Among the 40+ Adventist primary and secondary schools across the Trans-European Division, Stanborough School in Watford, England, is one of the oldest.
The weekend of July 6 and 7 saw crowds of more than 1,000 people coming together to mark the centenary year (1919-2019) of both the Primary and Secondary School. Two events were planned through the weekend: a Sabbath service held on the Stanborough Park grounds under a marquee, then a family fun and recreation day held on the Sunday. Both events proved to be well supported not only by the Adventist membership but visitors from the local community.
The Sabbath service saw higher than expected attendance with all 700 seats within the marquee taken with additional seating having to be rapidly created outside in the warm sunshine. Judy Clements, Chair of Governors for the Secondary School, welcomed guests and acknowledged this unique and significant moment of Adventist Education in the British Isles.
After a 'walk through history' highlighting the past 100 years in picture form, Acting Head for the Secondary School, Eileen Hussey, shared the important values that underpinned the ethos of the School and how its missional outlook has sought to make a positive impact in the life of each pupil.
Packed with creativity, the morning service mixed intermittent praise and worship with greetings from the Education director for the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, Lisa Beardsley-Hardy and Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor. Angelika Horwood, Co-Headteacher for Stanborough Primary School led out in the children's story with Heather Hanna whose father, Ivor Margerison, played an instrumental role in the development of Stanborough Secondary School when serving as headteacher.
A representative of South England Conference (SEC) Pathfinders led in a procession during the dedication ceremony, which saw the cutting of a ribbon by Peter Taylor and the dedicatory prayer given by SEC President, Emmanuel Osei.
Musical items were provided by the Stanborough Secondary School Orchestra and the Primary School Junior Choir. The main speaker was Daniel Duda, Trans-European Division Education Director. He spoke on the people of 'The Book', that provides a story to help us see the complexities of life and allows us to understand the principles behind it to allow us to think outside of the box, to reflect, serve better and help change the community.
With the day being bright and sunny the Park provided the perfect setting for a lunch prepared by British Union Conference (BUC) Treasurer, Earl Ramharacksingh, and his committed team of volunteers.
During the afternoon children of both schools shared songs, poems, drama and instrumental music. Incoming BUC Education director, Gina Abbequaye, gave her vision for Adventist Education, speaking of the endless possibilities that can be achieved when home, school and church work together. "We aim produce children who will accept God as their Creator… true Adventist Education is not limited to the four walls of the school building… now more than ever there is a need for Adventist education," she exclaimed.
Several hundred people returned for Sunday afternoon, advertised as a ‘fun day’. This added to a very positive weekend, especially within the context of the many challenges that Adventist Education within the British Isles has faced in the past 100 years. These two schools, and others like them, continue to be a major contributor in helping prepare children for the kingdom and to be effective citizens in the community, following the principle of their motto, 'Dominus Magister Ludi Nostri' – God is the Master of our School.
A version of this article was first published on the British Union Conference website.