Commissioned as the new Principal of MECS

On Sunday 25th February, I was commissioned as the new Principal of MECS and this was my response at the commissioning…

It’s a big deal, isn’t it, to take on any job of responsibility? To me, it doesn’t matter if that job is to be the person in charge of the local IGA or the young person on the checkout or the guy that balances the tomatoes in the fresh produce section. If you’re the crossing lady on York Road or the person who waters the plants at Kuranga or the local police sergeant, we all hold positions of responsibility that are unique to our gifts and we have an added responsibility, as followers of Jesus, to do that job to bring Him glory. That’s why we exist; to love God and serve Him, enjoy Him, forever. 

It is very special to be embraced into the covenantal community of MECS as the leader. I have long been in partnership with MECS as a parent and as an association member. It is a great privilege to now be the Principal of the school and I am humbled and a little bit terrified at the task. 

In my address to staff some weeks ago, I noted the following:

I have the privilege of knowing and having worked with all your previous Principals.

  • Jack Mechielsen – I worked with Jack when he was the Chair of Christian Education National board. I’m not Jack, but I valued his passion for Christian Education and his no nonsense approach to the importance of Christian schools.
  • Stewart Miller – I worked with Stewart when he was the Executive Principal here at MECS. I’m not Stewart, but I valued his passion for the word and his ability to share the word through stories. It’s very special that you are here, Stewart. 
  • Martin Hanscamp – I worked with Martin when he was working in youth work and then when he was Principal of MECS. Later I worked with him through CEN and AACS. I’m not Martin but I valued his creativity and faithfulness right to the end, to see teachers grow in their craft. He was a dear friend and I miss him so much.
  • Paul Oldman – Paul was acting Principal for a year. I worked with Paul when we were both in the Senior School here (for a short time). I’m not Paul, but I valued his love for MECS and his care for the students.
  • Narelle Sketcher – I worked with Narelle in the Senior School and then on many projects through CEN. I’m not Narelle, but I valued her fun, friendship, joy, creativity and ability to articulate and discern the stories that we live out of and her ability to point us back to the biblical story. I can’t step into her shoes because she has much bigger feet than me and her shoes are far more fabulous than mine will ever be. I honour her hard work and dedication and I know that many of you will miss her very much. Fortunately, she will not be a stranger to us, as she is now consulting for CEN. 

I am ready for my story, entwined with God’s story, to be a part of the next chapter of the MECS story. It’s not always going to be smooth sailing, it’s going to be rough at times, it’s going to be hilarious at other times (I’ve already managed to come to school on one day with my dress inside out). I’m going to let people down, I’m going to make mistakes, but I’m also going to be as faithful as I can be. 

A good friend of MECS, and a world renown Christian educator, Dr Doug Blomberg wrote in one of his wonderful books, A Vision with a Task: 

“As responsive disciples of Jesus Christ, Christians live between memory and vision. Our lives in the present occupy that thin slice of time between the past and the future, between the establishment of God’s kingdom (with Christ’s atoning sacrifice) and its completion (with His imminent return). Through God’s grace we may erect signposts for that kingdom…” 

We do this, by “passing on the story and the world view of our tradition”, we “discern the spirits of our time” and we “are guided by our vision of a new and better world, the kingdom of God” and we teach, guide and direct out of that vision. Doug reminds us that WE have the privilege in community of “unwrapping the gifts that God has given us, sharing each other’s burdens and working for shalom”.

That’s my ongoing plan for MECS, building on the work of those that have faithfully gone before me. 

  • We will discern, reveal, nurture and celebrate the gifts of our staff and our students. 
  • We will share in each other’s burdens in pastoral and restorative ways.
  • And we will work towards God’s peace, His shalom, and His Kingdom to come.

We live in challenging, yet I believe, exciting times. MECS has a bright future to continue to be a signpost to the world of the kingdom to come. I suspect our need to be signposts will only increase as we offer an alternate story to the story the world offers. This will take hard work, creativity, commitment to partnership and loads of prayer. What a wonderful privilege it is, to seek the Kingdom of God, through the sphere of education. 

I thank you for your support and trust. Please continue to hold MECS in your prayers.

Michelle Demspey: MECS Principal

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