Evenwood C of E Primary School is a Church of England primary school that offers a distinctly Christian education in an inclusive environment where we encourage all children and young people to learn, enquire and grow.
The distinctive nature of our approach to education can be found is embedded in everything that we do. Our particular Christian values are explicitly taught in collective worship and referred to throughout the school day.
Children and staff of all faiths and none are welcome at our school and our aim is to promote understanding and tolerance between those of different faith traditions.
As a community, we have identified seven values that are woven into the very fabric of the school which we expect all members of the school community – children, staff, governors and clergy – to model:
We believe these values are empowering our pupils to develop their spirituality and guiding them in personal development as effective learners and good citizens. Children have regular opportunities to reflect on each Value and to develop an understanding of the Value in action. Each Friday, in our Celebration Assembly, we acknowledge and reward those children who have demonstrated these values.
The Christian Values we are particularly focusing on in this term is Koinonia, Thankfulness and Trust.
But God has combined the members of the body ….so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it (1 Corinthians 12:24-26)
In Christian teaching Koinonia describes how Christians come together as a family. The members of our school family are interdependent: all are needed and valued and each person is important to the whole. We are working together to ensure all feel included and valued.
Through Christ we all share fellowship with one another as one big family. Koinonia comes from the Greek word meaning community or fellowship. This shows the special relationship we have with each other where as a community we look after each other, where we are welcomed and accepted, no matter who we are. Together we can grow in our relationship with one another and with God. We come together with Christ at the centre of our school.
We will be linking Koinonia to ‘The Parable of the Good Shepherd’ (Matthew18)
God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say thank you? Anon
We will be looking at why being thankful is important and discussing what the children are thankful for in their lives.
Thankfulness has always been at the centre of the life and worship of Christians. ‘Songs of thankfulness and praise…’ are at the heart of Christian worship. Jesus gave thanks to God (Matthew 11.25) and although the word ‘thankfulness’ is not common in the Gospels, recognition of his dependence on the Father infuses the whole life of Jesus. Thankfulness is a wholehearted response. It stems from a consciousness of God’s gifts and blessings. It is a joyfulness that erupts into praise. Paul frequently encourages us to ‘be thankful’ (Colossians 3:15), to ‘give thanks in all circumstances’ (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and says that our lives should ‘overflow with thankfulness’ (Colossians 2:7).
For Christians the greatest of all acts of worship is simply called ‘thanksgiving’ or Eucharist.
What do we do in school in response to thankfulness?
·We show our appreciation for pupil’s achievements through giving certificates and stickers to them.
·We know that having food, clothes and lovely things is a blessing and not a right.
·We show our thankfulness through our support to charities that help others who are not as fortunate as ourselves.
·We give thanks to God through our hymns and our prayers, this is genuine and not simply saying the words.
·We learn to be thankful for the skills of others and the ways in which they enrich our lives.
·We say thank you to each other and know that saying thank you is important and polite.
We will be linking Thankfulness to the story of ‘The man who came back’. (Luke 17)
Trust is the very essence of faith; trust in the God who is trustworthy. ‘Trust in the Lord’ is a central theme in the Psalms. Time and time again, God is the acknowledged as the source of all true security and strength. This is contrasted with trust in chariots, horses, weapons, wealth or princes (Psalm 20:7; 118:8-9). We can easily think of the modern day equivalents. Trust placed in the wrong things is close to idolatry.
Trust is essential to human life and lies at the heart of all relationships. Trust entails vulnerability, putting yourself in others’ hands. We have to trust experts – pilots, dentists, surgeons. Yet, within our society, there often seems to be mutual distrust between people and those responsible for governing them.
Trust is central to civilised society, to living together in harmony, so it is to be valued and honoured. With wisdom and discernment, we can relearn to trust. We can begin to rebuild trust in our mistrustful society by being reliable ourselves, by not letting people down. Similarly, when we work with others, if we are willing to let go of control ourselves and trust in the abilities and integrity of others, everyone can be enriched. Jesus, after all, entrusted his ongoing work to his disciples and ultimately to us.
We will be linking Trust to the story of Jesus Calms the Storm (Luke 8: 22-25).
The Christian Values we are particularly focusing on in this term is Trust, Service and Forgiveness.
Words relating to ‘servant’ and ‘service’ are central in Christian theology. Some of the most important prophecies in Isaiah speak of the coming of the ‘Servant of the Lord’ and his role as a ‘suffering servant.’ That is why Jesus said that he ‘came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’
Jesus washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper. This turned upside down the normal relationship between master and disciple, leader and follower. In many ways, this astonishing action symbolizes the essence of the Incarnation: God stooping to share the human condition. Jesus is very clear about the meaning of his action: ‘Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done.’
The parable of the Good Samaritan shows we should serve those in need whoever they are. Such service is not offered to gain some advantage for ourselves. ‘Going the extra mile’ involves sacrifice, putting ourselves out for someone else’s benefit. Serving God means serving others. It also means that we cannot serve other masters as well – such as money. However, the Christian message is equally clear that service is not all about restrictions. It is precisely in a life of service that we become most truly free.
Some of our children have been busy making Evenwood tidy. They have been serving the community by organising and taking part in regular litter picks.
Ephesians 4:32 : ‘Be compassionate and kind to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’
Forgiveness is fundamental to the character of God. Throughout the Bible, God is described as slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin (Numbers 14:18). Jesus was uncompromising in his command to forgive. Forgive, he said, ‘seventy times seven’ (Matthew 18:21), meaning forgive and keep on forgiving without limit. Forgiveness was at the heart of everything he did and is at the heart of the Lord’s Prayer. When Jesus declared a person’s sins to be forgiven, it often aroused the anger of those who were less willing to forgive than he was and yet a prayer for the forgiveness of his persecutors was on Jesus’ lips as he died. Christian preaching has always put forgiveness at the centre.
We forgive because we are forgiven. Forgiveness cannot be given or received unless it is asked for, and the asking must be genuine and from the heart. Too often ‘sorry’ is said very easily, implying: ‘All I need to do is say I’m sorry and everything will be OK’. Real repentance demands that we take what we have done wrong with the utmost seriousness and have a deep desire not to do it again.
The Christian Values we are particularly focusing on in this term is Endurance and Justice.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations (Psalm 100:5)
The word can be used for standing firm in the face of hardship, persecution or scorn, but we hope this is not our situation in our school. We use it more in the context of ‘keeping going, and not giving up’ as endurance is the special gift that we have when life is difficult or painful that helps us not to give up.
The Bible assures us that God’s love, mercy, faithfulness and righteousness endure forever (e.g. Psalm 118: 136). Emphasis upon endurance is common in the New Testament, where it is linked with patience and suffering.
St Paul is certain that endurance is honed by suffering, is character building, and is characterised by love (Romans 5: 3–4; I Corinthians 4: 12–13). It is linked with self-control, godliness (2 Peter 1: 6) and steadfastness. At its root, endurance is a recognition that life is sometimes difficult and painful, and that it is important not to give up in the face of adversity.
Jesus endured rejection, abuse and the cross, and his followers are warned that they may well have to share that pain as persecution took hold. Discipleship is depicted as ‘taking up the cross daily’ and following in Jesus’ footsteps (Luke 9: 23).
Endurance and perseverance are only possible where there is hope, and that hope is based on the enduring nature of God’s love and faithfulness. Even Jesus, for all his strength and ability to endure, looked to his disciples to help and sustain him by watching and praying with him (Matthew 26).
We will be linking Endurance to the story of ‘The Parable of the Sower’ (Matthew 13, 1–9 & 18–23).
“Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.”
When thinking about ‘justice’, some people think first about giving wrongdoers the punishment they deserve. ‘Justice’ evokes ideas of ‘just deserts’, ’the punishment fitting the crime’, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’.
However, that would be a one-sided picture of justice. Justice also means giving all people – particularly the poor and oppressed – what it is right and fair for them to have: life, health, freedom and dignity. It is about acting out of a concern for what is right and seeing right prevail. It is about social justice, especially for those who suffer most and are least able to protect themselves.
In Exodus, the people are instructed to deal with everyone fairly and never to show partiality to one group above another (Exodus 23:2,6).The Bible emphasises that ‘The righteous care about justice for the poor’ (Proverbs 29:7).Isaiah says: ‘Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow’ (Isaiah 1:17). Justice is the ‘plumb line’ by which society is measured (Isaiah 29:17). According to Amos, its presence in society should be constant and abundant: ‘Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!’ (Amos 5:24)
Throughout the Bible, it is emphasised that justice is immensely important to God. It is fundamental to God’s character. ‘For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face.’ (Psalm 11:7)
Justice is not about a culture which encourages everyone to insist on their own rights at the expense of others. It is about a community that knows that everyone’s well-being is bound up with that of everyone else.
A commitment to justice leads to fierce opposition to injustice in whatever form it may be found. Justice is a pre-requisite of peace: without justice there can be no peace.
We will be linking Justice to the story of Jesus in the temple (Luke 2:41-52).
Values in Action
We think about the value through stories from the Bible and around the world. Some of these stories are from long ago and some of them are much more recent. We hear about people living out this value in their lives today. We come together with other classes to show the value in a practical context. We keep up-to-date with current events to highlight the relevance of each value.
We think about how we can use the value today to make a difference in the world. We know that small differences can make the world a better place and we always try to live out the Christian values in our actions towards others.
For more information, please view the Christian Values for Schools website.
Our children are enthused to demonstrate these values in all elements of their lives. Read our Values Powerpoint for Parents to help us raise awareness of these values in everyday life. We would love to hear from you on the occasions your child (ren) shows these values.