Burning sins

21 March 2014

THEY might have the ash from last year's palm crosses to mark their foreheads, but the children of St Peter'sC of E Primary School in Folkestone, Canterbury diocese, have turned their sins to ash as well.

During a special service on Ash Wednesday to mark the start of Lent,the Priest-in-Charge, the Revd David Adlington, asked the children to write down lists of their sins, keeping them private. At the end of the service, pupils and staff processed out of the church to the school playground to stand arounda metal waste-paper bin.

Mr Adlington then called representatives from each class to deposit the lists of sins in the bin, and then he set light to them. The head teacher, Toni Deacon, said: "We included the burning of sins for the first time, as we wanted to focus on the theme of forgiveness, and the fact that, if we are truly sorry for the things we have done wrong, God forgives.

"The burning was very visual for the children and demonstrated the point that, once we have said sorry and God has forgiven us, we move on, and our sins are 'wiped away'."

When she spoke to some children after the service, it was clear that they had a good understanding of the reason behind the burning. One child said: "I wrote my sins on a piece of paper, and no one else knew because it was between me and God. We burnt them because wesaid sorry in church, and God has forgiven us; so the sins have gone away."

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