My plans for the whole school assembly on Friday were changed, as you would expect, by the events which took place on Westminster Bridge and outside the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday. In keeping with many other institutions, we flew our Union Flag in the central quad of the school at half-mast on Thursday as a mark of respect for those who lost their lives, and those who were injured, in the senseless attack. Then, on Friday morning, I decided to focus not on the attack itself, but on the ways in which we, as people made in the image of God, can work daily to resist the tide of division and hatred that often seems to overwhelm society.
The assembly started with a world map, and the pupils were asked to raise their hands to indicate where they were able to trace some of their family heritage in personal or older generations – it was a truly global gathering of very excited and proud young people! We talked about how in today’s world people from all over the planet spend their lives living side by side in all corners of the globe. Attention then turned to our school mission statement:
“To walk hand in hand with God, loving Him, loving each other and loving ourselves, doing our best with the gifts He gave us to make the world a better place.”
I asked the children to think especially about how they could carry out the underlined sections of our mission statement in their classrooms, on our playgrounds and in their homes. I explained to the children, in two parts to match the two age groups of the different Key Stages in school, how shared values of democracy, respect for law, mutual tolerance and the defence of personal liberty are the foundations and strengths of our modern society.
We then finished with the following prayer, which you may wish to use with your children if they have been affected by what they may have seen of events in London this week
Let us pray…
For the people who died in London on Wednesday
For the people who were hurt in London
For the friends and families of all of the victims
For the brave people who helped at the scene
For the loving people who are caring for the victims
For peace in our lives, our country and our world
We make this prayer together in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Mr R Cunningham