Wisdom and Justice - Balderstone and beyond!
Micah 6:8: 'The Lord God has told us what is right and what he demands: "See that justice is done; let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God."'
This year, as a school worshipping family we shall be continuing on our journey of discovery through God’s Big Story with a focus in the first term on wisdom (what does it mean to be wise as a Christian?) and how this links to justice
Personal justice - 'playing fair' with others; respecting others' rights; acting responsibly and fairly with the people we meet each day. Living out our school’s mission statement in all we do in and around our school and communities
Social justice speaking up on behalf of others in the community; recognising that others are fellow human beings with the same rights as ourselves; making sure all voices are heard impartially; challenging biased reporting, unfair practices and institutional prejudice; working for a fairer society
Global justice - honouring human rights for all people – linked to the statement in our mission of ‘Loving one another’ as part of a global family; campaigning for a fairer world; challenging unfair systems of trade and exposing financial exploitation; speaking up for the poor, the marginalised and the vulnerable; giving a fair hearing to migrant workers, refugees, the forgotten poor and the powerless; speaking up against global inequality; reassessing our own experiences of justice in the light of global issues
As this half term also includes Harvest festival, we shall be exploring a ‘just harvest’ and how this links to our work towards becoming a Fairtrade school and also our work with the Beluba Foundation – harvesting a just future for our twin school. The British values links are with the idea of democracy and rule of law (our laws make sure that people are not hurt or exploited by others and to protect us from our own worst behaviour!) However, we want the children to understand that as Christians we have to be ready to stand up to injustice and challenge and change rules/laws/systems if they are not following our golden rule – “treating others as you want them to treat you (Matthew 7:12) linked to our mission statement. It also links to forgiveness – justice is about not judging but forgiving and making change. We want our children, this term to feel (through prayer and worship) that they can and ARE making a difference to God’s world – acting on behalf of others through supporting them in prayer, understanding and supporting Fairtrade and also school council and Salt and Light group involvement in school decision making.
This week in school and in church we have been thinking about Harvest. The BIG QUESTION for this week has been, 'When will there be a harvest for the World?' We have considered the fact that there is real injustice in the world and how we, as people of faith, can and should help make the world a fairer place.
The Salt and Light group have met to plan the church Harvest service and also to think about how we can be courageous advocates for charities and local projects. The children have decided to set up a Charity calendar of giving and to have a different charity cause for every month. More details to follow...
The children in Squirrel class have been busy making soup this week, ready for Harvest fellowship after school on Friday and also to take to our local Salvation Army soup kitchen. We have taken some soup to some of our local neighbours who are rather poorly at this time.
Reverend Charles joined us for worship this week and got us to think about the food of the world and also how we can be the ears, eyes, hands, and heart of God in our local community and school.
Fulfilled in the story of Easter...
During the last week of term, we focused, as a school, on the epic events of Holy Week. We spent an amazing day together, as a school family, journeying through the events of the week culminating with our contemplation on the symbols of Salvation - the cross. We spent the day in the woods exploring 13 stations each reflecting on one part of God's master plan. It helped us to consider God's love for us and to really think about our own response to Jesus' sacrifice for us. Back in school, we made our own resurrection egg, as a focus for our prayers and a keepsake of the day's learning. The Salt and Light values group led our worship in church on Friday morning and helped us to respond to the events of Easter and to celebrate Jesus' victory!
WOW our God is an awesome God! We are off on an epic journey, exploring God's amazing rescue plan for us all. So get ready to travel through the richness of God's Word to consider how God has woven his plan for Salvation throughout the pages of the Bible. Our Salt and Light group will be leading us through the first part of God's Big Story. We shall be exploring God the masterpiece creator, Man and how we fell from Grace and then starting to learn about God's warriors paving the way for his rescue plan.
The worship for this term is initially based on the theme of ‘Transformers’ and is focusing on God’s amazing transformational power. We are also starting off our British values work on the Sounds of Identity project – exploring our themes of democracy, local identity and tolerance, and respect for others. We have explored people who have had their lives changed by faith, both transformed characters from the Bible like Jonah, Joshua and Saul but also people living more recently who have transformed their own lives and others' - Sybil Pheonix, William Wilberforce, Elizabeth Fry, Edith Cavell and William Tyndale.
This first half-term we are preparing for Harvest and using the theme of trees to help us think about God's amazing creation. We are exploring the lyrics of the wonderful worship song '10,000 reasons' to think about all the many reasons we have to be thankful. We are exploring all that God provides us with and thinking about how we, as a church school, can spread our Christian values to others (like scattering seeds). We are launching the Bishop's Harvest appeal and considering how we can support the work of Tree Aid and also Fair trade.
We are then exploring the theme of 'Transformers' as we approach half-term, considering how God creates a new creation in us. We shall be thinking about inspirational people from the Bible and also role models, who have lived out God's Word in their lives.
This half-term we are thinking about our Christian family around the world and how we are all part of the family of faith. We are also considering how we are all linked to different parts of the globe. Some of us have family or friends all over God's world and we have been praying for them and also for the places in the world that have been in the news or places that have special meaning to us. We discovered that although we have a shared identity as part of our Badlerstone school family, we also have links across 5 out of 7 continents. Some of us had family and friends in Europe, Australia, North & South America, Australia and Asia. No-one had family in Antrctica!
We are following the migration of Sparkle the Swallow as she makes her annual journey from the eaves of our church in Balderstone across the globe to Africa. On the way we are finding out about how Christians and people from other faiths worship. Bea from Christian Aid has been in to school to help us understand how charities such as theirs support people beyond Balderstone. As a church and school we have been able to make a £120 donation to the work of Christian Aid. A huge thank you to our church and their Big Breakfast and school counil for helping us raise the money for this donation. We are also focusing closely on the theme of refugees this half -term. Aderyn, from our church, came to talk to the Salt and Light group about the church's work with the Asylum and Refugee Centre (ARC) in Blackburn. The children led worship in church at our family service this month and they are planning worship in school to help us learn more about refugees. We have thought about great missionaries such as St Paul and how they have spread the love of God across the world. Watch this space for more of Sparkle's adventures beyond Balderstone...
Easter worship - Journeying to the cross
All week we have been Journeying through holy week. Every class has taken a turn in leading worship this week. A reception class started off our journey telling us all about the events of Palm Sunday. We even had a donkey attend our outdoor worship, to help us understand how Jesus entered Jerusalem as a king. On Tuesday, squirrel class continued our journey through Holy Week, by teaching us all about the Passover and the Last Supper. Mr Bargh brought in one of his lambs to help us to understand why Jesus is the Lamb of God. On Wednesday, Fox class took us into the garden of Gathsemane to think about Jesus' arrest and trial. Badger class led a really moving worship, getting us to think about the sadness and sacfifice of Good Friday.
This morning we held our church service with our Salt and Light group leading the worship. The children took us on a real journey of emotion, helping us to consider the joy and sadness of Easter. The service was a lovely mix of reflection and celebration and we left feeling very uplifted. Many thanks for our ethos group for taking such a key role in delivering and planning this important celebration in the worship life of our school.
God is at the heart of everything we do in our school. Worship is a central part of our daily life at Balderstone St Leonard's and this page will keep you up-to-date with all our current worship themes and the exciting work our new worship group "SALT and LIGHT' are going to be doing in helping to plan and evaluate worship in school.
This half term we are exploring Giants of faith, looking closely at some Christian role models from the Old and New testaments. We are also exploring some role models, who have demonstrated Christian values in action in their lives and dealings with others. We are learning from the lives of people such as Martin Luther King and Corrie Ten Boom, thinking about how their own courage and faith helped them through troubling times. As a school family, from youngest to oldest we are trying to learn memory verses of key parts of the Word to help us understand the value of courage. This half-term we are learning:
Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go ”
We have launched this work this week by exploring the new version of the BFG film and exploring the relationship between Sophie and the giant. The BFG says to Sophie, “The matter with human beans," the BFG went on, "is that they is absolutely refusing to believe in anything unless they is actually seeing it right in front of their own schnozzles.” We are thinking carefully about our own faith and how we can trust in God and learn from giants of faith such as: Moses, Joseph, Ruth, Esther, Paul and David. The children came up with some great ideas for their own versions of the BFG:
Brilliant follower of God
Brave Father God
Best Forgiving God
Be a Friend of God
We are evaluating our worship times together, thinking carefully how our worship is helping us learn more about God, each other and helping develop our own personal faith. Every week we are thinking about 4 main 'big' questions about the 'Giant of Faith' we have looked at each week.
What makes this person a giant of faith?
How could I learn from this person and use this in my own life?
How would I feel if I was in this person's shoes?
How would I react if I was in their position?
Come and join us on our epic journey into the Bible to explore some real Giants of faith!
We are very excited about the launch of our new Christian values group called Salt and Light. This name has been chosen by our staff and children because it really explains how we try to spread God's Word throughout our school and local community. The Bible verse is taken from Matthew's gospel and says:
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Our Salt and Light children are going to be working as a team with our staff, governors and parents to make sure that our special worship time with God and each other is the most precious time of our school day!
Bethany Project Visit
We were truly blessed to have a visit from the Bethany project choir in our worship. The children shared their own life experiences with us, which made us really think about the many blessings we have and might take for granted every day. The music, singing and prayer was amazing and the hall was filled with awe inspiring praises. The children presented images of their school, church and houses and we even had a go at carrying the water buckets that the children are expected to carry on their heads! We struggled to simply life them! We prayed together as Christians from across the continents and we discovered that despite the many differences in our lives, we also had many, many similarities (we all knew how to dab!) The children enjoyed fellowship with one another and were pleased to share the good news that the school council and fundraising from the cake sale had raised over £120 to donate to the project. We shall continue to hold our brothers and sisters from Tanzania in our school prayers.