March 16, 2020

Through Faith and Friendship, We Find Hope

Originally posted March 16, 2020

My Dearest Pacifica, Amid much uncertainty and real challenges, today was cause for celebration. We celebrate not because learning continued without interruption or technical difficulty. Instead, we give thanks for the will of the human spirit to not be broken and to carry on in the face of adversity. Just 48 hours after the decision to close the campus last Friday, we opened an online school. And today, in friendship with one another, we continued our pursuit to answer the essential questions in life. Students and teachers continued to grow in wisdom and sound judgment alongside deep abiding faith – that which we need most in moments like this. Teachers reported that students were engaged, present, and on task. Today, meaningful Socratic discussions took place. Students presented lectures to their peers, and others worked in breakout rooms while student-artists continued to make beautiful things. We even held our weekly All-School Meeting via video conference. It was lovely to see the smiling faces of our students. 

Today, we learned so much more than the material presented in class. We learned that we will not be broken. Through faith and friendship, we find hope and are capable of weathering moments of great adversity. The weeks and months ahead will be difficult, and they will undoubtedly present numerous unique challenges for each one of us. I mourn with all our brothers and sisters who are experiencing devastation, heartache, and fear. I send you my love and prayers. 

I also see this moment as an occasion to clarify and deepen our considerations of how we will live in our world.

This past weekend, I was often thinking about Pacifica’s mission and reflecting on how we might live this out in light of our present circumstances. With each reading, I was continually drawn to theses closing words, …while encouraging lives of faith, character, and service, to the Glory of God. In many ways, these words sum up why Pacifica has such great value, because in this community, again in friendship, we are pursuing the good life. And our lives affect the lives of everyone around us. 

Over the next several weeks, our daily community and pursuits will be different. We will undoubtedly experience increased isolation and (some of us) increased free-time from canceled commitments. With this in mind, I invite us to consider how we might also live differently. As Pacficans, we understand every experience presents opportunities for growth and maturity. This is especially true in moments where people are hurting, scared, or alone. This will not be the last time we experience unrest or tragedy in our world. But from this experience, we can deepen in faith, put our character into action, and serve others in ways that shape how we respond now and in the future!

In the coming days and weeks, my prayer is that we will grow in faith, character, and service, to the Glory of our Father in heaven. To that end, we will be sending you encouraging notes on how we might grow in faith, character, and service as we seek to bring light to our world.

Now is not a time for apathy, but for great resolve. We need each other. Men and women who see clearly, act wisely, and love lavishly. 

Jesus said to his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth.” I encourage us, Be the salt of the earth. And as we do, may our Lord be with us.

Tomorrow, I will send another communication regarding the changes to come regarding schedule, events, and other pertinent details. But for now, in friendship and love, let us celebrate this community, and may our celebration bring hope and peace to us and others.

With love and prayers,

David O’Neil
Head of School

P.S.  Below is a recording from Rev. Stratton’s final words to us today at All-School Meeting via Zoom.

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