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A Christmas Workout!

December 04, 2018 at 10:24 AM

‘May God’s love fill you to overflowing this Christmas, and while enjoying the festivities, don’t forget to exercise – exercise compassion, forgiveness, goodness and love…and don’t trust Mr Dorset’s smoothies!

Entering the Holy Trinity Cathedrallast night, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d taken a wrong turn. Was that really exercise equipment next to the pulpit? An exercise bike, weights? The adults assigned to the front row, shrank back a little with a ‘don’t pick me’ look on their faces! What was Chaplain, Reverend Reuben Hardie concocting for his Christmas message this year?

Despite a day that brought tropical downpour after downpour across Auckland, nothing could put a dampener on the start of the festive season. In time honoured tradition, the joy of Christmas and the re-telling of the birth of Christ was ushered in with an evening of song, worship – and umbrellas - at the Boys’ School Carol Service last night. 

At a time of year when there always seems to be so much ‘busyness’ in our lives, it’s always a joy to stop for an evening, to sit quietly in the splendour of the Holy Trinity Cathedral and enjoy time with our boys, their teachers and families, as we celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. As guests gathered, the orchestra played a medley befitting the season. 

Piper, Nick Forgie opened the service with ‘Little Drummer Boy,’ the sound of the lone piper resounding around the Cathedral walls before soloist, Charles Adams, with a clear, high voice, sang the first verse of ‘Silent Night,’ leading the congregation to join in the first of the carols. 

After Reverend Ivica Garcia welcomed all to the Cathedral, Principal, Mr Peter Cassie reiterated the words of welcome. Mr Cassie quipped that ‘the annual navigation of city rush hour traffic and search for a carpark’ aside, the Carol Service is undoubtedly his highlight of the School year. He said, ‘It brings our community together; it is a wonderful opportunity to hear our Performers’ Choir singing in a Cathedral; we are able to give thanks to our Year 8 graduates for all they have contributed and wish them well as they prepare to leave. And most importantly, we are inspired by Reverend Hardie as his message will challenge us to remember the real purpose of Christmas.’

Head Boy, Austin McKegg and his mother, Philippa took the first readings, preparing the way for the Junior Boys to turn and face the congregation to sing, ‘Little Donkey.’ There were a few wide eyes when they saw the extent of their audience – it’s not often they sing to well in excess of 1,500 people! 

From young and enthusiastic singers to accomplished performers, next it was the turn of the Performers’ Choir to sing the lyrical, ‘One Small Child.’ Following, the boys welcomed Year 12 Senior College student, Christina Middlebeek-Harrison to sing the opening verse of ‘O Holy Night,’ the congregation, once again, following in song. 

Deputy Head Boy, Benjamin Hardie took the third reading, leading to the Middle School choir giving everything to ‘Go Tell it on the Mountain!’ Each year, the staff also join as one to present a carol. With almost 20 staff having completed their Level 2 in Te Reo this year, the carol chosen was ‘Nga mihi manahau’ which they executed with distinction! 

And so to the mystery of the gym equipment! Reverend Hardie told the boys he wanted to get them in the best possible shape to enjoy Christmas, with exercises based on the teachings of his own ultimate personal trainer, Jesus Christ. He said that Christmas is a time to be aware of those whose needs are great. This is a time to show compassion and generosity – the more you exercise compassion, the better you get! It builds your strength. To illustrate that practice makes perfect, he called on diminutive, young gymnast, Ewan Po to make use of the equipment on stage to do tricep dips – an impressive number executed! Continuing the exercise theme, he said ‘forgiveness’ was also an important part of a workout, as is ‘goodness.’ He told the boys that that ‘most of us are just scratching the surface of our capacity to do good’ and ‘Christmas is a good time to fill our minds and bodies with all things good.’ In line with exercising goodness, he asked Sports Science teacher, Mr Dorset to concoct a Christmas smoothie full of goodness - it contained raw egg, coconut milk, kale, spinach, broccoli, vegan pea protein and some cranberry just to add a touch of Christmas. Robson Reidy was game enough to join the Reverend to drink a glass of goodness. Suffice to say the glass of green did not go down so well! 

In summarising, Reverend Hardie said, ‘I hope and pray that this Christmas is transformed by the exercise of compassion. I pray that you would exercise forgiveness and I pray, boys, that you will fill yourselves up – body mind and soul - with the things that are good for you.’ Just maybe not Mr Dorset’s smoothies! 

As the service came to an end, Chapel Prefect, Jamie Mora led the Prayer of Saint Kentigern. The final moments of the Carol Service is always a poignant moment for the families of the boys in Year 8 as their association with the School draws to a close. At the conclusion of the service, the Year 8 boys came forward to light a candle, before Head Prefects, Austin and Benjamin led their peers from the cathedral, marking the start of a new chapter in their lives. 

We are incredibly proud of our young men. As they leave our school, we hope and pray that they will always know that they belong  –  they will always be sons of Kentigern. 

‘Go with confidence and humility
May you know
God’s love all around you
God’s peace in your heart
God’s wisdom to guide you
God’s strength each day’

 

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