Our third schools week of the year was spent last week in Archbishop Sancroft High School in Harleston, Norfolk. What was interesting about this school is that it is a Church of England School, the only one in the East of England and is part of a cluster of C of E Primary Schools which is the only cluster in England. It was a reasonably small school, with around 700 pupils, but that was lovely because we often got to see familiar faces!
A church called DC3 meets in the school hall on sundays, and so we arrived there on the sunday afternoon, set all our equipment up ready for the following week, and then spent some time in prayer and worship with some of the local supporters of the week. It was a really special time and even one of the teachers was able to be there. It really set the tone for the week and got me very excited about what was to come.
Each day we took 5 lessons which were usually R.E, P.S.H.E or Music. Because of the way the timetable worked out, we often saw the same class twice in lessons, which i loved because we really got to build up relationships with the students. Some days we would have a real mixture of either enthusiastic classes or shy ones, which did range between the years.
Tuesday-Friday we also took their assemblies. They have an assembly twice a week. We kicked off with the upper school assembly on Tuesday after lunch. The theme for the school this half term has been hope for the future. We sang Got A Reason and Down & Out, and talked about meaning and purpose and then I talked a little bit about having a hope, even when things look like they are not great, God can give us hope, and quoted Jeremiah 29:11. We repeated that assembly on the Wednesday for the lower years, and then Thursday + Friday we looked at having the opportunity to Turn Back to God even when we feel like we have messed up completely, he’s always there.
We started getting a few fans at break times and lunches, and so I had some good conversations, particularly with some groups of girls throughout the week. Some of them also wanted a go on the stage singing so we encouraged them to have a go.
Thursday lunch time was slightly different — we had been asked to go along to a study session one of the teachers was putting on for the year 11s who are taking the Higher paper of their R.E course. There was about 30 of them in the class and half of the team came down with me to see if we could answer any of their questions. They had recently been looking at Ministry and Evangelism and so wanted to ask us questions about why we do what we do. We explained the reasons why each of us joined and told them a little bit about how Taste works. Their verse that they had been looking at in conjunction with the subject was ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, noone comes to the Father except through me’. I was slightly worried they were possibly going to try and catch us out with that one, but they asked whether we found that verse relevant to us today and through doing what we do. We were also asked about our opinion on ‘going out to convert’ and being in peoples faces when it comes to evangelism, where we explained that’s not what we’re about, we cant make the decision for others, we just want to share the amazing impact that Jesus has had on our lives because we can’t hold it in! Another question was really cool, asking why God doesn’t send another Jesus to the world now to sort things out that are going wrong.
Friday morning had a slight twist… We were given the whole of year 9 for FOUR HOURS! Four whole hours! So for the morning with them we had to think of some activities to do with them. We started off with a few songs, and then split them into groups where we played 9 lovely 9 with them. I got a group of very loud boys, who surprisingly were desperate to be on my team rather than anyone elses! We thought one of the perfect lessons which we are very familiar with now is the Prodigal Son lesson, which we did at Benji! They seemed to love it, the boys in my group really getting into the drama and then writing a rap battle for the ‘songwriting’ part. To finish off the four hours we introduced them to the drum kit and Paul did a little drum lesson which went down a treat.
Friday lunch time was a mini concert where we invited the whole school to the hall to see some of our songs. Not that many came which was a shame but the ones that did come seemed to really enjoy it!
It was time to head on over to Banham for their Youth Cafe where we had been invited to perform an acoustic set in the church. It was a very cold church! We sang to them for about 30 mins, and then had the idea to do a drum workshop with them; Paul leading from the front, and we handed out some percussion instruments to the youth there and we had a cool beat going! I really enjoyed getting to know some of the young people there that night and it was great to spend time with some of the youth from Integrate YFC who were the first people I met as part of Taste last year back in Sizewell!
Our final morning in the area was Sunday, where we led the worship at the church DC3. The church is cafe style, and everyone was very complimentary of the worship that we brought. It was a brilliant end to a brilliant week and I am hoping that the students in the school will be encouraged to go along to Youth Alpha which they are hoping to set up off the back of this week with us.