Thank you to everyone who was kind enough to attend the Commissioning service on Sunday, and also to those of you who couldn’t make it, but let me know that you were praying for me on the day. I really appreciated that!
I wanted to keep you up to date about our projects at the moment. Yesterday we made a big step forward with Dial Park Primary School when we organised our R.E Church experience for them. This involved coordinating with St. Alban’s Church in Offerton to invite the students from year 5 and 6 to visit the Church in the afternoon. It was a great success! All 70 children walked the 20 minutes from the school to the church, and arrived, giggly and excited, in the Autumn sunshine to be greeted by Father Andrew and the rest of our volunteers! After singing “Be bold, Be Strong!” together, we then split into 4 groups to tour around different parts of the church and learn about what happened in each area. We covered:
The Sunday School Room: Part of what we were hoping to do with this experience was to help the children see where they can fit into church life, and how the church is a place for them too. In the sunday school room we discussed the story of the cross, had some juice and biscuits, and then did a craft for them to take away.
The Font – This was a great opportunity for the children to line up what they had previously heard about baptism and christenings, with what actually happened in the church. Lots of questions were asked, the Font was peered into, and a few students got their hands wet dipping in a finger!
The Altar – The children had so much fun with this area! We recapped the story of the Last Supper and it’s importance, thought about communion and what it meant, and then the children had the opportunity to try on different liturgical robes and some choir robes! They loved to see the incense rising, and hear the little bells ringing! Some great photos were taken.
The Lady Chapel – We spent some time in the Lady Chapel talking about prayer. We spoke about the importance of candles in St. Alban’s, how they are used for prayer and worship, and then the children had the opportunity to write their own prayers on candle shaped cards and stick them on certain prompt words around the lady chapel. Here are some pictures of some of their prayers. As you can see, their simplicity and honesty is truly beautiful.
If you are looking for a stronger connection between your church and your local school, then the R.E. Church experience might be good for you! Please contact us, and we can talk about how we can help you organise the CiST R.E. Church experience in your local school and church.
Now we are looking forward to Mental Health Week next week, and our “Don’t Keep it a Secret” project in Stockport Academy.
We are collaborating with Lily Jo from the Lily Jo Project to take our assemblies into Stockport Academy and create our “secret space” for the students to use at lunchtime. Lily Jo is an amazing collaborator: as a solo artist and also a counsellor, she provides a unique and very relevant narrative for the young people. Lily Jo will be singing a moving and powerful original song as well as her person story. We will also be promoting the Lily Jo project, an online mental health resource for young people that allows them to access tips and advice in an exciting website and engaging videos. The topics cover everything from low mood to self harm, or grief and loss. You can check out the project here: www.thelilyjoproject.com
Please be praying for us next week. We will be doing our assembly from 8:30-8:45 every morning in school, and will have our secret space open between 13:00 and 14:00 every lunchtime. If you can think of us and pray for us at this time, please do!
Key prayer points:
- Please pray for our technical set-up. We have a video which we will be showing, and Lily Jo will be singing. We really need all of our tech to work well, every single day. Please pray for this.
- Please pray for the staff of the school. What we are talking about might open up some issues in their own lives, and this could have many different reactions. Maybe the staff will seek out their own help and an opportunity to talk, or maybe they will be prickly about the subject. Please pray that in any circumstance, the staff will be encouraged to face their own mental health and reach out for help.
- Please pray for the students. This is all about them, and all for their benefit. Please pray that they can find the strength to overcome the fear of stigma, or whatever it is that is holding them back, and come and talk to us. Please pray that any student who does share something with us will feel helped and looked after, and transition safely into regular support from the school pastoral team.
- Please pray for myself and Lily Jo, that we both stay in great health this coming week and can really give the project our all. This is a wonderful opportunity and we want God to bless the young people of Stockport Academy through it.
Thank you all for your prayers and continued support!