Dear BTI whanau,
As we come to the end of Term 3, we recognise the hard term we’ve all had. Just as we thought we were free of coronavirus we experienced a second wave and Auckland was put back into lockdown. Many people were starting to believe things could return to normal. Instead, we were left shaken, weary, and uncertain.
But we have learned a great deal. We have learned we’re not alone. In this country, we are in a team of five million. At BTI, we are in a team of over 400 faculty and students. In our team we find strength. In this unprecedented journey – for that is what it is – and in our witness to the One who is hope itself, we seek to be determined, resilient and hopeful too.
Yet, this journey is not behind us and for much of the rest of the world it is, tragically, getting worse.
In this Mental Health Awareness Week, we especially want to be aware of the least, the last and the lost. Each one of us can help in small ways, and in great. We can live lives marked by responsible action towards each other, care for the most vulnerable, and witness for the poor and disadvantaged who are suffering disproportionately.
As we come into a General Election and two referenda next month, we are keenly aware of divisions in our country. We celebrate that expressions of different ways of seeing the world are part and parcel of a well-functioning democracy, yet we also yearn for a country that walks humbly, loves mercy and does justly for all.
There is concern about those who have lost jobs, who are going hungry, who are losing homes and livelihoods. The poor, the elderly and isolated are especially vulnerable. There will be growing nervousness about whether there will be further ways of coronavirus, about mental health, and many other serious issues before us like child poverty, domestic violence, and high suicide rates.
We are called to be responsible, but we are also called to prophetic speech. Like the saints that have gone before us, we are called to speak for those who have no voice and against those who seek to render silence.
In this, we also all have a strong sense of tiredness; the weariness which comes with dealing with yet another threat and difficulty. To face this, we must continue to encourage one another and bear one another's burdens. “Be kind” has been a mantra in this country. We should do that, yes, but more too. We must show love, especially at this time to those who need it the most, even to ourselves.
Most of all we need to draw close to Christ and continue to offer the hope and stability of the gospel. It is this gospel joy, even in the darkest times, that alone can help us through this crisis, bringing hope and an eternal perspective to the very pressing trials of the moment. We don’t do this alone. We are all part of the BTI whanau. We are part of the body of Christ. We are part of the church universal. We stand in a long tradition of the saints of the church. We have a great team and a goodly heritage. Above all, we pray for healing for each other, for this nation and for the world.
May you know the peace of Christ that passes all understanding at this time and in all times.
Dr Andrew Butcher, CEO and Dean, BTI