Monday, August 2, 2021

Message to All Saints' Benhilton Primary School Year 6 Leavers


All Saints Benhilton

Church of England Primary School

One of the blessings of being Vicar of All Saints’ Benhilton in south-east London is that the church, the vicarage and the school are on the same block, making for a partnership of ministry and support. We marked the last day of the school year (Friday 23rd July) with a Year 6 Leavers’ Service in All Saints’ Church. The children led most of the service which was one of thanksgiving to God for blessings received at the school. We also prayed for our Lord’s continued blessing on the children as they (soon) begin their secondary education.

The children marked this milestone in their lives by writing a ‘year book’ in which each reflected on their lives at ‘ASB’. I was asked to contribute something. This is what I wrote:   

Dear Year 6 leavers,

What a time you have had in Year 6! Nobody really thought that the pandemic would last so long, and that your entire final year at All Saints’ Benhilton Primary School would be spent under lockdown conditions. But, with the loving support of your families and teachers, as well as the support you have given each other, you have done so well. You have been inspiring. 

Of course, the other dimension that is so important at our school is the experience we share of anchoring into God’s love and strength through worship, prayer, reading the Bible and sometimes just sitting in silence, or supporting each other when we are really struggling. We have learned that our faith is not just a bit of decoration on the edge of our lives, or a kind of hobby to make us ‘feel good’; it is rather a deep seated instinct to cling on to the reality of God’s presence and love, even in times of darkness when there are more questions than answers.

So, although you missed out on a handful of the more predictable things that occur at school, the experience of faith and community which has helped us all through the lockdowns is itself a kind of education that will strengthen you immeasurably for the rest of your lives.

May you know God’s blessing as you go from All Saints’ into the next chapter of your life’s adventure. I give you one of my favourite verses from the Bible which has meant a lot to me throughout my life:

‘The eternal God is your refuge

and underneath are the everlasting arms.’

(Deuteronomy 33:27)

- Father David


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