For the Whole of Their Life.

Celebrating an Elder Statesman of the Christian School movement, Bob Frisken

By Hannah Wellham

On Saturday the 21st of July, Samantha Van de Mortel and myself, along with many leaders within the Christian School movement, had the opportunity to gather together to celebrate Bob Frisken and his 40 years of dedication to leadership in Christian education.

In 1974 Bob Frisken, President of New Hope International Limited, commenced a journey which saw the beginning of the movement which became known as Christian Community Schools and later Christian Schools Australia and went on to establish New Hope International Limited in his later years.

Bob established the first distinctly Christian school in Sydney and paved the way for Christian School leaders over the following 40 years. Through Bob’s work he has laid the foundation for many Christian School leaders to successfully establish Christ-centered Christian Schools throughout Australia and beyond. 

Following the formation of the Christian Community Schools organisation, Christian schools were established in Churches and halls; in cities and small country towns; from Sydney to Perth and from Hobart to Cairns. These Christian Community Schools were pioneered by Christian parents, Pastors and teachers who were tired of the secular–humanistic worldview of their local schools. They wanted their children to be nurtured and trained by Christian teachers in a Christian learning community where all that was studied recognised the Lordship of Jesus. 

Bob is a role model and mentor for many prominent Christian school leaders and many of these leaders took the opportunity to acknowledge Bob and the role that he has played in their journey with Christian Schooling. 

Both Samantha had I the opportunity to speak at the event and were able to share the impact Bob has had on our journey in education.

Samantha was one of the first students to go through Christian Community High School under Bob. She believes that his influence played a big part in her consequent journey into Christian Education. 

She shared that, ‘Bob’s passion for Christian Education and his pioneering spirit instilled in me a love for Christian Education and started me on a course which led me into the position of Principal of a Christian School and gave me a heart for establishing relationships with schools across the globe.’

For someone like me trying to figure it all out in isolation Bob was a beacon of light. Someone to observe and model myself on as a Christian School leader. 

It was a wonderful event. It is good for the soul of the Christian School movement that we honour the fathers and founders of the movement.

Jeremiah 17:7, 8 says ““But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”

Graeme Irwin

Executive Principal 

The Life

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