An update from Mr Robinson:
Elf workshop levels of creativity at break/lunch in Chaplaincy
Throughout the season of Advent at break and lunch times I have led numerous workshops and sessions encouraging creativity and design for all things Christmassy. Students have been creating their own mugs, bracelets and other gifts which may be coming your way on Dec 25th! They have painted tealight holders, lanterns and other Christmas decorations both for our Chapel and to bring home. Finally, so many students spent hours and hours delicately creating wonderful snowflake paper decorations which we have used to fill the school hall and make it feel as festive as possible. Truly elf-spirational!
‘Save the Children’ Christmas Dress Up Day
As you know, last Friday 11th December as a school we participated in Save the children’s annual Jumper day fundraiser. However, we took it up a notch again by encouraging our young people and staff to dress up as Christmassy as possible. It wasn’t just about the jumpers, it was however one felt they could encapsulate Christmas. There were some amazing efforts, including a group of friends all going out and buying the same jumpers, tinsel galore, a year 8 becoming a manger and I even made an attempt at being Joseph (albeit there were far too many guesses of Jesus, Moses, John the Baptist and even Mary!). Thank you for your kindness in supporting this worthy cause, the final total raised is in excess of £450.
Window Decorating Competition
At the beginning of Advent I challenged tutor groups to really go all out in their base rooms (especially as they are stuck in the one room for the majority of their day), and make the room a little Santa’s grotto. In particular, we wanted the windows of the rooms to be decorated and reflect the imagination and creativity of our students and staff, so that they would enjoy the experience but also passers-by who may see the outer windows of the school. I promised a prize for the best window and they’ve truly risen to the challenge. Here are a few of the windows and rooms that look stunning. In the end I had to pick two tutor groups, which have been announced earlier today.
You may also have seen whilst passing the school in the dark that we’ve tried a little subtle evangelisation on the gateway building. Nativity projectors and lights are incredibly hard to come by, but we have managed to put a tree, lots of lights and some snowflake projections up which hopefully spread a little festive spirit on the morning and evening commute.
Christmas Hamper Appeal
Thank you ever so much for your kindness and generosity in supporting our Christmas Hamper Appeal again this year. The Christian charity and understanding of how tough times are for many in our community has been reflected in the masses of donations we’ve received. We have shared them with our contacts in the local community, with Julian House and others who are incredibly grateful this Christmas.
An alternative Christmas message for 2020
The final thing I would like to share with you is a poem I came across which we used as the final reflection in our liturgy earlier on. The writer really captures the themes of the season and how we can ensure they are living in our thoughts, words and actions. May you all have a happy and holy Christmas filled with love and blessings. Take care of one another.
Hope, Comfort and Joy.
By Rob Otton, Nov 2020
The people were angry,
There was no joy or cheer,
They knew that Christmas would be very different this year.
People were confused,
They felt a real sense of Gloom.
“There is no way,” shouted someone “I’m doing Christmas on zoom”.
Christmas is a time for love and affection
How can that happen
If we lose our connection?
One voice shouted,
“It is not going to work”
Then everyone started shouting and going bezerk!
Just as the noise was becoming quite loud.
A small voice of reason came right out of the crowd.
“Listen up everyone, and try to calm down”
“We understand the frustration all over the town”
“It is clear that this year it will not be the same”
“But it doesn’t mean that Christmas has to be lame”
Just think about Christmas and what it is all about
And again, all the people started to shout.
“It’s about Crackers
“And a Mince pie”
“And Santa bringing presents with reindeers that fly”
With that the crowd began to think thick and fast
Of all of the Christmases they had enjoyed in the past
The small voice of reason spoke up once more
“So, when we strip Christmas back what lies at its core?”
The town thought hard,
With all of their might,
A bright voice shouted out,
“It began with a light”
“The light of Immanuel, God now on the earth,”
The courage of young Mary who’d just given birth.
The comfort from Joseph who stood by her side,
The Joy of the angels, filling the skies!
The delight of the shepherds, tears in their eyes
Included in history, brimming with pride,
As they looked at that baby lying in a manger
The hope that they found in this new-born saviour.
“A star that shone brightly, which guided the way”
“and led wisemen to that first Christmas day.”
So, when we think of this story it is not about Crackers,
Or bizarre random presents in bright shiny wrappers.
It’s not about Santa, or even Mince pies
It’s not about Snowmen with coal used as eyes
And it might be a bit different from years gone before
But Christmas has love running right through its core.
Such Love from heaven,
Such love in this boy,
Such Love and Hope,
Cried a voice
“We don’t need to be close, to show love the people we care for the most”
“We can draw them a picture”
“Or give them a call”
“We could write them a letter”
“Or wave from the wall”
“We can sing carols through the window”
“That will make them feel better”
“I could gather some pictures of us being together”
“We can pile up our presents and send them by post”
“And I suppose we could zoom call during our roast”
“So this Christmas time lets strike the right tone”
“and make sure that nobody feels alone”
“Yes Christmas may very well be different this year
But we can still send out our love, hope and cheer
So don’t hold back or show any resistance
Just shout out your love, even if it’s from a distance.