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A Church Visit

In the ‘Practices and Traditions’ subsection of the Christianity strand in the Experiences and Outcomes of the RME curriculum in Scotland, you will find:

Through investigating the Christian communities in my local area, I am discovering how Christian communities demonstrate their beliefs through prayer, worship and special ceremonies. I am developing respect for the practices and traditions of others.

A great example of how the local church can assist in this is by offering a chance for pupils to visit the church.

This will vary depending on church buildings and activities, but here are some ideas.

  • A quick tour of the building. This familiarises pupils with the building and you can explain how it’s used. If a youth organisation uses the hall you could give them a plug, or you could show an area set aside as a quiet prayer space. If you have a church bell, you could give them all a chance to ring it!
  • You could show the pupils objects which hold particular importance to your congregation. Perhaps an old Bible, a bit of furniture, a stained glass window... (However, if you have an abundance of these, you would want to avoid the visit being a tour of windows or tables!)
  • The pupils could visit the minister / youth worker’s office. If they’re keen you could have them primed to be doing something embarrassing when you walk in – feet up sleeping, knitting, preening in a mirror. Or leave something on display for them to see – a puppet you use at assemblies sitting in your seat would be amusing.
  • A focal point could be in the place the worship services happen. You can go through what happens in a service and why, highlighting the place of Bible readings, prayers, sermons and songs. You could do a “hit, miss or maybe” with worship songs from across the years where pupils rate songs from a selection played. A sample worksheet is available here which you can adapt.
  1. You could start with a quiz. (How many ... can you find, what number was the first song sung last Sunday....)
  2. Point out various bits of furniture, equipment and discuss their uses (maybe a blast of the organ for effect?), but you don’t need to go into detail for sacraments if time is short; festivals and ceremonies are part of the curriculum and another opportunity to visit!
  3. There will be other ideas particular to your situation, but the key is to keep the visit interactive and interesting.

What’s required?

  • A mutually agreed and convenient date and time.
  • A discussion with the class teacher about what they hope to get out of the visit and the suitability of your ideas.
  • A plan of what you are going to cover.
  • A warm church building – nothing is more off-putting than a freezing cold church building!
  • A check with other church users that you’re not going to clash with a wedding, funeral or the annual spring clean!
  • If you would like more information, SU has a staff member who specialises in this! Please get in touch.