Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Beacon Gives Back

This article, written by journalist Laura Konyndyk, was featured in the OACS (Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools) newsletter  The original article can be seen here
For many, Black Friday marks the start of a frenzied, consumerist driven Christmas season. The pressure to buy more stuff for less money is everywhere: On billboards, in magazine advertisements and in the lyrics of radio jingles. Amid crowded parking lots and chaotic shopping malls the simple joy of finding the right gift often evades us.
At Beacon Christian School (BCS) in St. Catharines students are taking an alternative, and more inspiring approach to the season.
“Part of what we try to do at Beacon Christian School is to immerse our students in a different story,” wrote the school’s principal, Ralph Pot, in a recent blog post. “A story that not only asks and tells students to live thankfully, but gives them opportunity to do so.”
It’s an attitude that BCS students modelled with grace and intentionality last November.
candy+caneAfter looking at the theme of “servant working”, multi-grade small groups made efforts to share their presence and their gifts with the school’s surrounding community.

Two groups brought warm cups of Tim Hortons coffee to homes in the neighbourhood. Others made and delivered cards to children at the nearby hospital, and to residents at a local retirement home.
“We know some of the elderly people there,” said Lauren, a BCS student. “They were really excited about us giving them coffee. It was really fun just helping out our neighbours across the street with what we could do.”
Groups also gave out candy canes to community members waiting in line at the Ministry of Transportation licensing office and to shoppers at Giant Tiger.
Although community members were a bit suspicious at first, their demeanours changed when they realized students weren’t out selling a product.
“They had big smiles and grateful words,” said BCS Teacher, Lisa Vanderkuip, adding that the people who received free coffees were also very excited.
Interactions were enjoyable on both sides. Students were “surprised and delighted by the reactions they received,” noted Vanderkuip.
Although these moments of connection were an unexpected reward for BCS students, the experience was about more than passing along a few warm fuzzies.
In the advent season especially, members of the school will be encouraged to have “servant hearts” as they reach out to the people in their community “who need to see and experience the love of God,” explained Vanderkuip.
“We can’t just talk about what it looks like,” she noted. “We wanted our students to see the many opportunities they have daily for servant working.”
And, certainly, these are opportunities that exist beyond classroom walls.
“It’s kind of fun to go out and do stuff for public people—not just Christians,” noted Evan, a BCS student who helped hand out candy canes at Giant Tiger. “Being in a small community can be fun but going larger can sometimes be ten times better.”
Lauren was quick to chime in with agreement. “We talk about in chapel how we need to be a movement of our community … your actions are a lot stronger than your words.”
“Our whole entire stereo type of Christmas to the world is about Santa Claus, and presents and we want this and we want that and ponies and hot wheels, and all that stuff. And really, at Beacon, what we focus on is the true meaning of Christmas— giving and Jesus—and what He did for us.”
students outsideFor Lauren, and for many students at BCS, celebrating the season’s “true meaning” has also been an exercise in simply being present. At the end of the day it’s about “showing people that we care for them,” she said, “and that we’re here”.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Idolatry Discerning

Pot’s Pondering
There are times when I think there is a whole lot more going on around us than we realize. I'm not talking specifically about the "busy-ness" of the season, but more about the presence of God in and around us at all times. 

This time of year I am always struck by the story of the Magi - three wise men from the east, who seemed to know something about what God was up to in the world, despite having no apparent connection to the "God of Israel - Yahweh". In the book of Matthew we read about how they followed a star to Bethlehem, and were certain that someone of cosmic significance was being born. So they started to ask around, "Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the East and have come to worship him." (Matthew 2:2).

How did the foreign, pagan Magi know and not the regular citizens of Judea? The farmers, merchants, priests, and innkeepers were oblivious to the work of God going on around them. How did they not see the incredible, earth changing things that were taking place, just as the prophets had foretold? Perhaps they were consumed with their own lives, worries, concerns, and schedules to consider that God may be at work in and through them.

As we go about the "busy-ness" of the Christmas season, may we all be in tune with the Spirit, seeking the Christ-child, prepared to worship Him. It is our hope at school that your children will come to know Jesus as the reason for the season.

Our theme for this month's chapels is "Idol-Discerning". We had 2 groups of students lead us in worship through drama and song:

Then students were split into their gift groups. Using the cans of fruit and tuna that the students brought in, they had to work together to make a shape that had something to do with winter. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

God-worshipping Project

By Mr. Kok

Last week Thursday Jeremy,Colton, and Chloe taught a grade four class for two math periods. The grade four's had a blast! Based on their current unit Jeremy,Colton, and Chloe came up with about seven questions for the kids to figure out. At this school we try and teach our students as best as possible about God and how to God worship. Jeremy,Colton, and Chloe have done this very well by helping the kids when they needed help, using their math skills to assist the other children just as Jesus did, and making the two periods they had with the children the most fun periods of their day. Just like in the parable of the Ten Talents, when you use your talents to help others you're God worshipping!

Today, our class went to a creek across from Christine's house for her God- worshipping project. We had a scavenger hunt and drank hot chocolate while enjoying God's creation. We saw the beautiful scenery and the animals that were living there. We had a great time and we were so grateful to witness God's priceless creation.

Mark and Evan presented how they see soccer players worship God and how they themselves, as soccer players, can worship God.

Daphne, Adam and Sam used their artistic talents to worship God. Adam and Sam created a mural reminding the student body about the real meaning of Christmas.

Daphne showed God-worshipping showed an art piece on Elijah and the contest.

Lauren presented a speech on how worship is prevalent in all cultures, and yet takes different forms depending on the culture's predominate intelligence.

Jake and Blake used their technology talents to create a video game about God-worshipping. Blake created a video game reminding student of how tough it was for Jesus to go into hell to save us from our sins, and Jake created a video game to idol discerning through the ages.

Emily, Marlee and Leone used technology to create videos and photo collages on nature can inspire us to worship God.

Winsten used his verbal/linguistic gift to read the book of Hebrews to the class as his act of worship while Mayke used her interpersonal skills to lead us in a devotion of how to worship God in the hard times.


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Decade Day 2014

Last week we had Decade Day as a Spirit Day at Beacon. 
Can you tell what decade each class is from?

Sunday, 30 November 2014


Each morning, our classes share devotions together to start the day. 
On Friday, our Grade 7 students led morning devotions in other classrooms throughout the school. The students had to prepare a devotion with a reinforcing activity. 

One devotion was about thinking before speaking and another about gossip. In both groups, the students were then asked to try and put toothpaste that had been squeezed out back into the tube. While some of it could be put back, not all of the spilled toothpaste could be returned. In the same way, the damage made by gossip or unkind words cannot be undone.

Another group shared a devotion about arguing and forgiveness. A dime was put in some water and pepper was sprinkled over the top so you could no longer see the dime. The coin represented the heart and the pepper, the sin. Then a drop of dish detergent was added and the pepper dissipated to the edges so you could once again see the coin. This signified asking for forgiveness and making the heart clean again. 

A fifth group had a devotion about telling the truth, based on the story of the damaged relationship of Jacob and Esau. The activity the students had to do was to try and cover a quarter in a bucket of water with pennies. More pennies are needed to try to cover that quarter. The students were reminded that lies are like that. More and more lies are needed to cover the first lie and it is impossible to keep up.

Another group had a devotion on exclusion and used a spiderweb to reinforce this lesson. The final group shared a devotion on sharing. 

We are thankful for the leadership we find in and among our student body!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Servant Workers in Action

Pot’s Ponderings
Thursday is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. When I lived there I was always amazed at the sheer size and scope of Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. It is common for the Thanksgiving Day weekend to be the busiest travel period of the year. It has no equal among holidays observed in the U.S. - not even Christmas or the 4th of July match the hype of an American Thanksgiving.

We see the hype from a distance in Canada. We see the football and TV ads and glitzy Black Friday ads. I’ve seen the following on social media lately, “Only in America, people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.” This is a funny and poignant quote, but it also provides opportunity for all of us to consider how the absurdities that we may see in others, are likely just as prevalent in us.

Part of what we try to do at Beacon Christian School is to immerse our students in a different story. A story that not only asks and tells students to live thankfully, but gives them opportunity to do so.

Today in chapel our students were split into their multi-age GIFT groups. Our theme for the month is servant-working, so each group completed one activity that embodies serving others.

First, our Gr. 8 class shared a skit on servant working:

Then, the GIFT groups split up and were off. Two groups bought and delivered Tim Horton's coffee to our neighbours. There were some surprised and happy faces who opened the doors of their homes to find our students there to give them warm coffee. 

Several groups made cards. Some made cards to deliver to clients of Community Care. They will be delivered with the food items that we are collecting for the next few weeks. 


Two groups made cards for a local retirement home that will be delivered later 
with some home made cookies.

JK made cards for our librarian and caretaker. 

One group gave out candy canes to people shopping in Giant Tiger, waiting in the MTO licensing office and workers at the local garage. They had to be brave and step outside their comfort zone. They also delivered candy canes to the international school sharing our property. 



Two groups raked and picked up leaves on our playground to help our maintenance man.

Another group made cards for children in the hospital. 

Our memory verse from Matthew this month:  ...whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—  just as the Son of Mandid not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. encourages us as we continue to look for opportunities to serve others in big and small ways, in order to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Remembrance Day - Pot's Ponderings

This morning our children in grades JK-6 participated in a meaningful chapel regarding Remembrance Day. It was wonderful to see such a large group of parents in attendance.
Our students in grades 7-8 attended the service at the St. Catharines Cenotaph.

It is good to take time to remember lives that were too quickly taken during war. It is also important to be thankful that we live in a country that is law-abiding, peaceful, and free. 

We ended our chapel with the singing of O Canada! As is custom at Beacon, when we sing O Canada!, we are sure to sing this accompanying verse:

Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,
Hold our Dominion, in thy loving care.
Help us to find, O God, in thee,
A lasting rich reward.
As waiting for the better day,
We ever stand on guard.
God keep our land, glorious and free.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

Even though we are "waiting for the better day", we have much to be thankful for today

Monday, 10 November 2014

Grade 8 Leadership - A Blog Post by Grade 8

We have seen many many examples of leadership in our own class and around the school in the last week from our Grade 8's. 

Some grade 8's lead the Grades 4,5 in art activities for 5 recesses. 

Some grade 8's are running a soccer baseball intramurals for Grade 1,2...

 and others ran a pingpong tournament for the Grade 7/8s last week - congratulations to Christine who is our winner!!

 Others helped Mrs. Boks get 20 ipads ready for her presentation at the convention. Finally, our last group is already organizing for a November Spirit Day.

 It is wonderful to see these leadership gifts get used around the school.