“Serve to learn and learn to serve.”  We used that description on a recent Facebook post, and one reaction was, “Say what?  What does that mean?”
First of all, at Edmonton Christian School we believe that “accepting Christ’s  invitation to live for renewal” means accepting a life of love and service to God and others.  That means that we can make learning  relevant to students when the curriculum comes alive in real work of service.  Elementary students learn about the needs of plants by planting seeds and  taking care of gardens on the schoolground.  The intermediate students learn the details of waste management by taking on the school recycling task and by classroom composting.  Junior High students learn to write, persuade and participate in democracy as they use the gift of language to advocate for the rights of others.  Senior High photography classes hone their skills by taking and IMG_0379editing portraits for people at a drop in centre for the homeless/working-poor .  These are only a few of the examples  of serving to learn.

Serving to learn is only half the equation, however.  Never far from the surface is our tendency to be selfish and self-serving.  It is our “first nature.”  Our  default.

We need to learn to serve.  Like a musician or an athlete, we need to practice regularly and often so that this service becomes our “second nature.”

That’s part of the idea behind the recently held, annual service days which involved all Edmonton Christian High School students in a number of locations.  In addition to the wonderful community and the valuable skills gained, service days provided many “learning to serve” experiences.  Just a few are captured in the pictures below.  (Photo credits to staff/supervisors that were learning to serve with the students!)

Epthatha Camp

Bethel Bible Camp

Mulhurst Bible Camp

Serving at ECHS–baking for the neighbour Centre, cooking for people in need, cleaning, organizing . . .

Ross Haven Bible Camp

Vimy Ridge School (moving the Alberta School of Ballet)

Edmonton Christian High School students–serving to learn, learning to serve!

B. Doornenbal