Many aspects of ministry here in France are, of course, very similar to what I experienced in England. There is, however, one thing that I greatly miss – the joy of working with Primary Schools. In the Leadon Vale Parishes, where I last ministered, we had four Church of England Primary Schools and so I and my colleagues were in school most days during term time leading assemblies (or Collective Worship as it is now called), helping with Religious Studies or fulfilling duties as Governors.
One initiative that was started about 20 years ago in primary schools across the UK is ‘Open the Book’. The principle is that a group of people from the local church goes into school regularly to tell Bible stories. The idea is simple. Using (initially, at least!) the wonderful Lion Storyteller Bible as a script, these people would perform a short enactment of one story each week. There would be a short introduction and a reflection and prayer afterwards. From its inception, ‘Open the Book’ has now become an important part of outreach to schools in many areas and is universally enjoyed by the children, staff and ‘Open the Book’ teams alike.
In this time of lockdown, my sister Sue, (who is Chair of Governors of a CofE Primary School in Wantage, Oxfordshire) decided to see if she could provide the children with an opportunity to enjoy ‘Open the Book’ stories whilst everyone is at home. I thought that it might amuse some of you to watch what she has produced – including roping her brother and sister-in-law into her new ‘virtual’ team!
It’s amazing what your Chaplain is getting up to while stuck at home!