Jesus Grieves With Us
‘As we grieve together Jesus grieves with us too’. These are some of the words of support Dr Quarmby sent from Germany to the staff on hearing about the loss of Mr Peter Hazlewood.
Staff and students at the College are deeply affected by the news. Peter was many things to many people – a Colleague, Teacher, Friend, Mentor, Husband, Father, Brother, Son, a Father figure and a successful Coach of the staff Oz Tag team.
As staff and students have reflected over the last few days on his life as we knew him, it is evident that even though we have identified the important roles Peter played, he was much more than this. Peter had a larger than life personality and he lived his life with a passion which reflected his joy of living.
This joy came from his relationships with people, but particularly his relationship with God and his acceptance of Jesus in his life. Through his prayerfulness, warmth, humour, wisdom, integrity and care of others Peter had a deep and lasting influence on the lives of the students, staff and many parents at the College.
While the College is providing counselling support for the students and staff, prayer is a powerful means of drawing our College Community together and sustaining us as we navigate a way forward. Please pray for Peter’s family that they will find some comfort and strength. The staff and students at the College and Peter’s previous school, Thomas Hassall Anglican College, will also appreciate your prayers.
We are thankful for the outpouring of messages and offers of support from our College families and members of our local community. We have also received prayer and practical support from many other schools and Colleges in our extended local area.
By grieving together as a community and drawing on our faith we feel great comfort and strength. I have included below part of a Waratah Weekly article Peter wrote in early 2018. I hope you are able to draw strength and encouragement from his words and faith. I know this has been helpful for one College family already.
In Romans 5:3-5 it says:
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
This verse, in particular, comes to mind as I reflect on some of the conversations I’ve had with parents and students. The idea that suffering produces endurance is not only a logical concept but one that God communicates to us very clearly in this passage. Not only that, God goes a step further and promises that this endurance will produce in us character and that this character will lead to hope.
Jesus’ example is perhaps the ultimate demonstration that persevering through suffering does, in fact, lead to hope. This has certainly been my experience. Students, parents, friends, family and staff, no matter what you have faced or may still be coming to grips with now, my encouragement to you all, is that through your struggles and the challenges, God is at work in you. He is building perseverance and character in you, and on the other side of what you are dealing with, there you will find hope.
Wollondilly is full of people who are ready and willing to listen, take action and support each other. I’ve seen it from the staff, students, parents and the leadership team. We need not face these challenges alone. Continue to share in your struggles, carry each other’s burdens and continue to press on. What a blessing it is to belong to a God that wants you to turn to Him. He wants you to come to Him in your trials.
Peter will be mourned and missed but we will hold onto the positive and enduring impact he had on our lives and the knowledge that he is now with God.