Church Relationships

The Church of England in Durham

Positioned so close to Durham City Centre, we are lucky to be able to form relationships with a host of Church establishments, creating many, mutually beneficial, opporunitites.

Our parent Church, St. Margaret's, host many whole school services, including termly worship for all pupils. St. John's Church, positioned nearer to our building but with a smaller capcity offers the opportunity for more personal worship such as Year 6 Eucharist. Durham Cathedral, also in walking distance, hosts many events combined with other schools, including the Year 6 leavers service and the 'Children in Need Christmas Carol Service' where our choir perform annually. With Christmas and Easter workshops also being held at North Road Methodist Church, our pupils certainly gain a great deal from the diverse worship opportunities which Durham has to offer.

Father Barnaby Huish, our rector, leads our involvement in the local churches.

End of Term Service at St. Margaret's Church

At the end of the Autumn, Spring and Summer term, all 420+ of our pupils and staff walk the short distance down the bank to enjoy worship at St. Margaret's Church. Each service has a focus based upon Christmas, Easter and 'Moving On' respectively.

We are lucky to have such a historical and beautiful parent church, which brings a superb atmosphere and reverence to our lives before we break for the holidays. Congregational hymns, singing by KS1 and KS2, plus performance by the choir are always a feature and the sound produced is incredible.

Pupil leadership is important in all of the services and children always lead the readings, selected from the bible by Fthr. Barnaby. Particularly at Christmas and Easter, our younger pupils lead the procession in to the church, celebrating the journey of Mary and Joseph and the arrvial of Jesus at Jerusalem. Many artifacts are used to represent these main times of the Christian calendar and a tableau at the front of the church helps all ages to understand the significance of the occassion.

As well as the sermon, in which Fthr. Barnaby likes to involve as many pupils as possible in interactive ways, pupils often use drama and even liturgical dance to bring impact and excitement to the service.

The end of year service is always emotional, being the last worship in school for year 6 pupils, who are presented with their own bible, in the hope they will continue their personal religious journey.

Eucharist

Pupils in year 5 and 6 are given the opportunity to participate in a service of Holy Communion. Taking place at St. John's Church, they are led through the service to help them learn about this traditional and important Anglican service. Led by Father Barnaby, pupils assist by singing, reading and praying. All pupils receive the opportunity to take bread and wine if that matches theirs, and their family, beliefs. Pupils can also opt to receive a blessing as part of the service. Year 6 pupils also enjoy a special 'end of school' Eucharist service in preparation for their transition to secondary education.

Easter Journey

During Lent, Year 5 visit North Road Methodist Church, to experience the 'Easter Journey'. This most beautfiul of chapels is transformed in to a variety of experience spaces where pupils can smell, taste, see and hear the important events which built up to the resurrection of Jesus.

Pupils and staff have great fun but, most importantly, leave with a wealth of knowledge about the Easter story and hopefully a better understanding of the importance of Jesus in our lives. 

Y6 Leaver's Eucharist

At the end of the summer term, pupils in Year 6 take part in a special leavers Eucharist service. Given especially for them and their parents, the children reflect on their time in our school, the challenges of current transition and the hopes and possibilities for their future. We use St. Margaret's Church, as the space allows the service to move through the building, starting at the font to represent the beginning of their journey and then moving through the Church to the altar, where pupils may receive bread and wine or a simple blessing for the future. The pupils wrote prayers, read from the bible and presented their 'story sticks' to the church. The story sticks were created during forest school sessions and include a selection of items and decoration to remind them of their journey so far. All pupils then received a bible and school book mark to support them in their future life.

End of Year Service at Durham Cathedral

For years now, our end of year service has been held in St. Margaret's Church. The size of the building, however, meant that parents were unable to attend, as our 420 pupils filled the building. For the first time this year, after some hard work by Fthr. Barnaby, Durham Cathedral gave us permission to hold our end of year service in the Cathedral itself - what an honour.

On the final day of term 2016, all pupils, staff and many parents filled the cathedral, watched by a huge number of members of the public who were visiting the Cathedral that day. Year 6 pupils opened the service with a parade of the school banner before a pupil from each year group talked about a symbol which represented their year group over the last academic year. The singing was amazing, particularly from the choir who performed, and many pupils led readings and prayers which were spine tingling in such a historic and holy location. All Year 2 pupils filled the aisle with their liturgical dance to the 'Irish Blessing' music which has become a feature of leavers services in recent years.

Pupils from year 4 also acted out a drama, which had been written as a poem by three Year 6 pupils. The service was the day before St. Margaret's day and to celebrate her life in word and drama, in the Cathedral, was an amazing and fitting end to what had been an amazing year in school.