Halton-Brown-StudentsStaff, students, and parents at St. Vincent Schoolin Oakville articulate their faith lived out as community through their active support ofBethany Kids Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya.  During the 40 days of Lent 2008, students were challenged to donate their own money earned through deeds, chores, or allowance to supportBethany in congruence with our Lenten obligations of prayer, sacrifice, service, and almsgiving.  Parents were similarly challenged to match their children’s donations penny for penny in the spirit of community.

Bethany Kids is a pediatric hospital committed to living out Christ’s example of service to others byproviding vital surgeries, free of charge for families in need, for children in East Africa with hydrocephalus, spina bifida  and cleft palate, as well as injuries resulting from conflict or accident.

This faith-focused project quickly galvanized the community as students conducted bake sales and parents hosted Halton-Surgery-Smalljewelry parties to supportBethany.  A grade 6 boy hosted his birthday party at which he asked for donations rather than gifts for himself and personally contributed over $500.  By the end of Lent, 370 students had raised over $10,000!

The Principal of the school, Mr. Brendan Browne, was invited to visit Bethany Kids in Kenya and embraced the opportunity to provide a tangible connection between the students of St. Vincent and the children and doctors at Bethany Kids.  He travelled to Kenya in November 2008 and blogged his experiences daily for the students, staff, and community.  The blog is still active as a record of his journey and the connection with St. Vincent athttp://bethanyconnection.blogspot.com

In the week before he left, students responded to the calling to be servants to others by creatively raising money to support Bethany – they hosted yard sales the weekend before, sold pizza to high school students and held hot chocolate stands in front of their homes .  Parents responded similarly with crayons, markers, colouring books, reading materials, 16 copies of the New Testament and the bible on CD, which Mr. Browne brought with him for the children recovering at Bethany.

This Lenten initiative continues this year for Lent 2009 and the students, staff, and community of St. Vincent have been challenged again to continue to give generously in the spirit of service, sacrifice, prayer, and almsgiving.  What does our faith look like in action?  The St. Vincent school community continues to provide an example of our commitment to following Christ’s example of service and sacrifice to others.  For more information on Bethany Kids, please visitwww.bethanykids.org visit the blog @ http://bethanyconnection.blogspot.com or email Mr. Brendan Browne, Principal of St. Vincent @ browneb@hcdsb.org