There is more to our weekly worshiping than Sundays. Across our Benefice we worship in other ways every day of the week. One of these is ‘Open the Book’

One of the great joys of working with children is to see their reaction to something that they are involved in, that they are committed to and that is appreciated by their peers. The look on their faces when they are applauded by their peers, and the stories they then take back to their parents.

In 1999 a Bob Hartman bible story was used at a primary school in Bedford as a way of worshiping with the children there. From that day until now the Bible Society has developed the open the book worship into a worldwide phenomenon.

 Here in our benefice, we have two groups who take open the book to our local schools, one in Lostwithiel and one at St Mary Bradoc.

The Bible Society sets out the stories with strict rules on training and interpretation so that they are acceptable to all faiths or those of no faith. Moses and the Old Testament are as important to the Muslim faith as they are to Christianity.

On Good Friday at the pilgrimage service, I was talking to one of the mums of a five-year-old child that goes to open the book. She was saying how much her daughter enjoys taking part and goes home and tells her Mum and Dad all about the story. Telling them what it means and what she or her friends did in the play. The teachers have a waiting list for those who want to take part.

In our case the plays are organised around the six school values – in the picture above it was ‘Bring Courage’ and we chose the story of Sarah. We typically involve 12 to 20 children, reading the parts and acting.

Our group at Braddock School is an ecumenical group with our Methodist friends from Connan Chapel. The joy is that our laity organise it and lead the worship if Paul is not available. Then a worship leader from church or chapel leads the reflection.

This term we were at school on the day the SIAMS inspectors did their statutory inspection of the school. We were thanked by the inspector for our high level of support for the school and subsequently each member of the team received a letter of thanks from the Diocesan Director of Education for the many ways the church and chapel support the school.

The children portray a story each week which means that every week 114 children and 21 adults from school, parish church and chapel get to know each other, forge links, worship and reflect together for our mutual wellbeing.