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Posted by: Staff | 27 October 2016

Worship in school or a school in worship?

Acts of collective worship reflecting the religious character of a school are a daily requirement in UK education. CFS is a confident Christian community of parents and teachers and we were recently challenged to imagine what worship might look like within the context of a whole school day.

So on a Tuesday in October, we joined together in our first day of school-wide worship. Each class explored a different theme during the morning, some year groups joining together and older pupils from Years 10 and 11 helping younger classes. Then the whole afternoon was given over to an extended whole school assembly with parents invited to join in.

The experience was variously described as ‘amazing’, ‘humbling’, ‘absolute privilege’ and ‘beautiful’. It was certainly inspiring. Many of the themes were perhaps predictably linked with creative arts. Psalms were written, a dance was created and performed, many drawings celebrating creation were displayed.

But there was much more.

One group had researched the life of Eric Liddell and his expression of worship through using his skill for speed, re-enacting a scene from the film Chariots of Fire. Another spent the morning considering the Jewish Tabernacle and how physical space and design could be used to point to truths about God’s nature and dealings with people. Some had explored the beauty of created order as reflected in symmetry, others considered worship in the context of mission, finding out more about the religious make-up of the globe.

Art, sport, design, drama, maths, geography, history and English all woven through with worship.

Towards the end of the afternoon, the final group shared displays documenting their consideration of food in worship. They had studied the Passover and references to it in the Gospels and spent some of the morning baking bread. Their work then led on to exploration of the issues around honouring food producers through initiatives such as FairTrade, the contemporary problem of food waste and finally how sharing our resources is a vital expression of worship, including through social phenomena like Food Banks. ‘I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink’.

As small groups of pupils, teachers and parents broke and shared the freshly baked bread around the hall, the day was brought to an end with song and prayer accompanied by the school worship band.

It was such a great picture of what CFS aspires to be week in week out. An authentic and communal exploration of God’s involvement and relevance in all that a school does – in the curriculum, in service to each other and in spiritual growth. It is an amazing privilege to be part of a school in worship.

Mr Sopwith