Pupil chaplains from four primary schools across Somerset met for their annual pilgrimage at Taunton Minister. Pupil chaplains usually come from year 5, they volunteer for the role, and are appointed, trained and commissioned.
The chaplains help lead prayer and worship, offer pastoral care to their fellow pupils, look out into the community and help, for instance, with food banks and dementia cafés. As a group they will meet regularly with their school chaplains to learn more about the Christian faith.
The annual Pupil Chaplaincy Retreat gives the Pupil Chaplains the opportunity to celebrate and pray, to learn more about their role and to learn from each other.
Jenna Cook, a Teaching Assistant at St John's Church of England Primary School, Wellington, joined a group of pupil chaplains visiting Taunton Minster. Jenna shares a few of her memories from the Pupil Chaplain Pilgrimage.
“Eight pupil chaplains in Year 5 from St John’s Church of England Primary school visited Taunton Minister St Mary Magdalene on this week.
Joining pupil chaplains from 3 other local schools, the children gathered for a day of reflection, prayers and discovering new things.
The day started with a quiz to get to know each other by finding someone with common interests, likes and dislikes, this included sharing shoe sizes and favourite sports. This was a great way for all of the children to meet each other. They then gathered for a quick sing along and then listened to a story led by Helena Power (our school chaplain) which was all about how every part of us is vital as is everyone.
The children then took part in separate activities. While walking around the church they completed a seek and find factsheet, looking at all of the carvings in the stone, taking turns on the lectern and trying their best to count all of the 200 angels (we managed 75!).
The chaplains were then able to get creative by colouring in and designing their own churches which then made 3D models. They also made people out of pipe cleaners to be shared amongst each other in the afternoons service.
After lunch, each school was given an important role to perform in a service at the end of the day. St John’s were given a song which they learnt, added live music and repetition, all within 20 minutes. This then became part of a service, along with prayers of thanks and a drama re-enactment of bible stories and sharing what they had learnt during their day.
The final part of the service invited all children and staff to take part in an Agape service. The service was to remember the final meal shared by Jesus and his followers, and gave the children a wonderful way to reflect on everything they had experienced that day and reflect on how they may use it back at school while completing their chaplains’ roles.
Children and staff had a wonderful day at St Mary Magdalene and the experience will be remembered by all for a very long time. The children, as always, made us extremely proud with their positive attitude to meeting new people and experiencing new things, and by overcoming fears by performing a song in such a short space of time in front of others."
If you would like more information about pupil chaplains please email Mike Haslam