Celebrating the Life of Renee Fan – former student of St Andrews Christian College
(21/02/2004 – 17/03/2018)
Many staff and students attended Renee’s funeral last Saturday at Holy Trinity Church in Doncaster.
My heart broke for her family as they said their goodbyes to their beautiful daughter.
Renee was an exceptional young lady who seemed to ‘have it all’:
- She was an accomplished musician (AMusA in piano and 8th Grade in Oboe); member of Melbourne Youth Orchestra and Percy Grainger Ensemble.
- She was a talented artist; an outstanding CHESS player, debater, linguist, leader, academic light house and role model for her peers.
- Renee was a popular student; had a huge personality and loved by all students and staff.
We can be a brilliant and wonderful person but in the end it is our relationship with Jesus that matters. What was most important in Renee’s life was that she gave her heart to the Lord and was a committed Christian. From this, we know with certainty that she is now with her Lord Jesus Christ in heaven, free from sickness.
Renee ran the good fight.
Please continue to hold Renee’s family in your prayers.
The following talks were given by myself and Dan Ferguson (Year 5 teacher) at the funeral:
I stand here representing everyone at St Andrews Christian College who knew Renee and together we pass on our condolences and heartfelt prayers to Renee's family and friends.
As a principal you don't get to know all students, but Renee stood out as she was an exceptional young lady.
She was good at so many things whether it was chess, music, her studies, her organisation skills - but to me what stood out was her attitude to life and wanting to live life to the full.
We can all learn from Renee and the way she embraced life and all it has to offer.
God gave her talents - but she used these generously for others.
God gives all of us some gift and talent and when we use our talents for his glory and not our own purposes, and do it in his strength - not our own strength, we can do everything and live without fear, without regret and without concerns.
We can be like Renee and live full lives, overflowing in the fullness of God and be courageous and embrace all that life brings.
Ephesians 3:19 says “and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Renee loved God, she loved others and she loved life!
I read this little poem and thought of Renee, as it depicts her vibrancy, her love of life and now her place in heaven:
"May every soul that touches mine -
Be it the slightest contact- get there from some good,
Some little grace, one kindly thought,
One inspiration yet unfelt, one bit of courage
For the darkening sky, one gleam of faith
To brave the thickening ills of life,
One glimpse of brighter skies beyond the gathering mists,
To make this life worthwhile,
And heaven a surer heritage."(Author unknown)
Thoughts from Daniel Ferguson - Renee’s Year 6 teacher
Renee lived life to the full. This could be seen by her schedule and her achievements.
Achievements like Australian chess champion, top academic student, accomplished musician, talented artist and the list goes on.
These achievements didn’t only come by sheer giftedness - although Renee was certainly gifted. You only had to have one conversation with Renee or read one piece of her writing to know, wow, this girl is special. But these achievements also came about because of Renee’s zeal for life.
Both during and after school Renee made sure her schedule was completely full. Even during lunch, if Renée wasn’t to be found at concert band, she would be in the art room or with the garden club gathering produce that she would later sell that afternoon to any passers-by. These activities were not undertaken out of compulsion, but they were insisted upon by a girl who wanted to use her talents, all the while blessing others along the way.
The more I think on it, the more I believe, that God, knowing Renee’s life would be short, purposed her to reach out and take advantage of every opportunity. Through this she was blessed, bravely living life like many of us dare not to.
In living the way that she did, Renee left a lasting impression on many of the St Andrews staff and students.
Mrs Darlison, our primary art teacher recalls Renee coming in one morning, sniffing and saying, “I love the smell of the art room.”
One student remarked, “Renee was always telling jokes. It was hard to keep up with her, she made the rest of us look dull.”
Many teachers commented on how blessed they were by being greeted by Renee’s smile and how encouraged they were from receiving one of Renee’s hugs. Renee’s enthusiasm for life, just had a way of rubbing off on you.
Like anything else, Renee pursued questions of faith with vigour. This proved to be a very important.
Jesus said, ‘seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be open to you’, and this is exactly what Renee did.
She had a lot of questions, questions that you might think an adult might ask. But through her searching and by the grace of God, she learnt, what I believe is the most important thing there is in life to know, and that is that Jesus is God and that he loved her.
When she was in Year 6 Renee put her faith in Jesus, and because of this we have the promise of God that she will go on living with Jesus in heaven, forever.
In the parable of the talents (a parable told by Jesus) God, who is portrayed as a master, gives three of his servant’s talents, to invest. One of the servants hides his talent in the ground and does nothing with it, but the other two use their talents well and receive a good return for their master. At the end of a specific time God returns and says ‘what have you done with what I given you?’ finding those servants that have used their talents to the best of their ability, God then says to each one, well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master. I think we would also agree with what I believe God is saying to Renee now.
Well done, sweet heart, well done!