From the Principal

Dear Families,

As we navigate through this school year under our theme, “Flourish in Faith,” I wanted to share a recent devotion that beautifully ties into our collective journey. This reflection revolves around the powerful imagery of the vine and branches, a story that has deeply influenced my spiritual and teaching journey for many years. The essence of this parable—fruitfulness and connection—mirrors our aspirations for this year: to not only grow in knowledge and skill, but to thrive spiritually and communally within the nurturing environment of our faith.

I have been enamoured with Christ’s teaching on the vine and the branches since I cut my teeth on Bible study, and I’ve taught about His call to fruitfulness as an essential part of life’s satisfaction for at least twenty years. The spectacular thing about Scripture, however, is that, like no other book held in the human hands, its ink may be dry but it is the furthest thing from dead. The words are alive and active, and the Holy Spirit who inspired them can animate the most familiar passage and spring it to fresh life again in your soul.

It happened to me in Tuscany a year ago, on a dream trip I took with my daughters. The place was otherworldly. We stayed three nights at an inn on a hillside on the upper quadrant of a vineyard. I could stand on the grounds and in every direction I looked, I saw vines.

On our way into town by taxi one morning, we saw the last of the harvesters walking the rows – inspecting the vines and clipping the final heavy clusters of fruit. Captivated, I felt like I was watching live reenactments of some of Christ’s own parables. It was not lost on me that one of His final exhortations to His disciples was, essentially, “Be immensely fruitful” (John 15: 5-8). The image of the vineyard has consumed me ever since.

When Jesus told His disciples, “My Father is the gardener” (John 15:1, NLT), He wasn’t using random imagery to sketch His point. From the very first book in the Bible, we discover that God is a gardener:

The LORD God planted a garden. Genesis 2: 8

From the beginning, its God Himself with hoe and spade. It’s God who’s afoot with herbs and bulbs. Its God with the knack and no Farmers’ Almanac.

It’s a wonder to me that God would choose to slowly grow what He could have simply created grown. Why on earth would He go to the trouble to plant a garden forced to sprout rather than commanding it into existence, full bloom? Why leave His desk and get His pant legs soiled?

Because God likes watching things grow.

This metaphor plays out throughout Scripture as He tends His people with care, skill, and intention. When Jesus began His ministry on earth, He took this idea to a whole new level, revealing that He Himself is the Vine. He invites us to the sacred ground of abiding, calling us to flourish in the abundant life He offers.

Moore, B. (2001) in Made to Flourish.

This parable’s message resonates deeply with our roles as educators and parents. As we commit to our theme of flourishing in faith, we’re reminded of our responsibility to tend to our community’s growth—cultivating an environment where every student and family can connect deeply with their faith and with each other. In embracing the lessons from the vineyard, we see a reflection of our own calling: to nurture, guide, and support each other in a journey of faith that leads to abundant life.

Let’s carry this image with us throughout the year, as a reminder of the beauty and strength found in unity and the transformative power of living out our faith in every aspect of our lives. Together, we will Flourish in Faith, rooted in love and nurtured by the rich soil of our community.

 

Some Reminders

NAPLAN Change of dates:

Please note, Year 3 and Year 5 students will now complete all NAPLAN tests on the 13, 14 and 15 March 2024. Please ensure students are well rested and have a hearty breakfast each day.


Parent Lounge:

Parent Lounge is where we rely on you to keep all student details up to date. Please log on and ensure all details are an accurate and current record for your family.


Uniforms:

Black all leather joggers only.

Plain gold or silver sleepers and studs – no coloured stones.

Red, White, Navy watch bands – or plain silver or gold.

White socks for girls formal uniform.

Navy socks for boys formal uniform.

Red and Navy striped sport socks for sport uniform.

If your child is wearing the St John’s uniform, we expect them to follow our Values and Spirit on and off campus.  We thank parents for their support with this.


Volunteers

If you are planning to volunteer for any events throughout the school year, please read below and complete the necessary steps.

St. John’s Lutheran Primary School appreciates the invaluable contributions made by volunteers within our school community. Whether it’s assisting in the classroom, on excursions, during P&F activities, or at sporting carnivals, your involvement enriches the teaching and learning experiences of our students. We are deeply grateful for your support.

To ensure the safety of our students and to comply with student protection and Work Health and Safety legislation, there are certain requirements that must be met before commencing a volunteering role.

Blue Card Requirements

Please see below blue card requirements. Volunteers will only be required to provide one of the options below based on their relationship to the child. This will be provided to the school during the volunteer induction (see next section).

Parents and/or Volunteers under 18 (e.g. Sibling)

  • Restricted Person Declaration Form
  • Valid Blue Card (Volunteer or Paid)
  • Exemption Card

Grandparents & other relatives (not including parents)

  • Valid Blue Card (Volunteer or Paid)
  • Exemption Card

Volunteer Induction

Please complete the following form, and a member of our administration team will contact you to provide access to our Volunteer Induction: https://forms.office.com/r/3WjUHuAh2Q

This training should take no more than 1 hour and must be completed before commencing as a volunteer at St. John’s. Your training will remain valid until the conclusion of the school year.

 

Blessings

Jocelyn Bakker

Principal