Holy Trinity Jesmond links with local schools through Lifepath

First published on: 8th July 2024

160 Year 4 children, five primary schools, two days of drama, craft and prayer workshops and an insight into the life of St Aidan can only mean one thing: Lifepath hit Newcastle once again, as Ian Farrimond, Reader at Holy Trinity, Jesmond, explains.

June 2024 was not the warmest of months this year, but Holy Trinity Church, Jesmond,  offered a warm welcome over two days to around 160 Year 4 children (aged 8-9) from Christchurch, Chillingham Road, Central Walker, St Lawrence, and St Teresa’s school for Lifepath 24.

Building on the success of the first Newcastle Lifepath held at the same venue in a very hot June 2023, this year’s edition proved to be just as popular with children and adults alike. But it was not just the children that came from different places, the 36-strong  team too, was drawn from the host church Holy Trinity as well as Heaton Baptist Church, MINE Youth and St Thomas Resource Church.

Lifepath is not just a random event dreamed up to give the children a day out of school. It is planned to enhance part of the school RE curriculum and for Newcastle it looks to highlight the ‘Lifepath’ of one of our great Northern Saints.

”The cold weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of the children from the moment they arrived until the time they left to go back to school by bus or walking,” said Steph Sanderson, Children and Family Outreach Worker at Holy Trinity and leader of the Lifepath Newcastle Core Team.

“Each day was brilliant. The children loved every moment, the staff appreciated the content and the team felt encouraged and energized to have been able to share their faith with so many children in such a special way”

But why these five schools in particular? Each of the schools represented regularly have ‘Open the Book’ teams going in to lead assemblies on a weekly or half termly basis. The sessions allow the team to tell dramatised Bible stories to the whole school each time they visit, and these times are well received and have allowed the teams to build up good rapport with children and staff.

“This was the second time we had run Lifepath here in Newcastle,” said Steph.

 “Throughout this next year, we will continue our work in all five schools, with regular Open the Book assemblies and MINE Youth visits. We also plan to offer to visit the children in their classrooms next academic year (when they are in Y5) with a follow-up lesson/workshop based on the Diary of a Disciple book which every child was given at the end of their visit to Lifepath 24.”

Some of the comments from children and school staff who attended Lifepath 24 included:

Giving feedback, one of the teachers said: “This has been a wonderful event – well organised, fun, enriching, and yet never losing focus on the learning about St Aidan! The children were so excited, and felt very welcome; the flag-waving was a thoughtful idea! The staff were all brilliant and we were very well looked after – thank you.”

While another commented: “The children loved the activities: they were varied, interesting, and very well led. The children were engaged through the day, full of excitement and chatter on the walk back to school; it was very difficult to choose their favourite part.”

One child commented: “I learned that sharing stuff makes people happy and joyful.” Another: “St Aidan liked to share his love with everyone.” And a third, asked for their best memory of the day, said: “Everything was the best!”

These sample comments, together with the joy of the two days of Lifepath 24 mean that planning for Lifepath 25 is going to be starting really soon. Who will follow St Oswald (Lifepath 23) and St Aidan (Lifepath 24) is still to be decided – but it will be another of our great Northern Saints!

Written by Ian Farrimond

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