Having won the competition run by the Oxford Diocese to design a banner which would be paraded at this special service, the year 6 children worked extremely hard with Miss Downie to create it over the last few weeks. On Friday 14th October 30 children ‘picked out of a hat’ travelled up to London to attend the service which was attended by children and representatives of dioceses from around the country.
Stepping into this impressive setting certainly filled us all with awe and wonder! We sat marvelling at our surroundings in seats quite near the altar, recalling the recent Royal Wedding which took place not long ago. We were joined by Anne Davey, the new Director of Education for the Oxford Diocese and Lesley Turville, our diocesan schools adviser.
Soon the service began, conducted by the Dean of Westminster and echoes of a wonderful choir sang ‘Exulte Deo’ before a packed Westminster Abbey congregation of school children, teachers, church and education leaders joined in singing, “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation,” whilst the banners from 48 dioceses were paraded down the centre aisle.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams spoke of the importance of church schools in providing an environment for children to become good citizens. He said that whether pupils were of the Christian faith or not, church schools provided the vision for them ‘to see the biggest possible picture of humanity and the world they live in.’ The Archbishop praised the founders of the National Society.
The service continued with some dancers from Croydon and readings by performers from York and we all joined in song and prayer before the service concluded with a final blessing.
It was a spectacular day for our school and a memorable one for the children who participated in it.