Happy Christmas!

Last week, we spent three days with Notre Dame running Prayer Spaces. 254 children from Reception to Year 6, spent time in their transformed library exploring Advent and the Christmas story using a variety of activities. One of our stations let the children think about what they were waiting for this Christmas, they could write or draw it on a paper clock and place it in a manger as a sign that they trust in God’s timing. Another looked at how God guided the Wise Men with a star and how God guides us in our journey through life. Each child got to take a small star as a reminder that God is always with them. We looked at the gifts the Wise Men gave too, and how we can use our gifts, talents and abilities to help others. The children wrote things like “I can help tidy the house”, or “I can buy food for the food bank” on gift tags and stuck them onto our pile of presents. It made the children think of others and how they can use what they’re good at to bless other people. We also had a large map of the world and encouraged the children to write prayers for those people in the world who are treated unfairly or looked down on, like the Shepherds were. Prayers included “Dear God, our world is being destroyed because of climate change, please help us to serve you”, and “Dear God, please look after everyone”. The prayers were beautiful and eye opening to see what was on the children’s hearts. Our last station looked at how Mary and Joseph couldn’t take much “stuff” with them on their journey. We linked this with how we find it hard to forgive people sometimes and that unforgiveness can slow us down on our journey through life. Using Fizzy Forgiveness, we asked God to help us forgive others and let go of “stuff” that will slow us down. It was a lovely few days and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The children interacted very well and we had some great conversations. Thank you to all of the volunteers who gave up their time to come and help us out. Please have a look at some photos from Notre Dame below.

Over the past two weeks we have delivered four lessons to year 8’s on the Christian views on the problem of evil and suffering at La Mare. This is always an interesting session to lead as students grapple with big questions such as, ‘Why is there evil in the world?’ and ‘Where does evil come from?’ We look at the significance of free will and how God did not create programmed robots but free thinking individuals. We give the students the opportunity to get into the character of God and ask them what they would do in different situations… often their version of God involves them acting like the Hulk, Iron Man or the Flash! This is never an easy lesson to lead as the questions are difficult and there are no easy answers but it is a great opportunity to give students the chance to explore these deep ideas.

Yesterday we had our last “Space for PACE” of the year with Nicole Le Goupillot. Nicole gave us some time to reflect on some Christmas songs/carols and a corresponding verse and prompting question. We had time alone to read through these and see if anything struck us. We could then share this with the team and discuss what we had reflected on. It was a great end to the term, thank you Nicole!

As the term comes to a close and some of us get away for Christmas, we reflect on the different, challenging but amazing term we have had. With Emma leaving, Victoria joining, Sarah away for a few weeks and Phil having his hip replacement we have been busy! But we have come together as a team and had a really great term.