It was to be the last Summer School in Blenheim. Having been there for years it was finally time to say good bye to all the things we’ve enjoyed over years. No more picnic tea at Pollard Park. No more Onamalutu. No more suppers in the new gym. No more leaking roof in the dorms. But you know, they were all the things that helped make it so great, and this time was no different.
Once again we were blessed with a wonderful spirit and visitors from around the world, from Australia to as far afield as the UK, as we joined together for fellowship around the Word.
Bro Carl Parry from the Salisbury Ecclesia in Adelaide, Australia delivered a rousing set of studies on the first 6 chapters of the prophecy of Zechariah. It was one of the last major prophecies given to the returning Jewish exiles, and they were words that were able to penetrate the heart and motives of these people and galvanise them into building the house of God.
We got to grips with the glory of prophecy from the smallest interpretation to the great sweep of the Divine hand, exploring the significance of each vision both in relation to ourselves and to the generation which laboured in the work of God and discovering the amazing power of the symbols and the dramas that were enacted before the prophet.
From looking forward we went to looking back as we studied the Old Testament through the eyes and pen of the Apostle Paul with our Brother Philip Alderson from the Nelson Ecclesia. While many of us struggle with the writing of Paul, seeing the Old Testament influences of his writing allowed us a greater understanding of the man, and of a mind steeped in the Word.
We got to sit alongside Paul the master teacher, to observe how he came to understand his Bible, to hear his explanations of the Old Testament and the commentary he provided his readers; in essence, to try to read Scripture as he read it. Paul's life was shaped by both Scripture and the risen Christ and he gave an excellent example of a Bible reader for us to follow.
This year our sessions were designed around the theme Praise ye Yah, knowing that there are increasing challenges to our faith, For this school we took to hand the subject of praise, particularly as it relates to the Christianisation of our praise and the increasingly rapid erosion of acceptable praise.
We began with what the Scriptures tell us about why we should praise God, and what examples it gives us of right and wrong praise, and the principles we can learn and use to understand the difference.
We then looked at the case study of Asaph who stands as an incredible example of how to maintain the spirit and practice of praise in our lives, even when others might be joining with all kinds of practices. We looked at what made this family so special, and how they managed to continue in the face of idolatry, opposition and apathy.
For last two studies we turned to music, unpacking the foundations that help us choose some music over others, looking at the basis of music, its intent, lyrics and the music itself to help us stay focused on acceptable praise.
Noah provided the subject matter for our first session at Junior School this year, and there was enough activity in craft with pasting and cutting and colouring and drawing and sticking and designing and unstacking and re-sticking to keep the children happy for 120 years. The children learned how one man stayed faithful when all around him was wicked, and how this is important for us today.
For the second session, the children experience Life in the Roman Empire as soldiers, slaves and believers, understanding the times of the Roman Empire and how our Brethren of old lived.
For the teenage sessions Bro Rob Oosthuizen led the first session on Kings and Priests, and took the group through exploring the God-given responsibilities of Kings and Priests with a view to understanding our present and future 'job descriptions' as a royal priesthood and holy nation to God.
Bro Carl Parry led the second session on the extraordinary man, book and prophecies of Daniel. From nobility to captive to nobility again, the teenagers were shown a remarkable story of faith, understanding, and the power of God.
As with previous years, the children delighted us all with a wonderful afternoon of warmth and laughter in the Junior School afternoon.
As this was our last year in Blenheim it was with some sadness that we went to our activities, knowing that we’d never again come to Onamalutu or Pollard Park, but enjoying them nevertheless.
The children were treated to an unexpected fire drill, assembling perfectly on the tennis courts while the fire brigade turned out in full force to check the building, and then congratulated the junior School for their excellent evacuation in a highlight of the school.
Our thanks go to the many hands which laboured for many hours to bring the School to fruition, and to our Heavenly Father for blessing us with such a wonderful school.