Islington Church Schools came together virtually on 4 December to welcome in Advent.

The day began with a deanery collective worship involving children from every school.

Children then had the opportunity to engage in the same range of prayer activities that focused on the following themes:  Thankfulness, hope and dreams, seeking guidance, repentance and forgiveness, and praying for those in need and places in our world where there is suffering.

The day concluded with a final reflection and each school lighting their first Advent candle.  It was a wonderful day where children and staff were reminded that they are very much connected together as a community of church schools in Islington.

“It was amazing!   My favourite activity was the sorry letter because I was able to apologise for something, I wasn’t proud of but it was private and nobody knew.  I also liked the paper chain activity as we all connected our hopes and dreams together which showed that we’re all linked.
Year 5 pupil from Clerkenwell Parochial C.E Primary School.

“After a tumultuous year, the deanery prayer day allowed us to reflect and think about not only ourselves, but about others around the world during the season of Advent.  It was a time to be still, reflect and wait for the coming of Jesus.  The children embraced the day with enthusiasm and fragility I’ve haven’t seen for a while.” 
Teacher from St Andrew’s (Barnsbury) C.E Primary School.

“I liked the star station because I could ask for guidance on some of the difficulties with friendships that I’ve been having.”  
Year 4 pupil from St Mary Magdalene Academy.

“It was beautiful to see the children actively engaging with the themes of Advent, and thinking about how it applies to their lives and how it is still relevant to today.”  
Teaching Assistant from St John’s Upper Holloway C.E Primary School.

“I liked the way that by making something, it reminded us to be grateful and thankful for what we’ve got.”  Year 4 child from St John’s Upper Holloway C.E Primary School.

“I enjoyed all the activities and the map one showed me how to respect all the people around the world who might be having difficulties at the moment.”  
Year 4 child from St Mark’s C.E Primary School.

“Not only did the children enjoy it, it felt very special to me.”  
Teacher from St Mark’s C.E Primary School.

“We really enjoyed taking part in our deanery prayer day.  It gave the children the opportunity to reflect on the special time of Advent, the Christmas story and how it helps us reflect and think about ourselves and others. The children really enjoyed having time to talk and write prayers for those they love.” 
Teacher from St Mary’s C.E Primary School.

“I pray for my mum.  She is having a baby just like Jesus’ mum Mary.’ 
Reception child’s prayer from St Mary’s C.E Primary School.

“It was amazing to see all of the children so engaged with the different prayer activities.  It was great to take a step back and take time to really listen to the children, so many of them were able to share their worries and concerns about what is going on in the world – it was a morning that was truly beneficial in so many ways to so many people.” 
A teacher from St Jude and St Paul’s C.E Primary School.

“Our prayer day gave us the time to think about and reflect on the Christmas themes in much more detail.  The children really enjoyed exploring the Advent activities and sharing ideas which resulted in them generating thoughtful questions and responses.”  
A teacher from St Luke’s C.E Primary School.

Mary Thorne, LDBS Primary Adviser with responsibility for RE, said: “It was fantastic for me at the end of the day to receive so many positive comments from RE Leads and Headteachers on how successful the day had been.  A wonderful reminder to me of what nine church schools working collaboratively together can achieve.   I am sure that all members of our church schools in Islington would join me in wishing you all a very Happy Christmas.”