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The worship style St. John is known for with biblically-sound real life messages, band and vocal music that enhance worship and the message while maintaining a focus on the sacred and encouraging you on your LIFEjourney with Christ.

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Showing items filed under “March 2014”

March 2014

Happy Spring, St. John Families!

St. John School remains committed to our mission: “To equip young people through an excellent Christian education to be courageous servants of Christ in a changing world.” God has blessed our school with abundant resources, including devoted teachers and dedicated parents, to fulfill our calling and continue improving how we reach children for Christ and teach them for life.

As March came into view, we had an eye to re-enrollment outcomes. We celebrate the incredibly strong validation of our mission in the elementary grades. With minor exceptions due to job transfers or economic pressures, families not only re-registered their children but began taking up the call to be invitational so we could add a few more children and their parents to our larger school family. Hallelujah!

The middle school re-enrollment numbers did not fare quite as well. The most notable attrition is occurring after 6th grade. This has been a trend for some time now. Realizing that, I set out to give the middle school focused attention right away. Over the past several months, we aimed at improving programs and curriculum so that we are providing an excellent high school preparatory education that competes in the market place alongside other middle school options. We intend to be a place where students want to finish strong, taking up the mantle of Christian leadership that positions them to step out into the changing world with courage. Using your feedback from previous years, some of those areas of focused attention have been:

  • Ensuring that the objectives of House activities and points are positive rather than punitive.
  • Implementing a hands-on, inquiry-based science curriculum that aligns with national Next Generation Standards for the instruction of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) concepts so that students are actively doing science rather than passively hearing about it.
  • Instituting a student-centered approach to documenting the learning process through portfolios that became an evidentiary component of Student Progress Conferences, allowing students to set goals and more intentionally partner with their teachers and parents to attain those goals.
  • Solidifying best-practice integration of technology across the curriculum with research-based movement toward Bring Your Own Device as well as a Learning Management System which will streamline access to grading rubrics and assignments as well as facilitate effective communication and broaden the dynamic possibilities for student collaboration.
  • Starting a Robotics Club, open to middle school and soon-to-be middle school students.
  • Having an administrator and technology coordinator consistently available for middle school team meetings, classroom observations and teacher mentoring.

Mr. Osbourn and/or I contacted families known to be uncertain or already enrolled elsewhere. During those conversations we welcomed honest input about how we can further strengthen our program and potentially avoid such attrition. We learned that most feel St. John has provided both a tremendous faith and academic foundation. Those same families who love St. John School acknowledged feeling pressured to get their child acclimated socially, academically and/or athletically into a high school setting. We listened for any common threads and heard perceptions that are important for us to examine as we continually seek to improve and move our school forward. We want the experience at each grade level to impel you as a family to stay and build on that through 8th grade graduation.

The enrollment numbers for 7th and 8th grade cause us to re-evaluate our distribution of resources. We explored several options for structural change, including what it might look like to have our 5th grade be self-contained rather than rotational. After prayerful consideration of how to best serve students, while limiting budget deficits, we established a structure that leaves the rotational model, House system, electives, class trips and other aspects that are hallmarks of our middle school program intact.

What has not changed within the New Middle School Structure?

  • We will maintain the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) standards for weekly minutes of instruction in all core and encore subject areas.
  • Grade level Math as well as the opportunity to advance will be maintained, allowing students to progress at their rate of learning and be challenged appropriately.
  • Students will continue taking Spanish through 6th grade, with the option to elect into high school preparatory Spanish as 7th and 8th graders, providing a firm foreign language foundation so critically important in today’s world.
  • Students will continue in Fine Arts all the way through their middle school years.
  • Students will continue in Physical Education all the way through their middle school years.
  • Students will have a seminar period for contact time with teachers beyond the classroom.
  • Portfolios will be developed to enhance student ownership of the learning process.
  • Students will rotate to subject area specialists for each class.

What has changed?

  • There will be one 7th grade homeroom and one 8th grade homeroom.
  • One part-time teacher position and two full-time teacher positions will be vacated as unnecessary due to less demand.
  • One specialized Social Studies teacher will provide instruction for all students in grades 5-8.
  • One specialized Science teacher will provide instruction for all students in grades 5-8.
  • Religion instruction will be consolidated under one specialized teacher. Other middle school teachers will have full teaching loads within their subject areas. Each and every teacher will still pray daily with his/her students and consistently model Christian values. One of the benefits of a dedicated religion teacher is the potential for more robust student leadership in service mission projects, especially for our 7th and 8th graders.
  • The Assistant Principal and Educational Technology Coordinator will re-enter the classroom part time in areas of their expertise.

 

As you reflect on this change and its relevance for your child(ren), please keep our work in your prayers. I am confident that God has great things in store for our school. If you have a desire to delve further into the specifics of this change, you may do so in two ways:

  1. Visit the school website for an FAQ that addresses this change in more detail.
  2. Attend one of two open forums on the topic offered the evening of Monday, April 7 at 6:45pm or the morning of Tuesday, April 8 at 8:15am. Both sessions will run about 45 minutes in length and will convene in the school library.

I look forward to seeing you at the Spring Fling School Auction on April 4. It is the most significant single opportunity to support the school financially while spending an evening in fellowship with other St. John families and friends.

In Christ’s love,

Heidi Hays

Principal, St. John School

Posted by Heidi Hays with

Let It Be

The song has a simple almost childish lyric. But its simple refrain haunts your soul like fog covering still water. “Let it be, let it be.”

“When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom; let it be”

The famous Beatles’ song was released in 1970, one year after their Abbey Road Album set new distribution records. The lyrics were born out of the acrimony that had developed in the group since their formation in 1960. The constant touring, recording, and unequalled success had taken its toll on the foursome.

Their first appearance in America came in February of 1964. Two days after their arrival in New York, they sang on the Ed Sullivan show. Seventy-three million fans watched their performance—the largest TV audience ever to view live television. But by 1970, the thrill was gone. Each of the four had a different idea of life’s priorities. By the late ‘60s their recordings were no longer done as a live ensemble, “overdubbing” their part while listening to the others via recording.

Paul determined the best way to restore the magic and overcome their disagreements were to return to their roots though live performance and even a tour. The song “Let It Be,” summed up his aspirations for their reconciliation. But it was not to be. To be sure, out of conflict some beautiful music was created, the titles of which gave insight into the tension they were experiencing—songs like, “Get Back,” “Don’t Let Me Down,” and “The Long and Winding Road.” But the fame, the stress, the drugs, and the divergent personalities of the group stood in the way. “Let It Be,” was first recorded in 1968 and underwent several revisions before its final release May 8, 1970…roughly a month after Paul regretfully announced his decision to leave the group.

There is a Scripture that says, “Inasmuch as it is possible with you, live at peace will all people.” (Romans 12:18) Admittedly you don’t hold all the cards. Others must agree, and in their mind there may be things about you or about a given circumstance that cannot be overcome. For example, the apostle Paul could not reconcile himself to John Mark’s abandoning their first missionary efforts in Pamphlylia. When Barnabas wanted Paul and John to kiss and make up, Paul was willing to forgive his actions but unwilling to take him on another tour. Their group divided with Paul and Silas going one direction and Barnabas and John Mark going another.

Maybe you’ve experienced a similar break-up in your life. In the Old Testament, King Saul had disappointed the Lord so often that God was no longer willing to risk trusting him again. The prophet Samuel was heartbroken and felt some responsibility in the matter. What might he have done? What could he have said? What difference could he have made to maintain the humility of Saul and ward off Saul’s growing arrogance? But God said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

God always forgives. God is always willing to restore every sinner who repents. But forgiveness doesn’t mean every relationship can go back to square one. In the Biblical discussion of marriage and divorce in 1 Corinthians 7, Paul urges Christians to make every effort to maintain their unity. Even in marriages between believers and nonbelievers the Lord urges solidarity for the sake of witness saying, “Do not separate on the basis of faith… for the unbeliever my come to faith through their believing spouse and it may make the essential difference in the faith of your children.” (paraphrased) But the Lord also adds, “Yet, if the unbelieving one leaves, let them leave. The Christian is not bound in such cases, for the Lord has called us to peace.”

The Lord has called us to peace. Peace. Not ongoing acrimony. There is life to be lived. Work to be done. Work that cannot be accomplished if you are constantly entangled in emotional trauma. But allow no room for hatred, revenge, or lack of forgiveness. Bitter, hateful people create hell on earth for themselves and others. Just let it be. The Bible puts it this way;

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3)

The Beatles set it to music when, through broken hearts, they sang their swan song;

And when all the brokenhearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be

For though they may be parted
There is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Yeah, there will be an answer; let it be.

Give it a listen.


The Scripture

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

  • Who comes to mind? Who do you need to forgive?
  • What action could you take to bring peace?
  • Why does peace with God through faith in Jesus impact peace between people?

Survey

How well do you get along with others?

A. I’m not proud of my record.
B. I’m a peacemaker by nature.
C. I need to make it a greater priority in my life.

Click here to take the survey and take a moment to leave a thought or opinion.


Online

If you were unable to attend services last weekend and would like to listen to the message, visit our homepage at www.stjstl.net and click on Media at the top right of the web page. Growing Deeper, a Bible study, written to accompany the message series is also available to download.


Live Stream

St. John Church live streams Sunday services at 9:00am and 10:45am. Join us!


A Prayer

Lord, You know I am imperfect in every way. Give me a gracious heart, O God. Help me look past the hurt that I often feel from others and hold compassion in my heart for them. Help me to love my friends and my enemies better. Help me to be more and more like you. Help me to realize that my own behavior and my response to any given situation holds the key to ongoing hostilities or that lack thereof. Provide in my heart, “the peace that surpasses all understanding.” Help me to “let it be.” Amen.


Brief Notes

  • Midweek Services continue April 2-April 9 at 7:00pm. Join us for Watching Jesus as we walk with those who watched Him, up close and personal.
  • If you know a 4th or 5th grader, let them know about Friday Frenzie on March 28. It’s an evening of fun and games for only $5. Find out all the details.
  • For only $25, you can help provide Easter dinner for a family in need. Drop off your filled bag through Sunday, April 6.

Stephen Hower, Pastor

Challenging the status quo to awaken an appreciation for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Phil. 3:13,14
(and to lower my golf score)

   

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Posted by Stephen Hower with

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