Worship council

Kington St Michael CE VC Primary
Katherine Bloomer
Kington St Michael, Chippenham

Kington St Michael is a village Church school of 124 pupils. It continually seeks to provide new opportunities for spiritual development. Having built up a good working relationship with the headteacher and staff, Katherine offered to set up a Worship Council – a way for worship to become meaningfully embedded in the life of the school community.

The Worship Council is composed of 8 children in Key Stage 2 who are elected by their classmates each year. They meet with Katherine once a term to shape the style, pattern and content of their daily collective worship. Their recommendations, made after listening to classes’ feedback, are fed into the School Council of children and staff and to the school’s Collective Worship Coordinator.

The group started with practical elements. Because the school is fortunate in having a number of different visitors coming in to lead collective worship, they drew up guidelines to provide some consistency. The children also chose which version of The Lord’s Prayer they liked best to use regularly. From this, a competition was held for the children to write their own prayers to be used in class at the end of the school day.

The children then moved on to look at the shape of worship, and discovered the importance of colour, symbols, repetition and the value of ritual. As they gather to worship, a candle is lit and a song sung – the candle sits on a table draped with a cloth of the appropriate liturgical colour. The younger children take it in turns to snuff the candle at the end of worship. They are now looking at the space where they worship – the multi-purpose school hall – and finding ways in which to make it special and distinctive. This has led to an after-school club to make a banner to hang up during collective worship times.

While it is hoped that becoming familiar with Anglican language and rituals will make visiting church less alien, the real value has been seeing the children become engaged in conversations about God and worship and being able to participate in a way that is more meaningful and relevant to them. Children (and staff!) have given meaningful input and been equipped with greater skills and under-standing to lead worship. This was affirmed by the local PCC who invited the Council to make recommendations for re-development plans in the church; frank and insightful responses were given!