The RE Department I see....

The Department I see is God and Learning-centred, Purpose-driven and pupil-empowering!
The Department I see is all-inclusive,
A place where every child matters on the basis of who they are, not what they do, or don't do.
Differences on a Social, Cultural, Religious, Ethnic, Disability or Gender basis are irrelevant. 
Our core value, our very DNA is that everybody counts, matters and belongs. Full stop.
St. Christopher's RE Department is a place where all pupils will be given multiple opportunities to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ for themselves. They will also be given opportunity to engage with, be enriched by, and learn from the other five main religions in the world: Buddhism, Hindu Dharma, Islam, Judaism and Sikh Dharam as well as the claims of those with no religion.
At St. Christopher's RE Department, belief is everything. The belief that things can be changed and improved, that the ordinary can be taken and made into the extraordinary. Any boundary can be moved, any opinion can be changed, any problem can be solved. The belief that we all should have goals, aims and outrageous ambitions. More than anything, it's the belief that we all have the strength within us to make our dreams come true.
The greatest gift you can bring with you to your lessons is a spirit of agreement with this vision.

Mr. C. J. Pountain
(Head of RE/Director of Spirituality)
 

Spirituality News - Autumn 2016

 
This term, we have tried to wrap our termly news update around four strands of the Church of England's Vision for Education nationally: Deeply Christian, Serving the Common Good, as follows:
 
Why should the C. of E. be committed to education?
 
At St. Christopher's, we recognise that all things and all people are intrinsically related to Christ and that the God of all creation is concerned with everything related to education. In this spirit, our Destiny-themed Year 11 Spirituality Day on Wednesday 9th November incorporated a study skills strand from external provider, 'Positively Mad'. This was an acknowledgement that there is no such thing as a sacred/secular divide and this sat comfortably alongside contributions from Emma Owen, from the Message Trust on 'Destiny and Abuse' highly popular Christian rap artists, 'Vital Signs' and a number of our own staff offering Destiny-themed contributions, including Mr. Cuff on our Sixth Form, and Miss Davey on 'Destiny and Evil'. This year, we were able to respond to pupil comments on the evaluation forms last time, and give pupils a degree of choice for some of the sessions. We were delighted that we were able to do this, believing that freedom of choice reflects the dignity (another strand of the vision) we are uniquely created with as human beings, and so were our pupils.
 
Our education 'eco-system'
 
We recognise that the church is committed to a vision of religious plurality in the UK, allowing and encouraging settings where there can be an ongoing negotiation in which a diversity of voices is heard. We recognise fully that our school is a microcosm of society itself, and we have a huge responsibility to prepare our pupils for life in the 21st century UK. In this spirit, our annual Year 8 Spirituality Day on Monday 3rd October included an extremely well received contribution from Anwar Afraisiab, a Muslim schools-worker, employed full-time by 'Building Bridges', Pendle, who communicated with passion clarity about 'Islam and British Values' and whose systematic dismantling of IS as both un-Islamic and not in any way recognisable 'state' was a real highlight for pupils. 
 
Educating for life in all its fullness
 
Back at the very beginning of term, even before our first week had ended, on Friday 9th September, we were delighted that our Year 7 Spirituality Day formed part of our contribution to the 'Crossroads' mission to the Accrington Deanery. Teams from the north east, brought in by the Diocese worked extremely effectively alongside our own teams and usual contributors to communicate the Gospel message with clarity. 
 
Wisdom, hope, community and dignity 
 
This half term, our assembly themes have reflected all of these Christian virtues as we have drawn Christmas, Advent, Christ the King, Remembrance, anti-bullying and even the Church of England calendar's 'ordinary time' together around a 'Be Prepared' theme. Last half term, our pupils experienced another excellent series delivered by our Chaplains and senior staff entitled: 'Good things pioneered by the church and committed Christians in modern society'. This included the United Nations declaration of human rights, the Church as the largest single provider of education in the world and the impact Christians have had on the English language and culture, for example the King James Bible.
 
This term, our Christian Union has continued to go from strength to strength, our form worship co-ordinators have continued to do an excellent job connecting their forms to their creator in the mornings when they are not in the assembly, and our programme of every form receiving their own Eucharist, led by their year chaplain, has continued to gather momentum. These form Eucharists are in addition to the two whole year group Eucharists each year group take part in (this term, Year 8 had an Advent Communion at the beginning of December, and Year 7, 10 and the Sixth Form each had their own, celebrating 'new beginnings' in various ways). These are also in addition to the Communion celebrations that close the Spirituality Days (every year group has one of those) and all are led by our year group chaplains.  
 
We have continued to proactively support St. Nicholas' Friday Praise this term, with all Year 9 pupils designing and delivering leaflets to advertise the services as part of their Archbishop of York Young Leaders award. We look forward to welcoming Archbishop Sentamu to our site in February to present the award - more details to follow! St. Nicholas' Friday Praise is the 'first of the fifty' new congregations that will be established in the Diocese in line with Bishop Julian's vision to establish fifty new congregations in the Diocese by 2026. We have established our own St. Christopher's Vision 2026 grid in support of this vision, where we have looked to establish at least 5 new worship initiatives per year over the next 10 years. This shows our full support to the Diocese generally and Bishop Julian in particular. So far, it looks like this:
 

Year/idea

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023

2024

2025

Idea 1

The 'Higher' tour.

The 'schools 500 Reformation' initiative.

Fully support launch of Accrington youth church

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Idea 2

A Reflection Journal for Y9.

Launch of Thrive Accrington @ St. C's.

60 years of St. Christopher's - celebration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Idea 3

Launch of Archbp of York young leaders' award.

 

 

 

 

 

 

65 years of St. Christopher's - celebration.

 

 

Idea 4

Special Services planned and delivered entirely by pupils.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Idea 5

Crossroads

 

Renew REQM Gold.

 

 

Renew REQM Gold.

 

 

Renew REQM Gold.

 

 
We are looking forward to our Christmas services on the final day of term when all pupils and students from six of our seven year groups will experience 'In Yer Face' professional Christian Theatre company's latest production. As always, Year 9 will have their own Eucharist service instead. We are absolutely certain that every one of our pupils will be left in no doubt about what the Christmas message truly is.

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