Pupils at St Peter’s High School Put Their Faith into ActionThursday 22nd July 2021
Last September, we made the decision to enrol the whole year 7 cohort on to the CYMFED Bronze Faith in Action award. We knew that with the restrictions of Covid, it was going to be difficult to achieve as the award depends upon students putting their faith into action and building up 35 hours of service credits. In normal circumstances students would complete acts of service in school, the local community and their local parishes. However, due to the restrictions, we decided to support students through guided reflection points during the school day. During form time, RE lessons, assemblies and time in the chapel, students were given the opportunity to put their faith into action in acts of service to the school and the local community
Throughout the year the students completed many different activities, In the autumn the students focused on what love means to them – they took time to reflect on how we know we are loved by God. In response to being asked to consider what God does for us that shows us his love Luke said, ‘I know I am loved because God has given me an amazing family.’ Sarah said, ‘He forgives us anytime we sin and he sacrificed his only son for us.’ When she was asked how she has personally shown love for others Sarah said, ‘In school when someone was crying because they lost their key, I bought them food and walked them home..’ Faria spoke about a time when she bought a friend something to eat because her friend was hungry and had no money.
Year 7 spent time in the chapel reflecting on John 15:12:
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
This led to a focus on Saint Maximilian Kolbe – the sacrifice he made and the lived example of his life. In response to this Lewis said, ‘I was touched by him saving a prisoner’s life in exchange for his own life.’ Malachi was inspired by his kindness and gentleness – even to the man who executed him. Students were asked to reflect on how they could show love and kindness to the people who are sometimes difficult to love. Students were encouraged to write prayers based on showing concern and love for the people around them and these prayers were displayed in the chapel during Advent.
At the end of November, students contributed to creating an Acts of Love Advent Calendar. They were given the calendar to complete and this encouraged them to put love into practice every day, such as, make someone a drink, give someone hope and pick up litter. Another of the actions to complete around this year was to make Christmas cards for neighbours and friends – this led students to write messages of hope in Christmas cards to all the elderly residents of the Sisters of the Poor, St Joseph’s Home, Longsight.
Returning to school after a winter lockdown
Students spent time considering the CYMFED reflection points that focus on Love of Neighbour, Kingdom of God and Servant Leadership. During this time, they were asked to consider the work of Saint Rose of Lima and her love for those who struggle or who are broken and bruised by life. They thought about what the Kingdom of God would look like and David described it as a ‘sacred, peaceful realm where everyone believes in God.’ In relation to Servant Leadership, they had the opportunity to think about the qualities needed to be a good leader and in particular the concept of service as a sign of strength not weakness. Ena said, ‘with love you’re showing that you care and its ok to show love to everyone..’
At the end of the award
We concluded by asking students to create their own Faith in Action Prayer Promises:
Thank you for guiding me through this tough life
And helping me become the person you want me to be.
Thank you for letting me see the light to help others who are in need
And show love for the poor.
Please give me strength to become an even better version of myself
To be like you and help everyone in need.
Give me power and love to forgive those I dislike.
Let me become one with you.
So, even though we have been quite restricted this year, we have really enjoyed the Faith in Action programme. Students and staff have particularly enjoyed the time spent in reflection and prayer. It has been a positive experience, giving students the opportunity to consider the true meaning of service and what they want the Kingdom of God to look and feel like. We look forward to continuing the programme next year!
To learn more about the faith in action award, Click here.