Newington’s motto ‘In Fide Scientiam’ loosely translates from Latin into ‘To Faith Add Knowledge’ and refers to a passage in the Bible from 2 Peter 1:5-8. From the time I started at Newington this motto has always struck me as a highly enlightened choice for our founders to make some 150 years ago. Yet I think this motto is just as relevant to our 21st Century context as it was in the late 19th Century when the College was founded. It’s an inspired choice because it the highlights the importance of faith and knowledge held in tandem, and further than that it encourages an inquired faith that engages with the knowledge we have around us.
At Lindfield, I’m constantly amazed and impressed by the questions that I, as Chaplain, get asked from the boys. I hear boys asking deep questions about the intersection between faith and life, the often-perceived tensions between religion and science and ways in which different beliefs and values might interact with each other. These boys, at their age, are often asking me deeper questions that what I was asked in a previous role as a University Chaplain. This, I feel, is what it means to live out our school motto; holding faith and religion in tandem with worldly knowledge.
In Religious Education classes and Chapel Services I seek to create a space where boys, no matter what year level, might engage with Biblical stories and traditions and where they learn about the teachings of Jesus and other Biblical figures. Often this is done through collaborative storytelling or discussion-based lessons where boys are encouraged to bring their different ideas and perspectives. My hope is that by hearing from my perspectives, but also the ideas of their classmates, the boys might develop a more deeply engaged idea of what faith looks like.
There’s a common phrase often found in children’s and youth ministry studies which suggests “faith is caught not taught”. Now although this is a pithy and somewhat simplistic way of looking at it it’s useful in that it pushes us towards an experiential and explored understanding of faith. Faith doesn’t come through only learning facts and words, like you might a maths problem. It comes through exploring and grappling with tensions. It comes from learning and questioning.
This is what Newington’s motto points us towards, faith and knowledge explored together, and as a result that is what our Newington boys, no matter what age, are encouraged to do.
Pastor Richard La’Brooy – Chaplain