Published on: 16 May 2014

Spending Easter helping others on Service in Action (SIA) in Fiji truly was a spiritual experience for the 12 Christ Church boys and St Hilda’s girls who took part in this year’s journey. Some of the Years 7 and 8 students described the religious holiday as the best Easter they had ever experienced.

Students and staff from the two schools spent seven days at St Christopher’s orphanage in Suva during the Term 1 school holidays. The group’s role at St Christopher’s, run by three Anglican Sisters of the Sacred Name, included service jobs while the children were at school and ‘buddy time’ when they returned home.

On Easter Sunday, the group attended a service at the local parish, followed by a lunch with the church community and an Easter egg hunt and concert for the children from the orphanage.

“The attention the Fijian children give to the service shows how important chapel and the Bible are to them and their culture,” tour members Charles McGrath (Year 8) and Oscar Hammond (Year 7) wrote in a daily blog. “The youth group performed a liturgical dance, which was really expressive and beautiful. Our SIA group sang Lord of the Dance and then the St Christopher’s kids joined in with us to do an action dance.”

Lachlan Zhou (Year 8) said the group attended eight hours of church services over the three holy days. “These services offered us an interesting and touching insight into the deeply rooted faith of our Fijian friends,” he said.

Director of SIA Canon Richard Pengelley said throughout their stay, the group fully engaged with the spiritual life of the children including daily morning prayer and Eucharist, evening singing with a reflection, and Sunday worship in the local parish. There was also time for the group to reflect, de-brief and journal each day.

This year’s service work included lots of painting as well cleaning, sorting and reorganising, cooking and gardening, along with plenty of buddy time. Highlights included a day out with their buddies at the movies, spending the afternoon at a local school, and visits to Nadi village and the South Sea Island.

SIA, Christ Church’s service learning program, is based on the Christian call to serve others, especially those less fortunate than ourselves.