100 Years of Adventist Education at Stanborough School
12th July 2019
The weekend of 6-7 July saw crowds of over 1500 people coming together in recognition of something very special within the British Union Conference (BUC). This year 2019 marked the centenary year (1919-2019) of Stanborough Primary and Secondary School. To mark this special occasion two events were planned, a Sabbath service held on the Stanborough Park grounds under a marquee, followed by a family fun and recreation day held on the Sunday. Both well-planned events proved to be well supported not only by the Adventist membership but visitors from within the local community.
The Sabbath service saw higher than expected attendance with all 700 seats within the marquee taken and the welcomed task of having to create more seating on the outside. The morning's proceedings began with opening remarks and welcome from Judy Clements (Chair of Governors for Stanborough Secondary School) acknowledging the unique and significant moment of Adventist Education in the British Isles. After a 'walk through history' highlighting the past 100 years in picture form, Acting Head for Stanborough Secondary School, Eileen Hussey in her mission report, shared the important values that underpinned the ethos of the School and how its missional outlook has sought to make a positive impact in the life of each pupil.
The morning service planned in a creative way saw intermittent praise and worship, with greetings from the General Conference Education director, Dr Lisa Beardsley-Hardy and Peter Taylor, Mayor of Watford. Angelika Horwood, Co-Headteacher for Stanborough Primary School led out in the children's story with Heather Hanna whose father, Ivor Margerison, played an instrumental role in the development of Stanborough Secondary School when serving as headteacher.
A representative of SEC Pathfinders led in a procession during the dedication ceremony, which saw the cutting of the ribbon by Peter Taylor and the dedicatory prayer given by South England Conference President Dr Emmanuel Osei.
Musical items were provided by the Stanborough Secondary School Orchestra and Stanborough Primary School Junior Choir. The main speaker for the day was Dr Daniel Duda, (Trans-European Division Education Director) who spoke on the people of 'The Book', that provides a story to help us see the complexities of life and allows us to understand the principles behind it to allow us to think outside of the box, to reflect, serve better and help change the community.
With the day being bright and sunny the Park provided the perfect setting for lunch which was prepared for all by the BUC Treasurer Earl Ramharacksingh and his committed team of volunteers.
The afternoon segment of the day saw various items taken by the children of Stanborough Secondary and Primary School which included, songs, poems, drama and instrumental music. Incoming BUC Education director Gina Abbequaye shared a vision for Adventist Education. She spoke of the endless possibilities that can be achieved when home, school and church work together, "we produce children who would, accept God as their Creator… true Adventist Education is not limited to the four walls of the school building… now more than ever there is a need for Adventist education," she exclaimed.
The closing vote of thanks was presented by Eileen Hussey and Angelika Horwood, where amongst many who were acknowledged, Kerrine Guthrie, who led the overall planning and coordination of the event.
The next day, despite the morning rain the weather turned out to be quite pleasant for the fun day which attracted several hundred people throughout the afternoon.
The weekend proved to be hugely successful considering the many challenges that Adventist Education within the British Isles has faced within the past 100 years. The Adventist schools have prevailed and continues to be a major contributor within the Union in helping prepare children for the kingdom and effective citizens in the community.
However, like most other faith schools today, there are real challenges that lie ahead and if our Adventist schools are to continue in providing an education based on high levels of intellectual and spiritual standards they will need the support of the membership at large and within the entire structure of the Church to ensure it will thrive both now and well into the future under the motto 'Dominus Magister Ludi Nostri' – God is the Master of our School.
[Richard Daly - Photos Costa Vaggas and Theo Guthrie]