Despite not being physically present, it has been a busy and exciting week at Lowther Hall. Staff and students alike have been buzzing with the excitement generated by the Lowther Literary Festival and we have been privileged to have a number of author visits and special events to inspire and foster a love of reading within our community. I have been struck by the reality that whilst it can sometimes feel quite isolating as we all remain in our own COVID-19 “bubbles” we are still able to engage with the broader community in ways that are very enriching. Another example of this was the visit of Samantha Ratnam, Leader of the Victorian Greens, which was organised by our School Captain, Amanda Thompson. Many Senior School students attended this online lunchtime Q and A and I was impressed with the thoughtful manner in which the girls asked their questions and responded to Samantha’s insights on the topic of sustainability and climate, issues about which many of them are passionate. Our girls are keen to understand their world and in Senior School a number of them were troubled by the news coverage in recent weeks of the situation in Afghanistan. They approached the Student Representative Council to collate questions they would like answered and Ms Healy and I presented an assembly for them in response to these, at the start of the week. The Collisson Centre – the Senior School arm of the Lowther Libraries – has curated resources for the girls to access and I encourage you to speak to your daughter (if she is of an appropriate age) about what they have read or understood. A number of girls asked for specific direction about how we could support people in Afghanistan, and again, we have shared some resources with them that have come through some of our partner organisations, such as Anglican Overseas Aid. School Council member and long-time friend of the School, Bishop Philip Huggins, has also shared some information which has come through the World Council of Churches, of which he is President. In particular, he has shared this prayer, which in the context of our Anglican school, seems an appropriate response for us to make.
Ms Elisabeth Rhodes
Prayer for Afghanistan
O God of mercy and of peace,
We hold before you the peoples of Afghanistan.
Be living bread to those who are hungry each day
Be healing and wholeness to those who have no access to health care amidst the ravages of pandemic
Be their true home to all who have been displaced
Be open arms of loving acceptance to those who fear because of their gender, ethnicity, religious or political views
Be peace to those engaged in armed conflict and those who live within its shadow.
Turn our hearts and minds to your ways of just and gentle peace,
Open our eyes to see you in all acts of compassionate care
Strengthen our hearts to step out in solidarity with your suffering people and
Hold us all in your unfailing love.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who emptied himself of all but love in order to bring life in all its fullness.
© Ramani Leathard (Christian Aid, a fellow ACT Alliance Member)