Church prayers around village school as it prepares to reopen
Church members in a Cumbrian village are set to pray around their primary school as it prepares to reopen following the coronavirus lockdown.
Members of Christ Church in Great Broughton plan to lead prayers outside Broughton Primary on Sunday evening ahead of lessons restarting the following day.
A church bell will also be rung at 8.55am on Monday morning, marking a point when villagers are encouraged to ‘Toot for Teachers’ by sounding car horns in support of all the children, staff and parents. People are also invited to clap children and their parents as they walk to school.
The Rev Canon Godfrey Butland, who lives in the village and is Team Rector for the Cockermouth Area Team and Grasmoor Mission Community Leader, came up with the idea.
He explained: “My first thought was to encircle the school with people from the village so that we could pray together but we soon realised that would not be appropriate due to social distancing.
“Our Monday night prayer group then developed things further. And now a dozen of us will gather in two groups on Sunday evening around the school building, with everyone suitably distanced and I shall also lead a short liturgy
“We’ve consulted with the school’s Headteacher thoughout as we wanted to make sure that everything was acceptable. We know staff are absolutely delighted and feel very encouraged to have such a strong sense of support.”
The group has also organised for a post box to be put up outside the school on Sunday, in which villagers are invited to leave messages of encouragement. Church members will then type them up and email them to the school’s Headteacher, Anna Bewsher.
“It means those message of support can be passed around to all the staff as the school reopens,” Godfrey added. “Anna has also said she would like to create a scrap book for all the messages collected.”
This is the first year in post for headteacher Anna Bewsher who has already had a successful Ofsted inspection only nine weeks after starting and has since had to deal with the school’s temporary closure due to COVID-19.
On Monday her school will open teaching ‘bubbles’ for pupils in Nursery, Reception, Year 1, Year 6 and those children of key workers. In total 53 children are expected to attend.
Mrs Bewsher said: “This support really does mean the world to me and all of our staff. It makes us feel very much appreciated in what has been a really stressful time.
“A priority for us is to have really good links with the wider community. It’s plain to see that we’ve got them – with the church and all those who live in the village. It’s fantastic to have this level of support.”
And for Godfrey, the Sunday evening prayers, the posting of messages of support and the sounding of car horns will reinforce a mission to share God’s blessing.
He added: “God wants us to turn to him, to receive his touch on our lives. In return we try to live in a way that pleases God and blesses our neighbours. That’s what ‘s behind all of this.”
For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01768 807764 or at email@example.com.