On December 3rd 2017, Bishop Peter invited our Diocese to join him in celebrating a special year of Prayer and Vocation. What a beautiful experience this has proved to be for the St Thomas More School community in Bedford! We have embraced this theme in so many ways. A highlight in May was the visit of Bishop Peter to school.
As the Bishop arrived he greeted our 6th Form Senior Leaders and Faith Ambassadors who were heading to the Church of St Philip and St James to prepare for the Leavers’ Service.
Before the service began we shared with Bishop Peter some examples of our invitational approach to prayer in the form of Prayer Stations carefully positioned in different areas of the school as well as in the prayer room. Bishop Peter walked to each station where he met students and staff who shared their story and experience of the station. The stations embraced the theme of the Year. One in particular focused on the question, “How do we hear God’s voice today?“ A stunning watercolour of the Sea of Galilee painted by Mr Andrews formed the backdrop and Year 8 presented their answers in speech bubbles. Responses included “I feel God speaks to us through prayer. This way he can connect with those who love and follow him” and “God speaks to me when I decide to make the right decisions.”
Other stations included a little ‘Oasis of Peace linked to St Francis of Assisi’ and a map of the world with prayers in many languages celebrating our diversity and linguistic ability. In the PE department we had a station capturing our CAFOD walking group ‘sharing the journey with the refugee crisis’ and hoping with CAFOD to walk the distance around the world of 24,901 miles! The final two stations included an exam stress prayer tree and the garden area which we often use for outdoor prayer and reflection.
An important aspect of the Bishops visit was the Leavers’ Service for Year 13. This was a Service of the Word led by Mrs Burgess and Bishop Peter based on the theme of the Year of Prayer and Vocation. At the end of the service, all who had gathered came forward and were blessed by Bishop Peter for the journey ahead. A beautiful and poignant moment. Thank you Bishop Peter we enjoyed your visit and sharing the Year of Prayer and Vocation with you.