School Logo

Saints in the Valley (from previous website)

The Winterbournes & Compton Valence Worship Committee, looking to All Saints tide and the popular culture of Hallowe’en was prompted to engage in the challenge – how to celebrate All Saints without appearing kill-joy ! It led to an eve-of-All Hallows’ service in Winterbourne Steepleton Parish Church with candles, incense , ikons, and singing to which families were invited to bring their carved pumpkins; these were lit and placed around a cross laid on the floor by children - we stood holding hands to pray. Children brought forward ikons downloaded from the internet, displayed in perspex, and placed them on the Altar. Contemporary “saints” were chosen as well as the Patron Saints of the Parishes in our Benefice. Some children came in their Hallowe’en gear which they had worn at a Saturday evening community street party; and it was good they felt comfortable rather than being made to feel uncomfortable.

We saw this as a wider opportunity to work with our Church of England First School. With the year 3 and 4 teacher Mrs Annie Burson and Mrs Geraldine Canniford, ex teacher and artist,the children embarked on an art project. It began with a specially requested whole-school assembly on All Saints’ Day. Visiting Sherborne Abbey and meeting John Coleman the Iconographer, he showed us his work, explained about paints and mixing egg and water , telling us about saints we had never heard of before. In the days that followed the children drew their own ikons, learned to transfer the outline to hardboard which had been prepared in the parish, and to use their paints to write their ikons. The results were stunning; they were displayed in school and on Advent Sunday when, transferring Parish Eucharist to the evening, we invited children and parents to Porridge, Bacon butties etc and to advent ring- making and other activities, whilst letting a wider constituency see the children’s achievement. The School greatly encouraged parishioners with artist’s skills to work with the class, and for Clergy to come and see the progress each day.