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From our CEO

Many schools like to start the year with a theme that runs across the whole school for the year. You might be interested to know that I too like to set a theme for our staff and this year, it’s “Faithful Presence”. I pinched it from a conference I attended last year. Rod Thompson tells me that it comes from a book written by James Davison Hunter on the postures of worship – faithful presence being one powerful one! As your servants, we hope to be faithful in a posture of worship to the Lord and of service to you. The words of Deuteronomy add to this.

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 10: 2-15

As the te am at CEN are already geared up to serve you this year, we know that we also serve the Lord, hopefully with all of our heart, soul, and mind. You might be interested in knowing that this theme will also be our theme for our National Conference/AGM in May. I did ask for permission!

Here’s a great quote from James Davison Hunter:


Michelle Dempsey

Annandale Christian College QLD – Floods

Many of you have asked how Annandale Christian College fared in the recent Townsville floods. Principal Andrew Jones has reported that a number of their families were affected directly by the floods and have lost everything. The challenge of growing mould, Dengue Fever and Ross River Fever is part of the after-effects of such a devastating event. Please pray for our friends and colleagues at Annandale.

For those wishing to make a monetary donation to the needs of the school families, you can do this through a bank transfer to the College.

Account Details for Internet payments:
Our BSB: 014 730 (ANZ)
Our Account: 3827 91409
Lodgement Ref: Flood Assist

Chairo Christian School VIC – Bushfires

You would have seen the scenes of bushfires across Victoria in recent weeks, and one of our schools was close to the wide impact zone. Here is a lovely message from Chairo Christian School, Pakenham Campus Principal, Peter Wells…

“Chairo really values the thoughts and prayers of our brothers and sisters across CEN. We are thankful for the many firefighters who have contained fires to the north of the freeway. Our communities were very vulnerable on Sunday, but wind conditions meant the threat didn’t escalate. Please pray that conditions continue to improve. We are mindful of those in the wider community who have had to evacuate or who have lost property. Our staff community has not been seriously impacted by property losses but we are conscious of several parents and students who have been fire-affected and their stories and needs are becoming known to us. We have a great community that will provide practical support to those amongst us in need.

The orange haze on our horizons and the smoke-filled skies are an image of creation “subjected to frustration” (Romans 8:20), but that verse goes on to speak of “the hope of liberation from bondage to decay into freedom and glory”. Pray that we can be hope-bringers to those around us.”

From our National Institute Principal

It feels like a significant time of transition for the National Institute in this our 40th year in providing ongoing postgraduate study in the distinctiveness of Christian education for teachers in Christian schools and other contexts.

Drawing on a rich reformational heritage, the National Institute remains at the forefront of Christian educational thinking via the provision of high quality education degrees that underpin and support Christian educators and leaders both in Australia and abroad.

Chris Prior and I have commenced working in our roles as Deputy Principal and Principal of the Institute. We celebrate the Third Party Arrangement secured with Alphacrucis College which offers all sorts of exciting opportunities going forward. We value your prayers as we chart the course into the future.

Rod Thompson

From our National Institute Academic Dean

The National Institute is excited to unveil many new things this year as we celebrate our 40th anniversary.

As mentioned by Rod, our new Third Party Arrangement is with Alphacrucis College. As they move to become the first fully-accredited Christian university in Australia, our partnership means we can explore options for both undergraduate courses to prepare the next generation of CEN teachers, and doctorate supervision to prepare the next generation of CEN thinkers in education and leadership.

All of the National Institute courses and every subject have been revised and updated for 2019! Keep in mind that we now offer the following options:

  • Master of Education (8 subjects)
  • Master of Education (Leadership) (8 subjects)
  • Graduate Certificate of Education (4 subjects)
  • Graduate Certificate of Education (Leadership) (4 subjects)
  • Non-award (Same workload and cost – no ongoing commitment, but may count as credit in the future)

We are pleased to announce that our online eLearning portal has received a facelift and will provide a new look and feel, as well as vital information to support students in their studies.

Semester 1 commenced on 4 March but there is still time for students – new and old – to get enrolled! Please encourage your teachers and leaders to be in touch with Belinda or Beth as soon as possible at, 02 4773 5888, or Click here start your enrolment process.

Beth Beech

From our Professional Learning Coordinator

Our professional learning presenters found it a privilege to work with a number of staff teams during the professional learning weeks in January. We enjoyed unfolding new material on formative assessment and deeper learning from a Christian perspective as it relates to the latest research, as well as our new Bible in the Belly of the School workshop. Please find below some of the comments made by workshop attendees:

“In 21 years of teaching in Christian schools, today has been the most significant and impacting day of professional development. It has been foundational, refreshing, reinvigorating and focussing.”

“I found today’s workshop just superb. The content was biblical and Jesus centric with excellent application to teaching from a Christian perspective and worldview in the classroom. The delivery was engaging and modelled quality teaching.”

“This course is incredible! Perfectly clarified and outlined many questions I had. The presentation was fun and engaging. Thank you! This content will be outworked not only in the school environment but day to day life.”

Can I briefly highlight again the rich new courses that we have been unfolding:

  • Classrooms and Deeper Learning
  • Classrooms as Grace-shaped Communities
  • Classrooms and Assessment for Learning
  • The Bible in the Belly of the School

Click here for more information.

Authentic Christian Education
(Certificate of Christian Education)

Don’t forget that this is now available as an interactive online course that is an excellent adjunct to your staff induction program. This is online and self-paced and we can allow your new staff plenty of time (months if needed) to work through it in their own time as a new staff member. Many schools have already signed all their new teachers (and support staff) to this resource.

Click here for more information and to access the course.


Chris Parker

From our CTJ Editor

CTJ is rich and accessible reading and reflection for those called to the vocation of Christian education. Recently when challenging the staff of a non-CEN Christian school by asking them, “If you are not reading the Christian Teaches Journal then what Christian education professional reading are you doing that is in line with your vocation and the vision of your school?”, the principal responded with subscribing the entire staff of 50 teachers to the journal.

There is not a lot of alternative options to CTJ. So if your staff are not subscribed to, and engaging with CTJ, what professional reading are they doing in line with their vocation and the vision of your school?

CTJ is CEN’s professional journal–it’s your professional journal.

Click here to scan over previous editions.

I suspect that for an internationally recognised, quality Christian education professional journal, CTJ is highly affordable for CEN schools. As an example, to subscribe all teachers to the 4 editions per year:

10 teachers $180 total
20 teachers $360 total
50 teachers $900 total
100 teachers $1800 total


Happy to chat more at any time.

Also, don’t forget the rich professional benefit some of your staff can have by contributing articles to CTJ.

Chris Parker

From our Nurture Editor

Nurture remains, essentially, to challenge Christian parents to a fuller and deeper responsibility towards the training and education of their children. It brings before the Christian community the compelling claims of Christ-centred education which supports parents in this task.

In many ways, it is our association magazine and can be an integral part of cultivating and growing the commitment of parents to your school and it’s association.

Many parents in CEN schools receive their own copy of Nurture as a result of the investment from their school in funding the subscription. Please be encouraged by this feedback from a CEN school parent reflecting on their experience with Nurture:

I’ve enjoyed reading more about CEN and its approach to providing a Christian Worldview approach to education. As someone investing in helping young adults work towards this ‘post-school’ in a discipleship community, I’m really pleased to see an educational approach looking further than putting a ‘bible verse’ stamped on the end of curriculum. – VIC CEN School Parent.

Isn’t it exciting to hear parents talking this way and thinking on these matters! These are the folk we need in our associations spurring each other on.

With our March edition out now, we will be sharing ‘snapshots’ of the articles on our Facebook page.

Nina Edlin

NSW/ACT State Executive Officer and CEN Hub CEO Announcement

In case you missed the news towards the end of the year, NSW has welcomed Kathy Pereira back to the role of State Executive Officer for NSW/ACT. Kathy is spending months at a time in both Tonga and Australia this year and is looking forward to engaging onsite with NSW schools soon.

Also, Hugh MacCallum was appointed as the CEN Hub CEO for NSW/ACT. It’s great to have the newly ‘retired’ Hugh working with the Hub.

State Executive Officers Gathering

Recently our SEOs gathered at the National Office to discuss a range of strategies and challenges. It was great to welcome Chris Prior to this te am as the Victorian SEO. 

National Board News

The CEN Board is working on a number of items at the moment. Many of these will be reported on at the National Conference and AGM in May.

Risk Management Policy and Register
The CEN Board has an Audit and Risk Committee which has been working on a Risk Management Policy and Register. These essential documents are great to have finalised and active.

CEN / AACS National Issues Taskforce
The Board has approved a subcommittee of the board to be working as a taskforce on national issues. In particular, this taskforce has been looking at the possibilities of action (namely advice to schools), should the federal law around the exemptions of employment change. This team has met in January and February and will report at the AGM on any progress. The taskforce is made up of Mark Steyn, Simon Matthews, Yvonne Bradley, John Metcalfe, Erik Hofsink, Chris Prior, and Michelle Dempsey. Your prayers for wisdom and clarity are appreciated.

Development of Membership Covenant
Following the 2018 AGM, the Board has been working on the development of a Membership Covenant, that warmly and clearly states the desired relationship between our organisation and its members. The board looks forward to sharing this at the AGM in May.

CEN Consultancies

Have you bo oked your consultancies for this year? Popular ones at the moment are the Parent, Student, and Staff satisfaction survey reviews, and the Executive 360 review.

Please contact Melinda Storm for more details.

Global Christian Schools Leadership Summit

It was a real privilege for Michelle to represent CEN at this event, held in San Antonio, Texas in January. Simon Matthews from Chairo Christian School was also in attendance. The style of the conference was different in that it was broken up into interest areas and held as smaller sessions running concurrently for leaders. Highlights for Michelle were the Deeper Learning material from the leaders of learning from across the Canadian Christian school organisations, and Rob Loe’s research work on the impact of relationships in schools (Click here to check out some of his research). She also enjoyed the Mindshift work lead by Rex Miller, some extra days of the conference focused on this.
Once again, making connections at these events are fruitful and positive.

Christian Schools International (CSI) School Accreditation

During March and April, a number of principals, including, Adrian Bosker, Cameron Nunn, Mark Steyn, Simon Matthews, Simon Lainson, Tim Argall, and Michelle Dempsey, will be engaging in observations of accreditation processes, including Christian distinctiveness, with Christian schools in the US. These schools are members of Christian Schools International, a large Christian school organisation that holds similar philosophical underpinnings to CEN.  Michelle will be undertaking observations at the University School in Colorado Springs, with Simon Matthews and Mark Steyn. In addition, they will also be attending meetings with Christian schools in Vancouver, Canada, and then on to The Netherlands to meet with organisations that carry similar philosophical mission and vision.


ITEC year is finally upon us and we are certainly excited to be bringing you a most stimulating conference. Have you checked out the website recently? There are regular updates to the program, including the addition of another strand speaker, Mr Darren Spyksma who is the Director of Learning at the Society of Christian Schools, British Columbia. We have also invited some pretty cool moments of entertainment through Joel McKerrow (a performance poet), On Church Street (an acapella group) and Andino (a magician).

Registrations continue to rise (770 to date) and you have until 14 March to register at the early bird rate.

Click here for more information and to register.

We have had a number of contacts from colleagues in developing nations that would love to join us at ITEC. If your school is keen to contribute financially to help others to come to ITEC, please contact Melinda Storm.

National Conference and AGM

Our National Conference and AGM is coming up on 18-19 May, with the theme, ‘Faithful Presence’. Dr Rod Thompson will be our keynote speaker and we are welcoming back Dr Ken Dickens as the keynote speaker for our spe cial Saturday night dinner. This year, it’s the 40th anniversary of The National Institute for Christian Education, so we will take the time during the conference to celebrate this wonderful event!

Registrations will be opening soon.

National Policy Forum

The CSA National Policy Forum will be on the 20-21 May in Canberra. This conference takes place following our National Conference and AGM. I have been asked to inform you that the Policy Forum Conference Dinner will once again not be held in the Great Hall at Parliament House, as kitchen renovations are taking place. The conference dinner instead will be held at the Grand Hyatt. The weekend of the AGM is likely to be the weekend of the election as well (or the weekend before), so acces s to politicians to join us at the conference will be very limited.

Captivated – Parents Workshop

Can there be a greater joy for parents than seeing their children captivated by rich expressions of truth and life, and the gospel of the Lord Jesus? However, other shallow and deceptive philosophies compete to take their hearts captive. The stories of technology and sexuality are increasingly shaping our children’s hearts, longings, self-identity, and purpose. Let’s explore together at Captivated how to parent for captivated hearts.

Date and Time: 9am-4pm, Saturday 23 March
Cost: $85.00
Location: Reformed Theological College (RTC) Melbourne Campus

Click here for more information and to register.


CEN has a great relationship with the organisation PeacewWise. It’s been exciting to see the development of their PeaceWise kids program. Please refer to the information below.

The update on PeaceWiseKids is that the courses for Years 7-10 are now complete. And the course for Years 5 & 6 will be ready for Term 2, 2019. This overtly biblical course is fantastic online and in-class material that is mapped to the Australian curriculum. You can use it to help children learn the life skill of responding well to conflict and challenging relationships, as well as help build a strong, relational community within your school.

Click here to view more about the programme.

Save the date: Friday 26 July 2019.

PeaceWise is also running an Everyday Peacemaking for Schools PD day in NSW in conjunction with the National Institute of Christian Education at Covenant Christian School as part of the July PD week. The day contributes 6 hours of NESA registered PD towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation and is also a huge help in both strengthening the relationships within your staff plus running PeaceWiseKids in your school. You can also contact PeaceWise direct at to run a dedicated day of training in your school.

Click here to register for the July training.

National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence

Friday, March 15 is the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence. There are downloadable resources available once you register your school.

Click here to register your school, if you haven’t already.