Christians around the world share and celebrate the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus on a yearly cycle. Anglican churches follow these seasons as a liturgical calendar. This is a pattern for their worship (liturgy) through the year. The church year begins with Advent which is a time of preparation for Jesus’ birth. The church year begins with Advent which is a time of preparation for Jesus’ birth. Many Christian churches use different colours as signs of the seasons of the church year – purple, green, gold (or white) and red – referred to as ‘liturgical colours’, are used for altar cloths and clergy vestments (clothing). The colour reflects the season.
Purple is used for advent and lent, times of preparation and waiting
White (or Gold) is used for Christmas Day and Easter Day times of key celebration
Green is used during ‘ordinary time’ and covers most of the year - green represents growth
Red is used to mark saints days and Pentecost and is the colour of fire
For Advent this year we are encouraging all our schools to use the resource: ‘Community Matters at Christmas’ from The Archbishop of York Youth Trust.
Throughout Advent we will explore different communities from the Christmas story, see what they can teach us about community and how they can inspire us to make a difference this Christmas.Over four weeks, the resource celebrates how community can bring us joy, acceptance, generosity and love.The resource includes videos of pupils talking about their communities, bible links, reflections and practical challenges and can be used in the classroom or in collective worship.Schools can sign up here:
We also have our own online Advent Calendar for families available which uses the Jesse Tree as an outline for the season:
Diocese of York Advent Calendar for Families
and another related multimedia Advent Calendar for Adults:
Christmas is for Life
Both calendars can also be accessed here
your worship table or centre of the class circle with Christmas tide and Epiphany (white) cloth and take out the Bible, cross and light candle.
If you have school responses or opening words for collective worship say them together or say the following:
If you are using this for class worship – take out the items in the box (see notes for the teacher) and place them in the centre
Big question – looking at the clues in the box, I wonder what our story might be about today?
Connect back to Advent and Christmas and the journey to Bethlehem we explored at the end of last term
The Lion Storyteller Bible – The Wise Men’s visit
You can use the items in the box to help tell the story
A brief overview for the teacher
Not much is known about the visitors from the East who came after Jesus was born. Tradition says that there were ‘three wise men’ but actually we only know that there were three gifts – gold, frankincense and myrrh. Some say they were Jews left in Babylon after the exile. Some say they came from three different lands to represent the entire world. Wherever they came from, and whoever they were, we do know that they followed a star to the city of Bethlehem which God had promised would be the birthplace of ‘a new ruler, who will be the shepherd of my people’. The Bible uses the words child and house, not infant and animal shelter, so we can assume that their journey was long and that some time had passed since Jesus had been born. As soon as they saw Jesus, they kneeled down and worshipped him.
Reflection activity :
Set up a small display with black paper to represent the night sky and have enough gold cardboard stars for each pupil
Make a connection with the story and how Christians believe God put a star in the sky to help guide the Magi to find Jesus.
Is there something that you need guidance about? Is there something you need help with? If you want to, you can write a thought or prayer for help or guidance onto a star and stick it onto the ‘night sky’
Or chalk blessings
One epiphany tradition in some countries is the chalk blessing. People mark houses with a special phrase asking God to bless their homes. This year would write 20+C+B+M+21
The crosses are not ‘pluses’ but reminders of Jesus Christ and his cross. The letters are the first letters of the traditional names of the wise men: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar (see Monday) but more importantly they stand for the Latin Christus Mansionem Benedicat (May Christ bless this house).
You could take your class outside with chalk onto the playground and they could write thank you’s, encouragements and ‘blessings’ for others to read this week.
Thank you for the story of the Wise men. Thank you that they were willing to follow the star. Help us to listen to those wo guide us and follow their advice. Help us to guide, encourage and help others too.
In the collective worship box each week
Cloth with the colour of the Church year ( this week is white)
For this week – a constellation map, a telescope, a star (or pictures of these) a gold coin, a piece of crystallised ginger (to look like myrrh unless you have some of the real thing) a scented candle to represent frankincense
This connects with the concept of the Incarnation and panel 4 of the Understanding Christianity frieze you could include the incarnation concept symbol in your box.
Here is a video version of the story you could use that looks back at Christmas. You may have shown the first bit last term. you could start from 1:23 if you just want to explore the Magi’s visit. https://vimeo.com/70354897
You could also use the Rhyming Bible ‘one hump two humps’
Epiphany traditions around the world
Why not explore traditions from different countries as part of a class project
Digging deeper and learning more
The festival of Epiphany on 6th January remembers the visit of the Magi to Jesus and also signifies the end of Christmas. In some countries, it is called Three Kings’ Day.
The gifts brought by the Magi were gifts traditionally brought to kings. Christians believe that the gifts are also symbolic of Christian beliefs about Jesus: the gold representing Jesus as King; the frankincense representing Jesus as priest – a go-between, between God and man; and the myrrh representing sacrifice and Jesus death. In John 19:39, myrrh is referenced as one of the burial spices that embalmed Jesus’ body.
With 6 weeks of content,
takes pupils on a journey through Lent, reflecting on Jesus’ ministry and his example of being a 'Way Maker' and serving others. The 6 sessions help pupils to explore what it means to be: servant hearted, compassionate, accepting, bold, forgiving and a light in the darkness. Way Maker helps pupils consider what these examples mean for their own lives and the practical actions they can take to become way makers in their community.
Each week includes:
Watch the introduction video to the resource below, to find out more. Sign up here to download the resources here
#LiveLent 2022 Church of England resources: Embracing Justice
This Lent booklet for children provides a fun daily action to help children and their families explore how we can live well together, as well as a weekly reading and prayer.
Each week follows a different thread through the many stories of justice in the Bible to explore how God brings justice, wholeness and salvation to all.
Schools can order the booklets and the readings and daily actions could support planning for collective worship on the theme of justice and living well together.
Archbishop of York Young Leaders Resource for Lent
This year we are encouraging our schools to use the Archbishop of York Young Leaders Resource for Lent. The link and final information will come out soon. In the meantime, please see below for some information on the theme Way Maker
With 6 weeks of content,
will take pupils on a journey through Lent, reflecting on Jesus’ ministry and his example of being a “way maker” and serving others.
The 6 sessions will help pupils to explore what it means to be:
Way Maker will help pupils consider what these examples mean for their own lives and the practical actions they can take to become way makers in their community.
This flexible resource is designed to be used in a variety of ways by churches and schools. We are delighted that we have been given permission by Imaginor to use the artwork of Nebiyu Assafa, and hope that you find them a helpful stimulus for exploring the Easter story in more depth.
document for more information and see the
Exploring Easter Resources
for more downloadable resources.
Faith at Home - Schools resource for Pentecost (click image to download)
Watch this space . . .