|Andrew Teale's Message Continued...
We saw children from Pencombe and Tenbury and others come to the front of the cathedral to read prayers. Reading to 400 people in the cathedral is something most adults will never do, let alone 10 and 11 year olds. They were all brilliant, but one child in particular stood out to me. I didn’t catch her name, but I knew she had only been at St Thomas Cantilupe CE Primary, since May. She looked incredibly smart and only a tiny bit nervous. She wore her school uniform proudly as she made her way to the front of the packed cathedral and began her reading at the end of the afternoon service with the Bishop of Hereford and 400 others looking on. The microphone didn’t work initially and she had the presence in the moment, when all eyes were on her, to stop wait and begin her prayer again.
She read clearly and without a stumble. Given where children begin their early reading journey in a primary school, to read with such confidence in such a situation is perhaps miraculous enough. But she was one of many children who have joined schools in the diocese from Ukraine in the last few months and so her performance was even more powerful. At the start of the school year, she could surely not have imagined she would be walking up the aisle at Hereford Cathedral in the United Kingdom. She initially came to the UK alone, but was joined by her mum a few weeks later and thankfully she too was with us in the cathedral, watching her daughter shine like a bright star of resilience and hope. An inspiration to us all.
I can only guess at what that amazing year 6 girl wrote on her lolly stick when she planted it in the soil in Hereford Cathedral. By the end of the second service we had 800 of them. I pray to God that her prayers are answered.
Words of Blessing from our Year 6 Leavers Service
May God bless in our going from here today
May God bless us in our arrival at our new school term
May our path be smooth
May our studies be enriching
May our time at school be full of friendships
We go from here knowing that we take God’s love with us.
Our schools are miracle factories. They act like a chrysalis of transformation for children, and it is always an emotional moment for staff too, as the latest crop of butterflies flutter away to their next phase of education and a life full of promise.
In this final message, as the 2021-22 academic year draws to a close, can I thank everyone for their dedication, creativity and courage in serving the children and families of the diocese throughout this year. It has been so, so difficult at times and yet somehow you have found a way to continue to enable flourishing in the children and young people in your care.
I’d also like to thank the brilliant teams I work with, in support of all our schools, for all of their hard work and dedication to lightening the load and strengthening the foundation in our schools. A special mention for Mark Harrington who has created wonderful worship videos faithfully throughout the year and who put the service together for the year 6 children. I can certainly tell his worship videos have been enjoyed by many, as at one point he was signing autographs yesterday!
The end of term seems slightly more staggered than usual, so once you do break for summer, please pray for all those schools who for various reasons, have a few extra days to go!
Blessings and best wishes for a restful and restorative summer holiday, when it arrives.
Canon Andrew Teale
Diocesan Director of Education