Pupils from an Ipswich school have visited a church in Whitton to learn about the Christian season of advent. Children from Beeches Community Primary School attended an ‘Experience Advent' at St Mary and St Botolph's Churches on Monday 12 December 2022. 'Experience Advent' was in part funded by a £750 grant from the Diocesan Growth Fund.
The youngsters were taught about advent at six stations dotted throughout the church – with fun activities at each. Rev Mary Sokanovic, Priest-In-Charge, Whitton with Thurleston and Akenham, said the children were really engaged in the experience, while having lots of fun too.
“It was a wonderful event,” she said.
“The children were really engaged and had a lovely time taking part in the learning and activities. There’s something very special about this church and the atmosphere it creates. Engagement in Christian faith gives access to an alternative experience and perspective that can offer some measure of counterbalance to the negative experiences many people are exposed to in life. The Christian faith understands all people are made in the image of God and are loved and accepted. It also offers messages of hope and goodness and comfort in a world that can feel dark and scary”
Beeches Primary was the third school to visit the church in the last few weeks, after St Mary and St Botolph's previously hosted pupils from Castle Hill Primary School and Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy.
At the event, children learned all about how Christians prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and the importance of advent. At the end of the day, children were asked to write down their own prayer of what they would most like at Christmas – but something they couldn’t buy.
Stephen Capper, headteacher at Beeches Community Primary School, said: "The Advent Experience activities were very thoughtfully planned, engaging for children, varied and thought provoking. They all very much enjoyed the day and were very keen to tell me how much they had learned about Advent and about the local history of their church. A fascinating day for everyone involved.”