first hundred years, let us pray that as we move on, our school will continue to bring out the very best of each child's potential. We have been set an example of sacrifice for the good of all; are we up to the task of making the necessary sacrifices of time, talents and money to keep both our church and school flourishing???

With prayers and good wishes 

James 

 


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