The Downs Church of England Primary School Christian Lunchtime Club- The Lighthouse Club.
Headed up by Mrs Kilmurray, the federation Family Liaison Officer, the Lighthouse Club meets every Thursday from 12.30pm - 1pm in the Cabin. Open to pupils Year 3 and above, it provides a lively, fun and comfortable setting for children to explore Christianity. Reinforcing the Christian ethos and values of the school, local Christian Ministers and others from the area, prepare and present a varied, often interactive, Bible story-telling programme reflecting both the Church Year and issues in the world.
The children have the freedom to express their own views and often share personal joys and concerns which provide focus for our prayers.
Termly,whole-school assemblies serve to promote Lighthouse Club and class teachers play their part in reminding the children that they can join us.
Beyond school, a visit to Canterbury Cathedral, where the children went on a Becket Trail was a highlight within the year for Lighthouse Club, as was the opportunity to work alongside a team of learning disabled adults on a community garden project run by L'Arche, where the children spent a morning laying turf.
The children particularly enjoyed writing there name using a quill pen and ink and were excited to be able to explore different parts of the Cathedral.
The Revd Seth Cooper, Vicar of Walmer, led a short act of worship for the group in the All Saints Chapel high up above the South Transept. Pastor Greg Bridges, one of the group leaders, who come from local churches, found kneeling before the altar during the prayers very moving.
Lighthouse Club offers the children the opportunity to understand more about Christianity, ask questions, share their joys and worries, and, as on this trip, learn how the Church has shaped our national identity through history.
Children from The Downs CE Primary School, Walmer, took a break from their lessons to help the L'Arche Kent Community, in Canterbury, with a project to lay turf on part of The Glebe land behind St Mildred's Church.
Under the watchful eye of Colin Bridgland, L'Arche Kent's Development Co-ordinator, the children enthusiastically set about the task assisted by volunteers and core members of the community. The children, members of Lighthouse Club which meets weekly in school and is run by local church leaders, were able to see how money donated at their Christmas Carol Services was being spent.
There are 10 L'Arche Communities in the UK where people with and without learning disabilities share life together, living and/or working in community.
The Community have established a flourishing Eco-friendly Garden on land given by the Diocese of Canterbury. Core members industriously work in the greenhouses, potting sheds and raised beds propagating and nurturing plants which are sold to raise funds for the charity.
Peter, a core member of L'Arche, who spent the morning working with the children, kept a keen eye on health and safety reminding them to take care when wielding rakes.
Pastor Seyan Tills of Walmer Baptist Church, one of the Lighthouse Group leaders, said "it was great to see everyone working together harmoniously".
Colin Bridgland, thanking the group for their help said,"the children were incredibly enthusiastic and worked really hard, carrying and laying nearly 100 square metres of turf in under 2 hours! It was great to have young people on the site and especially good that they could see how their donation was being used at the garden project"