Bishop Steven answers pupils Reinspired Big Questions


BISHOP Steven was given a place in the Mastermind chair at a recent REinspired session for primary school children at Lower Early Baptist Church in Reading.

“We have been working with the Year 6 children of Hawkedon Primary School since they were in Foundation,” says Julia Jones, Project Director of REinspired.  “All of our sessions meet the needs of the RE syllabus. But this session is different as it is the children who set the questions and we then design the session and activities accordingly.”

Some of the pupil’s asked questions about when we die. Leaders introduced the topic using the story of Water bugs and Dragonflies by Doris Stickney which led to deeper discussions in their small groups.  The pupils were given an opportunity to respond by using art and craft.

Pupils gathered together as one group and Bishop Steven settled himself down into the big ‘Mastermind’ chair.  With two minutes on the clock, how many questions did the bishop answer?  He managed to answer 11 fully and successfully before the bell went.  Some of the questions included:

“What do you do when you wake up?”

With a smile he answered, “I get out of bed, have a coffee and I pray.”

“Will Jesus always be with you?”

The Bishop firmly said, “Yes, including in death and beyond death.”

“If God is real why is He not helping people in need?”

Thoughtfully, the Bishop answered, “I think God is helping people in need a lot.  God calls us to help these people and has given all we need to do so.”

The pupils then had the opportunity of questioning the Bishop directly.  They eagerly put their hands up.  One of the questions was:

“If you could change anything in the world what would it be?”

Bishop Steven answered, “It would be war and conflict.  It’s terrible when it happens to people but when its caused by other people I think it’s the worst.”

As always, our teachers are invited to feedback their comments on every session.  Today the Hawkedon teachers reflected, “REinspired have organised this session well with a good pace.  We were happy with the delivery, setup and safety of the session.  It covered useful aspects of PSMSC (Personal, Spiritual, Moral, Social, Cultural). The children were engaged and thoroughly enjoyed questioning the Bishop.”

REinspired based at St Nicolas Church, Earley, is an ecumenical group of Christians in Earley and East Reading delivering RE sessions to schools. We started 15 years ago when one of our primary schools asked a local minister for help with their RE.  The Churches Together in Earley and East Reading team embraced the opportunity and REinspired was born.  Our aim is to meet the need of the locally agreed RE syllabus and bring RE to life. Having started with one class in one school, REinspired now supports every class in all 11 primary schools as well as two secondary schools.  When we started we had dreams of meeting and working with ‘every child, every year, every school’.  15 years later that dream is a reality.


Finding love at an RE teachers’ conference


LUCIE Cook was not expecting to meet her future husband on an RE course for teachers from Church of England Schools.

For a start, as Lucie points out, there are not that many guys in primary education. “There seem to be even fewer Christian guys in primary education, so meeting Oliver was a big surprise,” says Lucie.
But Lucie, a teacher at Eton Wick Church of England First School, was introduced to Oliver Strange, who was working at Benson CE School at the time. “We were introduced by the wonderful Jo Fageant, the course leader for the day, who discovered that we had a mutual friend. This was a lady called Isobel Vale, who had been an RE advisor for the Diocese of Oxford, who was also his godmother and had been a well known family friend of my parents.” Oliver reminisces “It was a lovely surprise to meet Lucie on the course and an even better surprise that even after my fumbled words to her on that day, she wanted to meet up again.”

They didn’t see each other for a few months but eventually met up again, spending the day in Oxford. “We met up at first in the May and started going out in the November,” says Lucie. “The Oxford Belfry, where the course took place, is such an important place for us; I took Lucie back there to propose to her,” says Oliver. The couple were married on August 4 at St Mary’s Church, Maidenhead.