Due to the recent events that have devastated our nation, I am reaching out to share my thoughts and vision for Viking Nation as we navigate these difficult times together. Over the past few weeks, our nation has been rocked by the horrific murder of Mr. George Floyd. This event was a stark reminder of the racism which continues to fester in many of our communities. First and foremost, I am asking you to join me in prayer for the family of Mr. Floyd and our African American community. Second, I am asking you to pray for our policemen and our policewomen who serve our communities faithfully. The actions of a few have left an indelible and unfair perception on them all. Lastly, I am asking you to pray for our nation as we grow and heal.
Viking Nation, we will be the absolute standard in how we serve and love one another regardless of race, sex, age, or ethnicity. Jesus gives us very clear guidance in Matthew 22: 37-39. He tells us distinctly that we are to love God and love one another. Let us be the standard for the Macon community in how we love and take care of one another! FPD must continue to be a refuge for ALL students to be who God has called them to be, and to offer them the opportunity to realize their God-given potential. FPD, and other Christian schools like it, is in the business of producing world changers for God, and that is what our world needs right now more than anything else. This is the mission of FPD, and it will continue to be as long as God allows me to lead.
Prayerfully, this is the time for the uncomfortable discussions about racism and respect. Racism cannot be part of any healthy, thriving community. As your head of school, I will not allow racism or a lack of respect of any kind towards anyone. All racism is divisive to Viking Nation. A culture of respect will be the standard, and it will be an expectation that we stand up and speak up when we see a lack of honor or respect of any kind. This will always be a focus, and it starts with the example TEAM FPD sets for the student body by how we treat one another and how we treat students. Second, I will be leading discussions on such topics as honor and respect in the chapel program, which will allow our students to understand, grow, and become more unified.
To our African American families, faculty, staff, and alumni – we love you. We want you to know that you are seen, heard, and supported. You are a vital part of the Viking family. While I share in your feelings of sadness, frustration, and disgust, to say that I understand your emotions would be presumptuous, insensitive, and wrong. At the same time, I am energized to partner with you to be part of the solution in our community and nation.
Lastly, let us all be reminded – God is in control. Our God is neither surprised nor fearful. He continues to sit on his throne, and I know He will work all things for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). My prayer is that FPD sets the example of “oneness” for the Macon community such that Jesus is recognized and other families desire to join our mission. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” While challenge and controversy are certainly here, we control our response to such adversity.
Now, more than ever, is the time for Viking Nation to show who we are – a light in our community, a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14)! We will not be deterred. The best days are yet ahead for FPD as we continue to link arms to fulfill FPD’s mission to “educate and equip students to change the world for God’s glory.” Please know that my door is always open to all of you.
Dr. John Patterson
Head of School
First Presbyterian Day School