It’s been an unusual couple of weeks around the world. Maybe unusual isn’t strong enough – for many it’s been a really rough couple of weeks. Many people are finding themselves facing unemployment or loss of income. Many are struggling to balance working at home and teaching kids all while being on lock-down. For some, the lock-down, the separation from support networks, and the change to routines puts pressure on their mental health. And, of course, there is the reality and the threat of serious health concerns which is likely to touch all of us in one way or another.
Late on Friday 13th, the staff were informed by their validating University to move all teaching online and so immediately the teaching team had to act to maintain some continuity for the following week (the photo above is of our first online devotions from March 18th). Just over a week later the campus was closed completely restricting access to resources but our acting Principal Lina Toth has worked tirelessly to negotiate access to a good range of online resources. We’re privileged. We’ve managed to continue almost without disruption albeit a couple of long weeks. We’re dispersed but not defeated. This is a far more hopeful situation than many people are experiencing.
If you’re reading, you’re probably invested in the College, so please spare a thought and a prayer for our students. Our students have been amazing – they’ve been patient with us as we’ve reacted and responded to the changing situation. They’ve helped one another with technology, sharing ideas on resources, and most importantly simply cared for one another. But the struggles mentioned above are all relevant to members of our community. Uncertainty over income, a draining balance of study and childcare, mental health challenges, and physical ill-health are all real issues for our students at the moment. It’s not easy and though we’ve supported one another, it doesn’t stop hard times being hard times.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.2 Corinthians 4:8-10
So we’re still open, we’re still community, we’re still learning. Our classes do go and will go on and we want to make contact with anyone who is hoping to study with us in September (you can email email@example.com if you’re interested). And in the next couple of weeks we’ll announce a Zoom-enabled Open Evening. So that’s where we find ourselves: supporting our students, resourcing our church, and praying for our world.