The intention of this work is to complement the requirements of the Understanding Christianity resource produced for Church of England schools by the Church of England and RE Today in 2016. (RE Today Services works nationally and internationally to support Religious Education in schools.)
The driver for the research arose from speaking with many primary school teachers when they visited the Education Department at Chester Cathedral. They spoke about this new schools’ resource, saying that they found it difficult and challenging because they did not really have a personal grasp of core Christian concepts themselves. They therefore felt ill-equipped to deliver it effectively for children in the classroom.
This concern dovetailed with the requirement from a Cathedral Education perspective to provide relevant and engaging visits that meet the curriculum needs of our schools.
Any place of Christian worship — a Cathedral or otherwise — is well placed to help children to encounter Christianity through examining scriptural text, to recognise the impact of beliefs on Christians in their daily lives, and to make connections with other aspects of their learning.
This presented an opportunity for Anglican places of worship to offer themselves as a resource for schools; to open their doors to teachers and their classes and become places of welcome, exploration and engagement with the core concepts of the Christian faith. For a cathedral in particular — with so much to offer in the way of heritage, symbolism, stained glass and more — there is an opportunity to engage a whole new generation in a dynamic and open way; to explore Christian beliefs, discuss scriptural texts, examine their impact on believers today and their application in today’s world.
Thanks to the Farmington Fellowship award, I have been able to spend time researching and unpacking three of the eight core Christian concepts outlined in the Understanding Christianity resource (Creation, Incarnation and Salvation), as part of a 30-day scholarship. I have devised and piloted trails, encounters and activities, and evaluated and refined the offer in light of feedback received.