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Issue 3 number 4 February 2017
Children! The Revd Mary Williamson T The Editors
Andrew Colborne Alexandra Green Louise Heffernan Sheila Hills
Silvia Joinson David Pope
Copy for next issue to Parish Office or via email by 5th of
preceding month E-mail:
Parish Office: St Helen’s Court, Abingdon. OX14 5BS
Tel: 01235 520144
The Window is available to download from the
Churches’ websites on the back page
he old saying goes “Never work with animals or children!” Well, I don’t know about the former but I have spent most of my adult life working with the latter in either a voluntary or paid capacity and children are both challenging and delight-
ful in equal measure. I have been a Cub Scout leader, primary school teacher (and head- teacher), school governor, member of a Diocesan Board of Education and assisted with church children’s groups. Children tell it as it is and ask the questions that adults are of- ten too reticent to ask. But are adults also too reticent to answer those challenging ques- tions that children ask when trying to make sense of the world around them? Where are they to have the opportunity to express their views, ask searching questions and engage in debate if not with responsible adults in safe environments?
Part of our calling as Christians is to spread the gospel and that includes sharing it with children but that doesn’t necessarily mean bashing people over the head with the Bible, teaching by example is often far more effective. We wear an invisible badge, the sign of the cross made on our foreheads at our baptism. So, if that is an invisible sign, the visible sign of being a Christian must be our actions and our willingness to discuss our faith and children are interested, they are thirsty for knowledge.
On one occasion, at the start of a Religious Education lesson before Easter, an 8 year old boy announced to the class that he thought Pilate was a coward. Luckily, there was no Ofsted inspector in the building and so the lesson plan was abandoned and that class of 7 -9 year olds spent the best part of the next hour discussing what had been said and dis- playing a greater depth of thought than most adults would assume such young children were capable of. How many adults just accept the accounts of the last days of Christ’s life without digging deeper and pondering the actions and motives of those involved?
On another occasion at a Church Family Fun evening three teenagers wanted to discuss whether there was such a thing as a just war. The discussion having been generated by one of the young men announcing that he was planning to join the army when he left school. Once again the depth of their thinking and understanding of the issues involved, revealed by the discussion, was greater than most adults would have been capable of ex- pressing.
As head of a Voluntary Aided Church School, it has been a most rewarding privilege to have been present at the baptism of pupils who had made the decision that they wanted to take this public step on their faith journeys.
Ignore the old saying. If you are ever offered the privilege of working with children, seize the opportunity. Children need adults prepared to discuss challenging questions and we have much to learn from each other.
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