Kokasi Kesi, known as Koki, visited EDS on Wednesday, August 23, to meet with several classes. Koki is a 26-year-old university student from the Ugandan community of Abuyadaya. He spent his summer in America working at a Jewish camp, Camp Coleman, near Atlanta, where he enjoyed sharing his culture and rich heritage. MaLea Breland, our art substitute for Mrs. Heinlein, is currently hosting Koki in her home here in Augusta.
Koki met with the EDS students in the music room, because music is an integral part of his culture. In fact, Kokasi is a member of his community’s musical group, and he plays several instruments.
Kokasi’s uncle is Rabbi Gershom, the first black Jew to ever be elected to parliament. Dating back to only the 1900s, the Jews of Abuyadaya are considered to be young by Jewish standards. A Christian missionary was sent to the area by the British in 1919 to convert the Ugandans. The Christian missionary began reading Old Testament literature during that time and became interested in Judaism. Without the knowledge of the British, the Christian missionary studied and then converted to Judaism. He stayed in the area and, with his influence, many people in the community began practicing Judaism. When the British discovered what was happening, they were furious and fired him.
However, he founded a wonderful Jewish community that has prospered and survived in that area for 97 years. The Jews around the world began recognizing the Ugandan Jews as Jews only as recently as the 1990’s, and many communities are still not familiar with their culture and traditions. The community of Abuyadaya is a model that many communities should aspire to building. The people of Abuyadaya have created a place where Christians, Jews, and Muslims live in peace and are provided all the same rights and respect.
Each new year 6th (and new 7th) graders are presented with Bibles for faithful use in their middle school religion classes. We hope that students will make notes in these Bibles as they study meaningful truths and then treasure them as one of many gifts and memories from their years at EDS. We realize that each and every page of the Bible contains guidance and witness as we seek to know God – to see Him clearly, love Him dearly, and follow Him nearly – day by day.
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Welcome to EDS
It is an extraordinary privilege to be the pastor of a congregation with a school like EDS. For
nearly 75 years the church and school have been partners in the sacred work of preparing
Augusta’s children to build a life that is pleasing to God, a blessing to others, and brings joy to the
self. Every person here, faculty, staff, and every parent is clearly dedicated and making personal
sacrifices to do the best that we can for all of our students. I want to thank all of you, parents and
staff, for choosing EDS and I want to welcome everyone, returning families and new families to
I could not feel more strongly about the work that we do together at EDS to prepare these children
for citizenship both in God’s kingdom and in the nation. The pressing need for adults who are
able to bring their unique gifts to bear positively in their families, places of employment,
neighborhoods and communities could not be more critical than it is in these times of constant
change and transition. Obviously, as a pastor, I am convinced that an engaging, lively relationship
with God is absolutely foundational to the construction of the kind of life of wisdom, love, and
service that we hope and pray an EDS education inspires a child to pursue.
Whatever your family’s faith background, EDS will do its very best to strengthen and confirm your
child in faithful witness to the love and grace of God that we Christians see in Jesus Christ. If your
faith life has been on the back burner, so to speak, amongst all the pressing concerns of life, then I
encourage you to move from “simmer” and turn up the heat. Augusta is blessed with so many
fabulous churches eager to welcome you and, of course, we invite you to visit Good Shepherd.
Rector, Church of the Good Shepherd
Every year we set a theme that will focus and guide us through our year of learning together, loving one another, and serving the God who has so richly blessed us. This year we have drawn from the beloved hymn, ‘Day by Day,’ which has been sung in Tuesday chapel at EDS for longer than most people can remember.
This hymn is also sung annually at Alumni Chapel, when the high school seniors who left us four years prior, or more in some cases, return to worship with us in the place that held their prayers and praises for so many of their most formative years. These seniors, on their way to colleges all over the country, take both joy and pride (even amidst the giggles) in singing ‘Day by Day,’ even with the hand motions they learned as young children. It’s an important reminder to them of what matters most – and it is an equally meaningful and grounding reminder for us all. These words – this theme – serve as a reminder of our faith commitment, and we will benefit (and be blessed) by having them held before us this year. Above all things and in all things … we must seek to see God at work in our lives and in the world around us; we must love God and all the Children of God whom we encounter each day; and no matter where life may take us, we must follow the One who has brought us and blessed us so far; all as the hymn reminds us.
These beloved words were first penned by Saint Richard of Chichester (1197-1253) in a prayer: Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, day by day. And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you this day, this new year, and forevermore. Amen. This year we will reflect on these commitments of faith, and we will do our very best to live them out … day by day!
We were blessed to have a guest preacher with us for 3rd-8th grades chapel on Thursday, April 27. The Rev. Dr. Dan Heischman is the Executive Director of the National Association of Episcopal Schools, and a former professor of Pastor Lisa, Dr. Andrews, and Dr. Murray. Reflecting on the familiar Easter story of Doubting Thomas, Father Heischman encouraged us to be the reason others could be “certain” about Jesus, now that we don’t have him here in person. He challenged us to reach out to others with the kindness and care that will help our friends and neighbors to know God’s love. After chapel, Father Heischman shared how he experienced our students as “kids who know what worship is about,” a compliment that we receive with humility and gratitude.
The Church of the Good Shepherd would like to invite EDS students to Mission: Possible, a service weekend.
Additionally, the CoGS VBS program is in need of Crew leaders. Rising 8th graders or older who would like to volunteer to work with the children of this summer’s VBS, email Roger Speer.
At the 3rd-5th grades Easter Eucharist, it was our honor and delight to baptize Eliza Ann Heinlein, daughter of our art teacher Kristen Heinlein and her husband, an EDS basketball coach, Andy Heinlein. The Heinlein’s consider EDS to be their spiritual home, and so it was most appropriate to welcome Eliza into the Christian faith in school worship, and Easter is the ideal season for baptism since its promise and hope are at the very heart of the promises made. For Kristen and Andy, Eliza’s baptism was another sacred moment in the Church of the Good Shepherd, the place where they were married in 2013. This was our first baptism in EDS worship, so students and teachers alike were awestruck by the beauty and wonder of the sacrament, and they answered with joy and purpose the question, “Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support this person in her life in Christ?” We also had the opportunity to renew our own baptismal vows, recalling what it means to be a Child of God who “proclaims by word and example the good news of God in Christ” and “respects the dignity of every human being.” After baptizing Eliza with water in the Name of the Trinity, and anointing her with chrism as “Christ’s own forever,” we offered this prayer: “Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon this your servant the forgiveness of sin, and have raised her to the new life of grace. Sustain her, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit. Give her an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen.”