In the first six months of this year, more than 100 secondary and junior school-children passed through the Christian Heritage Centre’s exhibition on the history of God’s Word in the UK.
This is a small number in proportion to the number of schools in our area, but as all who have so far attended have asked to return next year, it is a significant start.
On these visits the children have spent virtually the whole morning with us, and it needs to be said that all have been exceptionally well-behaved and attentive.
We have adapted our sessions to the two main history topics currently in the national curriculum, the Tudors and the Victorians.
For the Tudor period, we major on William Tyndale, the story of his life and work, coming to the point where the children were able to see and to hold the answer to Tyndale’s prayer, the famous ‘Chained Bible’ placed by Henry VIII in every church in the land.
Our method has been to divide the children into three rotating groups: one listening to an illustrated talk on Tyndale’s life and work; one involved in an interactive search activity, seeking out relevant items in the exhibition; and the other group making models of the chained Bible and lectern.
For the Victorian period, we centred on the work of Richard and George Cadbury of Birmingham, and their many labours for the advancement of the gospel in the city and beyond. This was a good opportunity to illustrate Christianity’s massive influence on the social well-being of our national life.
Again the children were divided into three groups, with an illustrated talk, an interactive searching activity and the making of Victorian wooden spoon figures.
A special song was written and sung to the tune of ‘My Grandfather’s clock’, setting out the influence of Christianity on Victorian life. The morning ended with the children being shown a Bible that had been presented by George Cadbury to one of his workers in 1897.
At the present time, many invitations have gone out to local schools for the autumn term. So far this year we have received general visitors from Wiltshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire and Warwickshire.
During the summer months we held a cream tea and second-hand book sale. We are now looking forward to our autumn lectures on Saturday 4 October, when Alun McNabb will speak on John Ashworth and Roland Burrows on Thomas Cranmer.
We thank all who have prayed and encouraged us in this important venture, and give special thanks to our regular helpers (www.christianheritagecentre.org.uk).
George Roland Burrows