Trainee LLM joins in bringing the Bible alive for children

OXFORDSHIRE-based trainee Licensed Lay Minister, Rosemary Sandbach, (pictured right) renewed her love of children’s work with a placement at REinspired. For two months Rosemary worked with Julie Jones, the project director of REinspired, a charity that helps bring the Bible alive for school children.

Rosemary met an REinspired trustee at a Christian Community Action (CCA) shop where she worked as an accountant. She was invited to observe a session, loved it and wanted to see more. Julia organised a programme for her sessions in both primary and secondary schools.

Rosemary says her experience in the Year 12 “Problem of Evil” session, held at the secondary school, was amazing. Preparing for the session she learnt a new word: “theodicy”. It means to try and answer the question of why a good God allows evil. She said: “It’s a helpful reminder that even as adults working with young people and children we can always learn new things.”

Rosemary attended a Year 6 Transition Event in a leisure centre hall, where 300 children were given the chance to reflect on how they felt about moving up to secondary school. Rosemary said: “The experience was quite different from the quiet group of seven children at a similar event with my village school.”

Other sessions that Rosemary enjoyed were Year 6 Death, Funerals and the Christian and Year 5 Beliefs and Practices. She was fascinated to hear that REinspired have ‘family’ groups in other parts of Reading and beyond, i.e. West Reading, Woodley, Caversham, Southcote, Chinnor, Houghton Regis, Headington and Guernsey. The family groups follow the REinspired model and use similar ways of sharing their faith to bring RE to life for children in schools.

This year Julia is piloting a new REinspired project for three schools in West and South Reading with another three in the Reading/Wokingham area who have asked for support. Julia said: “If you have a heart to work with children, live in these areas and would like to be involved, please contact me.

Once a youth group leader, Rosemary loves to explore what children are interested in, how they think and the best way to communicate with them.  She said: “REinspired has shown me that if you structure a session correctly, in the way REinspired does, the children are interested in what is said and respond enthusiastically when given the freedom to express their questions.

“It’s brilliant that they have something to say about the issues being discussed. When I was at school I used to sit in the classroom with the teacher writing on the blackboard and talking from the front.  It was boring.”  She exclaims, “REinspired make it so interesting and all the children are involved!”

Photos by Carol Meunier.