Our School/Church Partnership
The Diocese of Gloucester Vision 2022, LIFE TOGETHER, celebrates the strong links between schools, homes and local worshipping communities. Working together, Hempsted Church of England Primary School and St Swithun’s Church seek to serve the people of Hempsted.
St. Swithun’s Church is next to the school and is a beautiful building. It was paid for by Norman noblemen and rebuilt between 1467 and 1477. It is an important part of Hempsted's history.
As a Church of England school, we are proud to have close links with the church community. The Rector, Reverend Canon Nikki Arthy is a member of our Governing Body but most importantly, is part of the children’s journey through our school. Nikki regularly leads collective worship in school and in the church. The children attend church for services at the start of the academic year, Harvest, Christmas, Easter and end of year services. We also go to church to celebrate other events of national importance, such as the Queen’s jubilee. Our Worship Club, who meet every week, will write the prayers for these services.
We are also very fortunate to have an Open The Book team, who lead worship every Wednesday, with an interactive retelling of bible stories told using drama. The children are always really keen to be chosen to take part!
Children and families are all invited to Messy Church which is held monthly in the Lysons Hall on Sunday afternoons from 3.30pm to 5pm. Messy Church is a way of being church for all ages, which includes creative activities based on a Christian theme, a special time in the Church year or Bible story. Every Messy Church session ends with a shared tea. Flyers are given to pupils and banners are displayed in school during the week prior to Messy Church. All dates for the year can be found on the parish website www.swithunandmary.org.uk
Our church/school partnership does not just benefit the children. Over the past few years, we have evolved a way of working that means that we are not just a school, but somewhere that parents can turn to for pastoral support, parenting support or just to be there to listen. Very much at the centre of this is Rachel Laughton, the parish Children and Families Worker. Rachel works closely with the school pastoral team, supporting children with emotional needs in school, and their families out of school. Working together, we have a pastoral offer which is there 365 days of the year.
Furthermore, this partnership with the church pastoral team provides a weekly 'Coffee and Chat' morning in the church hall. This is free for anyone to attend, and provides a great opportunity for parents, staff and parishioners to chat over a cup of coffee and something sweet! More recently, this session has been followed by a ‘community warm space’, a place for people to gather, keep warm and socialise during a time of increasing energy costs. There is also a community pantry run by the community for the community. Anyone in times of need can help themselves to essential provisions that are freely available in the church porch.
This really is a school and church partnership that strives to support everyone to flourish, “Growing together in God’s Love”.
You can visit our parish church website at www.swithunandmary.org.uk