Father Philip’s APCM report on our work with local schools

In the past year we have developed an increasingly close relationship with our church school, St John’s CE Primary. The familiar pattern of term-time,  whole-school,  week day services in church at Harvest, Christmas and Easter has continued, each time the church is filled with children,  staff  and  parents/carers.  At  the Easter Service Reception children now regularly present us with an Easter garden to be placed in our altar.

Clergy from St John’s also lead regular weekly collective worship in school on Wednesdays. With such a large school, (400+) this weekly commitment makes for a substantial part of our outreach work.

Last year’s Patronal festival kick-started school involvement in the church’s festival worship. We were fortunate to be joined by the new school choir.  During the year the school choir has been developing a repertoire  of  powerful  songs  that  they perform with gusto. We are delighted that they will be performing a lunchtime concert in church in the summer term.

Since last year’s Patronal Festival the school’s Ethos Committee and staff have  contributed  intercessions  and  readings  at  Harvest, Fr Philip’s Licensing and on Mothering Sunday. This year children from the school came to church to make and distribute the posies.

At  Christmas,  children  from the school contributed a tree for our Christmas Tree Festival, at its close all came to the church to see the wonderful display. Our regular Christmas Crib Service numbers have continued to increase each year. This year we led a Christingle Service in church after school for families from St John’s School. Money was raised for The Children’s Society. The Christingles were lovingly made by church volunteers at our Tuesday Coffee morning.

St John’s is not the only school we now have involvement with. We now make termly visits to Midsomer Norton Primary to take assembly and  Norton Hill Primary regularly invites us to teach pupils about Christmas and Easter. Classes at St John’s also receive teaching from us at these times. This coming year we would like to increase contact with Welton and Longvernal Primary Schools. Welton and MSNP regularly visit the church as part of their RE studies.

An  important  part  of  our  focus  this  past  year  has been through involvement with a diocesan initiative called Launchpad. Through it we hope  to  develop  some  kind  of  support  for  pupils  moving  on to secondary school. What shape that takes will be up to pupils in Y6, who we are currently working with in church twice every term. They come to spend time in their church, to talk and share, to reflect and learn, and experience our hospitality…especially cake! Mrs Marshall’s baking has found a new and enthusiastic market! Staff and pupils have valued the sessions and we hope to make this a regular part of each pupil’s final year at St John’s.

At  the  end  of  the year, our Y6 children will prepare to move on to secondary school. Our hope is that in some way St John’s remains their church, and that some kind of regular contact can be fostered. What form that will take, whether it involves us visiting them, or vice versa will be up to them.

Other recent developments have included the start of a school based afterschool drama club, the appointment of a new school governor (Fr Philip) and a new school librarian (Pat Marriott).

And finally a request, please be wary of judging our work with young people  purely  by  what  you  see in church between 10-11am on a Sunday morning.   Things  are happening, seeds are being sown and progress is being made. Thank you.

Fr Philip



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