Adventist educators and chaplains in New Zealand celebrated a successful biennial conference over the weekend of June 8-10.
More than 160 delegates attended the three-day Primary and Secondary Adventist Educators and Chaplains Conference at the Holiday Inn in Auckland. Highlights included presentations by the keynote speakers: Pastor Adam Ramdin, youth director of the North UK Conference, and Avondale lecturers Paul Bogacs and Dr Peter Kilgour.
The conference theme was based on the word “Re-align” and emphasised the importance of constantly re-examining the direction, values and practice in Adventist education. With a current emphasis on discipleship and wellbeing, this was considered particularly important.
During the weekend, the chaplains from each school underwent training in mental health first aid and received certification from the Manukau District Health Board. This brief but comprehensive training included specific instruction in recognising and dealing with students who exhibit complex social or behavioural patterns that challenge school routines.
New Plymouth church pastor Bruce Mason said this information would truly enrich his ministry at the local Adventist school.
Tamar Aiono, assistant principal of Longburn Adventist College, summarised the general feeling that this had been the most valuable conference of its type in recent times. Mr Bogacs’ presentations were particularly affirming and empowering of teachers, she said.
Teangi Glasgow, from Balmoral Seventh-day Adventist School, was thrilled with Dr Kilgour’s practical approach. She said Pastor Ramdin was also very practical in his presentations on the purpose and distinctive direction of Adventist Education.
There were additional presentations on AdSAFE (Ann Wooldridge) and the LiveMore Project (Geraldine Pryzbylko).
Dan Carrasco, associate director of Education for the New Zealand Pacific Union Conference and overall coordinator of the program, re-emphasised the importance of conferences such as this in promoting a unified vision and purpose for the ministry of teaching in this region.