CHILDREN from a village school held a special assembly on Wednesday of last week to thank their priest and the church team for all that they do for their community.
The children, pupils of Knightlow C of E Primary School, near Rugby, presented the Revd Alison Massey with handmade cards and a personalised cake, and sang a specially written hymn.
The event was one of several held across the country as part of Thank Your Vicar Week, an annual event organised by St Luke’s Healthcare for the Clergy, a charity that promotes health and well-being among the ordained.
The head teacher of Knightlow, Jill Vavasour, said: “We wanted to take part in Thank Your Vicar Week because the Revd Ali Massey and the worship team are an important part of our Knightlow family. [She] takes such good care of us that this was a great opportunity for us to show our appreciation and express our thanks to her.”
The churchwardens at the village church, All Saints’, Karen Armbrister and Douglas Hutchison, were also invited to the celebrations, because, Mrs Vavasour said, “they have done so much to support worship and Christian teaching in the school.”
Knightlow was one of several schools in Coventry diocese which organised events. The diocesan RE, spirituality and schools officer, Lizzie McWhirter, said: “Thank Your Vicar Week is a great opportunity for schools to celebrate and strengthen the bond with their local clergy, with pupil-led collective worship taking place on or near St Luke’s Day.”
The Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, she said, “was very keen that our schools get involved, and I’m delighted that so many schools in the diocese are joining in.”
The week was piloted in 2015 in the Rochester and Southwark dioceses. It proved so successful that it was launched nationally last year, attracting support in 15 dioceses. A spokeswoman for St Luke’s Healthcare said: “It is promoted nationally to diocesan communications teams and primary education platforms via Church House, which has been very enthusiastic about it. We are now awaiting feedback to see just how many schools picked up on the idea.
“The Church of Scotland promoted the week for the first time, and dioceses which have mentioned it positively on social media or emailed for more info include Derby, Exeter, Leeds, Norwich, Oxford, Portsmouth, Salisbury, and Truro. It was even picked up as far away as Lille in France, through the diocese in Europe.”
As part of the week, schools and parishes are encouraged to give a donation, or organise a simple fund-raising drive, to help St Luke’s with its work. The charity helps around 450 clergy and their families each year, as well as offering well-being training and resources through the dioceses.