Over three days earlier this month, nearly 1000 pupils, staff and volunteers from primary schools across our diocese visited Canterbury Cathedral for the Cathedral Schools Days.
On 7, 8 and 9 November, year six pupils explored the Cathedral, focusing on a theme of looking after and preserving special places. The days gave children the opportunity to turn their hands to the ancient arts of stonemasonry and stained-glass window making, as well as engaging in drama, music, book making, costume trails around the Cathedral, and prayer spaces, amongst other things.
During their time in the prayer spaces, pupils and adults spent time ‘Dwelling in the Word’ focusing their curiosity, questions and observations on the story in Matthew 21 where Jesus turns the tables in the temple. This then enabled them to respond to the passage in their own way.
Many were struck by the themes of justice, responsibility, actions, not just words and using their emotions. Some of the responses included reflection, using prayer labyrinths, praying for the world, praying for the environment, journalling and colouring.
In the afternoons, the schools gathered together for inspiring pupil-led acts of worship in the Cathedral Nave. Children led the service, gave a talk, shared prayers and led people in the sung parts of the worship. Each day the pupils were joined by an archdeacon, and Bishop Rose shared in worship with the schools on the first day.
These days are done in partnership with Canterbury Cathedral Education department and the Diocese of Canterbury children, young people and schools team. The teams would like to say a huge thank you to all of the workshop leaders and volunteers from across our diocese who came to help and be a part of these days.
One headteacher shared: “For the pupils, just having such an opportunity to feel part of Canterbury Cathedral and to walk about it with such freedom creates connections for the children that is lifelong.
"All the workshops were engaging, achievable and inclusive so that the full range of individuals from our year 6 class shone.”