in Japan

Together in Community

David Mawhinney, Head of School

Sometimes it is only when something is taken away from us that we realize its value. When it is gone, we no longer take it for granted and we miss it. So it has been for many of us during these COVID times when it comes to being in community. We went from spending time in school, at work, and with friends, to being in isolation, learning online, and living virtual lives. We weren’t able to be together and we soon saw the negative impact it had on us. Maybe it took COVID to remind us all just how important community is.

Community is certainly important for CAJ. Indeed, one of our core values is, “God created humans for community.” One of the reasons we need to be together is because students learn more effectively in the company of others rather than on their own, whether in the classroom, in informal study groups, or in conversations with teachers. Students develop in different areas of their lives as they participate in athletics, the arts, and club activities. And while growth in our minds is important, growth in our characters is even more important, and it is as we relate to others and participate in community that we grow and mature into the people God created us to be.

Community is important, but the best communities include not only people but have God in their midst. God’s triune nature reminds us how central community is to His character and it is not an accident that we have the desire for community within us. We need to be with others—we need one another’s help, support, and encouragement. But we also need to be with God—He is our light, our strength, our song. CAJ is a Christ-centered community and here we get to know and work with God’s people and God Himself. We have a God-given purpose and with God at the heart of our community we can better know the heart of God for our community.

Of course, it’s possible for a group of people to be together in the same place at the same time but to remain separate and disconnected from one another. Just being around other people doesn’t make a community, as any visit to Shinjuku Station will make clear. Here at CAJ we intentionally come together in community with a shared commitment to God, to the vision of the school, and to one another. The COVID era may have disrupted much of our ability to come together but we are building back strongly and as this year progresses we hope to see an ever growing and deepening sense of community here - for students, teachers, support staff, families, alumni, volunteers, supporters, and all those who are a part of CAJ. It’s going to be a great year, and it is good to know that we are all in this together, in community.

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