St.Sava College – The Next Step Forward

In the weeks leading up to Pascha, His Grace Bishop Irinej extended a heartfelt invitation to a number of individuals within the community to find their place and to offer their expertise and enthusiasm for a project which he said is, "perhaps the greatest challenge that our Serbian Orthodox Church in Sydney has undertaken, but one which is surely destined to become her greatest joy," referring to St.Sava College.

His Grace went on to explain that, "Since the purchase of land in Varroville in late 2004, the St. Sava College Project has progressed through the various stages of design, development and approval. The foundations of Stage One were poured in late 2007 and fund-raising for the next building stage is almost on target. Following a somewhat lengthy delay over the past 15 months due to hydraulics and traffic management issues, we are about to continue with the next phase of the building project." Some 40 people accepted the invitation to attend an information evening at the Diocesan Office at St. Lazarus Church in Alexandria on Tuesday the 28th of April. His Grace opened proceedings with a prayer which was followed by the screening of a short film, reminding all present of project milestones since the purchase of land in 2004. In his opening address, Bishop Irinej spoke about the need for a Serbian Orthodox School, emphasising the level of commitment necessary to overcome the challenges which will face us along the way. He likewise placed the task at hand in its essential context, repeating his familiar and somewhat chilling message that, "our children are not only our future, but also our present, for there will be no future for our children if we do not commit ourselves to them now." Our special guest speaker, Ms Efrosini Stephanou-Haag, Head of College, St. Spyridon College, then delivered an inspiring insight into the experience of the Greek Orthodox Church which has three schools in Sydney alone. Ms Stefanou did not mince her words, but stirred everyone present in stating: "Building a school for the Serbian Orthodox families of Sydney is not something you can do, it is something you must do." Following her address, attendants were divided into four work groups moderated by experts in the fields of Marketing and Public Relations, Fundraising and Events, Educational Planning and Building. Ms Juliana Trifunovic, National Campaign Manager of "Jeans for Genes" at the Children's Medical Research Institute delivered a gripping insight into the world of fund raising for charitable purposes. Her inspirational message catapulted the Fundraising and Events Sub-Committee into action. Ms. Valentina Stosic was elected chairperson of the sub-committee and Mr Petar Tasic was appointed to head the Stewardship taskforce.

The Marketing and Public Relations group was addressed by Ms Georgina Brujic, Managing Director of Text Pacific Magazines. Guided by her wealth of experience in marketing and public relations, this group of highly skilled professionals immediately identified key action areas, divided duties amongst themselves, and unanimously elected Georgina to the position of Chairperson of the sub-committee. The Educational Planning Sub-Committee comprised of educators and educational administrators engaged in a probing and constructive discussion with Ms Stephanou on the key stages of curriculum development and the complexities of accountability to external educational authorities. Bishop Irinej with his wealth of experience and Masters Degree in Divinity and experience as a university lecturer in Pedagogy committed himself to working with this sub-committee in particular. High school teacher and talented facilitator Paul Frost, was elected to chair the Educational Planning Sub-Committee.

The Building Sub-Committee which has been an active force and deliverer of results to date, met to discuss the next building phase. Amongst other things, it is the job of this sub-committee to secure the voluntary participation of as many tradesmen and professionals from the community, whilst ensuring the highest possible standards of workmanship. Mr Randon Ilic, is the chairman of the Building Sub-Committee and a number of valued associates have joined the ranks to assist in the imminent erection of structural steel and supporting structures. In his concluding remarks, Bishop Irinej gave his blessing to the new sub-committees to embark upon their given tasks, calling each and every one to cast the net as wide as possible and to invite as many as, "have ears to hear," to enter into the joy of this collective endeavour. his invitation is extended to the entire Serbian Community and to all people of good will, who share in the vision of a Serbian Orthodox College which will serve the needs of our Church and people into the future. If you would like to become part of this God-given responsibility, please contact Project Director.

Fr. Rade Radan, Project Director