“Deep Peace.”

I recently had the privilege of being one of the members of staff representing Peter Moyes Anglican Community School at the annual Anglican Schools Australia conference in Sydney. Chairs of Council, Principals, senior staff, as well as Chaplains attend this conference. Each year, there is a conference theme that is explored by distinguished keynote speakers. 

The theme of the 2018 Conference was “Deep Peace”. Drawing inspiration from the Gaelic blessing of the same name, we considered whether “deep peace” is possible in the complex and chaotic contemporary world that our students, staff and parents experience. This blessing calls us to a place of peace in a world where there are a significant number of profound questions. It calls for “deep peace” to be known not just in times of stillness but also amidst the often vitriolic disagreements that we have with our fellow humans. The need and ability to “disagree well” was one of the themes of the conference. 

One keynote speaker highlighted the fact that tolerance is a core concern for millennials. However, student culture around the world, in tandem with its passion for justice and equality, displays a growing intolerance of disagreement. We all know how to respect those whose opinions we admire, or whose worldviews we share. But what does it mean to respect those with whom we are in profound dispute? In short, what does it mean to ‘disagree well’? We see an increasing lack of this ability to disagree well in our society and in our universities. The trend is to deny the platform of free speech to those with whom we disagree. 

Another keynote speaker highlighted of the need for ‘deep gratitude’ in the context of education, bringing our communities to a more powerful and transformative sense of this ‘giant of a term.’ Those who live with gratitude are often comfortable ‘in their own skin’, and as such experience the ‘deep peace’ of the Gaelic blessing. 

Ultimately, I believe, this deep counter-cultural peace is to be found in the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ. This message underpins the Christian Ethos of our Anglican Schools. St Paul wrote this in his letter to the Christians of the city of Philippi:

“6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 4: 6-7)

My prayer for you all is that you may experience this ‘peace that surpasses understanding’ in your busy and complex daily lives.

God bless!

Reverend Dave