Inspire Conference 2019
Our Inspire Stories
On Saturday 9 March, we are running the Inspire Conference - a chance to explore different ways that people in churches can support children and young people in schools.
The conference, which is taking place at Sheldon School in Chippenham, will look at how you might get involved by being a blessing and show the love of God in your local schools. It will also give you ideas that you have not yet thought of - ways for involvement and it may also invigorate some of the work you may already do. You can sign up for a place at the conference on our Eventbrite page.
We asked some of the people behind the conference to share the activities already taking place that show how churches are being a blessing to schools and colleges.
Building strong relationships between congregations and schools can be a lot of fun for both the adults and the children. At Langley Fitzurse Primary School we have a tradition of holding a Christingle service early in February to mark Candlemas, and raise funds for The Children’s Society. Each child brings in an orange, and during the morning volunteers from the local church help the pupils to create their Christingle, while talking about what the symbols mean. Having something to do together makes it much easier to have a conversation. The pupils love doing something creative (with sweets!) and spending time with new people. The staff give us a warm welcome, and love the juicy fragrance we leave behind!
As the children go up through the school they get more confident, and are able to explain about God’s love for the world, that Jesus is the light of the world, and the importance of sharing all the good things God gives to us. So that last year the older children also planned and led the Christingle service in the afternoon, and invited the adults. Our volunteers really enjoy spending time with the pupils – one morning a year may not seem much to offer, but it continues to make a big impact on everyone involved.
Big Questions Clubs
I used to run some lunchtime clubs in various schools called “Big questions”.The club was a safe space for children and young people to come and ask their big questions about life and to discuss them with others.
It helped the children and young people immensely to have a non-pressurised, informal space to explore and discover more about the deep spiritual aspects of life that we all wonder about.It was great to see the children/young people coming back week after week, with more questions and bringing their friends along too.
It helped me to realise even more that children and young people are fascinated in deep spiritual aspects of life and the world.And that they are open and eager to hear the beliefs of different faiths/world views on these issues.It was so simple to provide a time/space within the lunchtime for these clubs to happen, and required very little prep!The young people often asked me to share my own Christian beliefs, and it was fascinating to then allow other views/beliefs to be expressed and to see the children formulating their own beliefs.It awakened in me a spirit of exploration and discovery about the big questions in life.
Collective worship / Assembly
I love leading assemblies / collective acts of worship in school contexts.I love the challenge and privilege of leading a group of children into a “space” where they have the freedom to wonder, question, be still, and reflect.I led an assembly recently about the wonder of our world, the “wow” of what we have around us.
It was wonderful to see the children’s faces all engaged and focussed on the pictures/videos that we looked at.It was a joy to see the active listening that went on as I told the story of how the world began from a Christian perspective/the Bible.And lastly it was fantastic to see the children participating in their own reflection/prayer about the topic at the end of the session.There was a tangible sense of stillness and awe/wonder.Some of the children voluntarily came up at the end of the assembly and said Thank you to me.
Preparing and leading assemblies provides time and space for me to think about spiritual issues.I often find that I spiritually develop from these experiences.
Invitation to Inspire
Want more reasons to sign up to Inspire? We asked some of those involved in schools and youth work to explain why the conference is a great introduction to getting involved and being a blessing as you show the love of God in your local schools.