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Cornwall pupils take to Zoom for massed online assembly

02 December 2022

Five Islands Academy, Isles of Scilly 

Children at Five Islands Academy, on the Isles of Scilly, watch Archbishop Welby’s message on the Chorister Mega Zoom Assembly

Children at Five Islands Academy, on the Isles of Scilly, watch Archbishop Welby’s message on the Chorister Mega Zoom Assembly

MORE than 1300 primary-school children in Cornwall took to Zoom to join the choristers of Truro Cathedral in a massed online assembly.

The Chorister Mega Zoom Schools Assembly last week followed a successful pilot in May. It began with Key Stage 2 pupils from 18 church and local-authority schools joining the cathedral choristers in a rehearsal. They then explored the theme of “Preparing our hearts for Christmas: giving our ‘presence’ to others” by singing carols including “In the Bleak Mid-Winter” and the Cornish “Sans Day Carol”, which they learnt with the cathedral’s Director of Music, Christopher Gray.

The Assembly included a Bible reading, given by Jaydon, a Year Six pupil of St Petroc’s Church of England Primary School, Bodmin. The Archdeacon of Bodmin, the Ven. Kelly Betteridge, gave a short talk, and there was a a video compilation of prayers written and read by pupils from the Isles of Scilly to Quethiock, near Liskeard.

The assembly was due to end with the “Choristers’ Cornish Blessing”, but it was delayed by a surprise video message from the Archbishop of Canterbury, who recalled his visit to Cornwall in June as one of “the highlights of this year”. He told the children how much he had enjoyed both a welcome video of the blessing, performed by the cathedral choristers and the schoolchildren, and a live performance at St Petroc’s School.

The assembly ended with all the children turning off the mute button to shout Merry Christmas and its Cornish equivalent, “Nadelik Lowen”.

The Chorister Mega Zoom Assemblies is a partnership project between Truro Cathedral and the diocese of Truro, led by Mr Gray and Esmé Page (Interview, 12 April 2019), and follows the Sing2G7 project of last year (News, 7 May 2021).

Ms Page said: “I believe something very special happens when children lead children. The vision for these Chorister Mega Zoom Assemblies is for children to inspire each other in music and faith and to feel connected across a wide geographic area. We’re getting such good feedback form schools. The wonderful message from the Archbishop was, of course, the highlight for the children and teachers and a huge encouragement to them.”

The Interim Dean of Truro, Canon Simon Robinson, said: “It was a true joy to take part. I found the whole experience both moving and exciting. It was inspiring to see over a thousand young faces tuned in to sing and worship with us.”

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