To support our current Religious Education topic – Advent/Christmas: Waiting – loving, we all came together for our first class trip! To support our learning of this special time, we went to St James’s Church, to meet with Father Philip.
We were so lucky to have some time with just our class in the beautiful Church and to have time with Father Philip. He told us lots of new information about the special features of the Church; what Saints are represented by amazing statues, stained glass windows and paintings, especially on the Altar.
Year 1 were able to ask Father Philip lots of questions about the Church, and about Advent. We were even able to be told about the special Spanish Flag given to the Church by a King, hundreds of years ago. Year 1 were so calm and respectful throughout our visit, they listened very well to Father Philip, answering his questions and sensibly asking their own.
First Father Philip spoke about the Altar, and what it represents – showing us the ornate painting on the front of the Altar. Father then told us all about where Jesus is kept in the Tabernacle during Mass, and showed us this at the back of the Altar. Father explained how people who have taken their First Holy Communion can come to the Altar to receive the bread and wine that are blessed by the Priest during Mass, and turn into the body and blood of Christ. We focused on the Altar as it has a Nativity scene on the front, showing Mary holding the new born Jesus. Father Philip asked Year 1 about who we learn about during our Advent topic, and if they can spot them in the Nativity scene on the Altar. Year 1 could see the Wise Men and the Shepherds with their sheep and giving their gifts to baby Jesus, Year 1 knew these were Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Father Philip also showed Year 1 all of the Saints that are painting on the Altar, and discussed with the Children which Saints they had heard of, and if they knew why they were special.
The front of the altar, designed by Bentley, is an opus sectile portraying the Adoration of the Shepherds and the Magi with a concourse of Saints. On the Virgin Mary’s right are, from the centre, St Joseph, St John, St Thomas of Canterbury, St James, St Benedict and St George; on her left are St Peter, St Mary Magdalen, St Thomas Aquinas, St Edward the Confessor, St Bede the Venerable and St Francis of Assisi. St Stephen and St Agnes can be seen kneeling along with the Magi and the shepherds.
Year 1 were lucky enough to be able to walk into the Sanctuary, and sit in front of the Altar . The children had brought their sketch books from school, so they could sit and sketch the beautiful painting on the front of the Altar, and really take in the amazing scene.
Year 1, what was your favourite part of our trip today?