Our school sits opposite St. Mary's Church, and is an 'aided' school (a church school aided by the Local Authority). It was first set up in 1885 by the Seys and Bridges Trust, the source of our endowment, and our church continues to be very influential in all we do. The governing body includes Reverend Peter Francis, and determines the Religious Education Syllabus taught at the school. This sympathetically absorbs the Gloucestershire Agreed RE syllabus, which blends the core teachings of Christianity with knowledge and understanding of other religions and the Understanding Christianity resource. Staff and governors are appointed with our Christian ethos in mind.
St Mary's, Woodchester
Each Monday morning, members of the church ministry lead Collective Worship and 'Open the Book' where stories from the Bible are brought to life in a visual way through a series of short plays.
'Open the Book'
Here is a scene from Epiphany.
Our classes take turns to share worship with the Open the Book team.
Services and Messy Church
The school holds at least four church services a year, and once a term the church opens its doors for a creative frenzy at 'Messy Church', which is open to all children in the community. Many school children and their families come to the Christingle and crib services, and Sunday morning services make special arrangements and inspiration for Junior Church.
SEASONS OF THE CHURCH YEAR
Our worship table is decorated with a coloured cloth, appropriate to the season of the church year. It is used to create the sacred space for worship. But which colour and when?
The church calendar is made up of seasons that follow the life of Jesus. The church year begins in late November or early December with Advent, a time of preparation for Jesus’ birth. In Christian churches one of four colours – purple, green, gold (or white) and red – referred to as ‘liturgical colours’, are used for altar linen, clergy robes and various hangings. The colour reflects the season, so that for instance in Advent purple is used, a colour of royalty because we are preparing to welcome the coming of a king. Purple is used again in Lent because it also symbolizes suffering and pain.
At Christmas and Easter the colour changes to white or gold, both bright optimistic colours for festivals, times for joy and celebration. Between the festivals green cloths symbolize all living things, renewal and promise of new life. And finally, red is the colour of fire, used in churches to celebrate Pentecost and saints’ days.
The table below shows the colours that are used through the year.
For our youngest children it is simply enough to be aware that there is a cycle of different colours to celebrate times and seasons in the church year.