Holy Trinity Chaplain

We are very lucky to have our own School Chaplain who supports our school. Stephaine Richardson is a Teaching Assistant at Holy Trinity and has completed the Chaplaincy training requiments and supports children during the lunchtime period, during after school clubs and other external events. 

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Chaplain’s Blog June 2024

KS2 Worship April

The Chaplain’s Worship this term was on Hope. We began with the Easter Garden made by Bonnie, Aoife, Vinnie, Esme & Lucy in Year 3 (see photo). They explained the different parts of the garden and how they made it. We talked about the Resurrection and hope, and then about the importance of holding onto hope when things go wrong (as they surely will do at times). We learnt a new song called Don’t Forget to Remember by Ellie Holcomb, about how God wants us to remember his love. It was a joyful occasion for me, and my thanks go to the Heads of School who helped with the tech, and my Year 3 team.

Playground Chaplaincy

Being present on the playground each day is an important part of my role, some children need someone to come and tell something significant, or just to hang-out with for a bit, then go off and play. I’m there every day, which means that relationships can build up, and I can journey with children through friendship issues, changes, sadness and joys. At lunchtimes Forest Lodge is open with games and books, fidget toys, colouring, bricks and lego. The Chaplaincy Helpers do a great job helping the children find things to do, supporting them and helping them to tidy away. Without them, I couldn’t manage and still be present to listen. They recently got Chaplaincy Helper Key Rings as thanks.

JAM Club

After-school Jesus-And-Me Club has been busy with craft and parables. It’s great to discuss as we paint, draw, stick and model with clay. It’s lovely to have this safe space in a small group to talk about faith and church. We’ve built our clay houses on the rock, sown our seeds in the good soil, and found our lost sheep, and much more!  

Wellies and Mints

This term we have been having informal drop-in for cake and chat, with some unexpected visitors popping by. I’m getting better at baking! (and trusting God!)

Spirituality Day

I was delighted to be asked by Sarah Blake (RE Lead) to help plan the two  spirituality days this year. This one was on God’s Wonderful World. We live in such a beautiful part of the UK, and I have been touched recently by how God’s love and presence can be felt in the outdoors. His creativity, magnificence (and sense of humour even!) can be seen in animals, life-cycles, families, and even the weather. We had a lovely Agape service in the Church led by Year 1 with beautiful art-work and singing. The whole school joined in with Don’t Forget to Remember, the song we learnt at the beginning of term, with beautiful singing which nearly moved me to tears.

Training

I went on a Creative Arts in Ministry Day in Wells, which was very encouraging, and I benefitted in many ways, particularly during the first part, and then later discovering that you don’t need to be super artistic to be able to provide something for a group (good news for me!) A super day.

Also, I had a another good time recently meeting up with two other Primary School Chaplains, also in Bath & Wells MAT; Tamara Chisling from St.Michael’s in Minehead and Louise Jarmain from St.Andrew’s in Taunton. It was lovely to exchange stories and laugh and help each other in our roles. We will meet again in the summer.

Chaplain Blog March 2024

Chaplain’s Blog March 2024

It was very good start to 2024 to lead the KS1 & KS2 worships on Epiphany. With help from Brajan, Jake & Ernie in Yr 3, and Logan, Leo & Esper in Yr 2, the Wise Men arrived with their gifts. I asked everyone to think about what it means to be wise, and was so pleased with their excellent answers. We talked about the gifts the wise men brought, and I challenged the children to think about what Jesus would like us to offer him in our lives today. The Prayer Space was dedicated to Epiphany and I put a box there for them to post their answers over the following week. Many thanks to Jessica, Joanna and Eva for their superb help with these worships.

Breakfast Club

The children at Breakfast Club made peace doves and hung them on the prayer tree.

Playground Chaplaincy

Music and dancing has started in the playground using the mobile amplifier. Disney songs and popular dance tracks suggested by the children. The Macarena, Shotgun and Happy (from Despicable Me) are the current favourites. Forest Lodge has continued to be a quiet shelter for reading, fidget toys and lego. I always try to be fully available to children who want to tell me about their day or what is on their mind.

Spirituality Day

This was on the subject of Prayer, in all it’s forms. It was great to be involved with the Agape worship in the church led by Year 3 who did an excellent job. Playground Chaplaincy that day included bubbles to ‘blow our prayers up to God’. Real joy was had, especially with the KS1 children. And prayers for the world, with some inflatable globes to throw, and a large world map. I was so thrilled by the response of so many children, who really took time to think about what they wanted to pray for, and to write their stickers. The Chaplaincy Helpers were super-helpful in making it all work.    
Wellies and Mints

Staff Wellbeing and Mindfulness group runs after school on Thursdays for staff to rest, recover and recentre ourselves on God. This term we have been listening to some music tracks to inspire us. I had a logo and a poster made by my niece who is just starting her career as a graphic artist.

JAM Club

JAM Club has started again with a new group of children. Art, craft and fun with Bible stories of Jesus and, of course, Jammie Dodgers!

Thanks to all who support me as Chaplain at Holy Trinity School, Yeovil.

Steph Richardson

Chaplain Blog October 2023

JAM Club                                                                                               

JAM Club was active with 7 children coming each week. Games, crafts and stories. Amongst other things, we painted pictures of God’s creation, went on a pilgrimage around Tom’s Track and the Labyrinth, made chalk rainbows and thought about God’s Promises.

Lord’s Larder Visit & Worship

It was very exciting to take, with Mrs Blake, a group of Yr 3 & 4 children to visit the Lord’s Larder to see how the foodbank works. We were welcomed by Mat Callaghan, the manager. He told us about why it is needed, and we saw the food, and learned how the volunteers pack the food parcels, specifically for each household, according to their requirements. And then the children packed food parcels for 2 people, ready for collection.

 In September, the same children helped me to lead an afternoon Worship all about our trip and what we learned. It was a wonderful moment for me to lead the worship as school Chaplain, and it went very well. The children were super!

Playground Chaplaincy

It’s been good to expand Playground Chaplaincy into KS1 lunchtime playtime with the help of some Yr 6 pupils as Chaplaincy Helpers. They are showing Holy Trinity’s Rainbow Values of love and kindness as they support and play with the younger children. I’ve been so pleased with their response; their helpfulness, politeness and the initiative they’ve shown at times too.

KS2 Playtime Chaplaincy has been supported by some Yr 5 Chaplaincy Helpers who are continuing the range of activities started last year, and they are doing a great job of keeping an eye on the equipment and keeping things orderly in Forest Lodge.

Wellies and Mints

The staff prayers and contemplation group continues with weekly thoughts, chat and cake. There have been some new faces lately which has been encouraging.

The start of the new year is an exciting transition for children and adults alike. It has been very busy, and at times challenging. I feel it’s good and a privilege to be a Chaplain who is fully a part of it, and fully present, and I hope that whether I am TAing or actively being a Chaplain, there is a positive benefit for the wellbeing and spirituality of the school.

Steph Richardson 

Chaplain Blog April 2023

Report no.2 April 2023

Recently, I gave a talk about what I do as a School Chaplain, and I described it as trying to be a Prayerful, Pastoral Presence in school.

Playground Chaplaincy

It’s been busy in the Forest Lodge over the winter. Many children have wanted to make a friendship bracelet or to wind a wool cross. Some come to read, colour or play card games with friends. There have continued to be some pastoral or faith-related conversations but quite a few children simply like to come and ‘touch base’ with me. When there are new pastoral conversations it’s sometimes easier to listen to the child later when it’s not so busy.

I was delighted to be asked by three teachers to talk to specific children individually about  bereavement, friendships and bullying, and puberty.

On December 5th the whole school had a day during which we remembered out TA Heather Briggs. I invited the Yr5 and 6 children to do a leaf-rubbing and prayer activity. Heather and I did PPA cover together with those children a few years ago. They hung their prayers and memories on the Prayer Tree in the Prayer Space.

The Prayer Tree was used again at Easter to display paper eggs and wool crosses done during lunchtime.

JAM Club

After a gap during the spring term, JAM Club has restarted with a new group of Yr 2s. Starting with the parables we are looking at Jesus’ teachings with craft, games and Jammie Dodgers!

Breakfast Club

Chaplaincy at Breakfast Club has continued around welcoming, listening, playing and helping out with the breakfasts.

Wellies and Mints

After-school prayer and contemplation for adults on Thursdays. This has been well-supported with up to nine people attending, a very lovely welcoming, gentle time together.

I’m also very happy to be a part of Claire West’s staff wellbeing group (the Wellbeing Wombles), and her Holy Trinity Community Wellbeing Group.

Reaching Out

As well as the lent talk to Churches Together at Wells, I spoke briefly on a Pray For Schools Zoom Prayer for School Chaplains during ‘Love our Schools Week’. It was great to be part of and meet Chaplains from across England praying for children and young people.

It’s been really good getting to know about these and other organisations that provide resources and support for Chaplaincy. I have joined the C of E Growing Faith Network for School Chaplains which will involve meeting on Zoom 3 times a year.

One of the questions put to me at Wells was whether there is any collaboration with other Chaplains in the Bath & Wells MAT. So I have reached out to the two I am aware of and hope we can exchange ideas and support each other.

Reaching out into our local community is also important; Sarah Blake & I are taking a group of children to visit The Lord’s Larder at Yeovil Community Church. At Harvest we bring food into school to donate, and it will be good to see what happens to it and how it works.

Moving forward I will continue to do my best to be a prayerful pastoral presence about school and keep on reaching outwards as opportunities present. I have a review next month to look in more detail at how things will go moving ahead.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Steph Richardson 

Chaplain Blog Nov 2023

Reflections on the First Eight Weeks

Following a very positive and uplifting commissioning service, many children and adults have wanted to talk to me about chaplaincy, ask questions and look at my badge. This has been a very encouraging start for me.

Playground Chaplaincy

The children come and talk to me or find something to do in Forest Lodge. I also look out for children who look lonely or sad and invite them to chat or come and get something to do or help them find a friend.  Activities have included leaf rubbings, nature pictures out of seeds, acorns, conkers and berries, wool-plaiting, card games, reading and bricks. There have been several significant pastoral conversations with individual children, and sometimes they have come back to talk to me again.

Breakfast Club

This term has mainly been about settling in the new children, and helping them make friends. I’ve played with the children outside; skipping, ball games and so on, and inside with puzzles, colouring and craft activities like friendship bracelets. There has been some pastoral listening to some of the older children. I’ve also been able to be a listening ear to staff and help soothe irritations and misunderstandings. It’s also a joy for me to unlock the school gates each morning and welcome the families in.

JAM Club  

We have looked at God’s promises, painted rainbows, make flower pictures of thankfulness and pebble-art pictures, discussed the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000 and made our own minature ‘armour of God’ out of plasticine! The group are keen to pray, and to listen to each other and discuss, and to help each other. We are grateful for Rev. Dan’s support and enjoy going to the church.

Wellies and Mints 

After-school prayer and contemplation for adults on Thursdays. This has started well. Four of us regularly, with others saying they hope to come along. A time of peace and rest to restore and recentre ourselves on God, using background music and guided prayer (and cake!)

Waymarkers

The death and funeral of the Queen, Harvest and the changing seasons, Halloween (or rather the absence of it!) and Remembrance are part of what we all at Holy Trinity School have lived over the last eight school weeks. These have formed part of many conversations both with children and adults. I’m keeping a record of pastoral & spiritual conversations for my own reflections and prayer. Several adults have wanted to share on their own experiences of life and death and illness, with the illness and rapid deterioration of a fellow staff member in everyone’s minds. I was glad to be able to visit her a few times and she was delighted to see some of the leaf-rubbing art done by the children.  

Training

It was very good to go to the SW Chaplaincy Gathering in Bridgwater in October. The subject was ‘Being With’ both to individuals, and to organisations in different settings. The speaker was Rev Sam Wells who was inspirational. I learned a lot, met interesting people and came away with lots of reading matter! A hugely beneficial day for me.  The school Ethos and Welfare Committee had it's first meeting and I was warmly welcomed as school chaplain by the Governors. I began to learn how the Ethos, the Vision, RE syllabus and Worship   all work together and tie in. Also how welfare  is undertaken across the school.

Moving forward, I will continue to pray for Holy Trinity School and it’s community, and to try to see where God is at work, to listen and sooth and support as I am able. I am interested to receive any feedback.

Thank you for your support and prayers,

Steph Richardson

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