Carols at the Cathedrals - 2019
A seasonal good news story this week looking at activities for children in our cathedrals
It’s a weekday in early December and the streets of Brecon are full of children walking towards the Cathedral. Teachers lead the way as if they were Moses before the children of Israel. They walk in twos, very orderly, but clearly very excited also. Dressed in their school uniforms, but those uniforms hidden beneath thick coats, scarves and hats. It’s dry, but certainly not warm. They are going to the Cathedral for Children’s Carols at the Cathedral. An event organised by the Diocesan Director of Education, St Padarn’s Institute and Scripture Union Cymru.
At 10:30am the last class has arrived, every spare chair that can be found has been brought out, Brecon Cathedral is packed to capacity with children who are very excited about the activities that are about to take place.
This event is being repeated in several Cathedrals and at Margam Abbey. But today we are in Brecon. Simon Parry and the All Stars Teams are assisted by some of our Welsh youth and children’s officers and on this particular day, also assisted by the Archbishop. Warm up sessions take place and then, after some friendly banter with Simon, the Archbishop talks to the children about the Cathedral and about Christmas. They are fascinated by his Archbishop’s crosier and are clearly in the mood for asking questions.
Meilyr Rees, part of the team, has recently released a CD of Welsh children’s songs, so songs follow in Welsh and English. And then it’s time for a game involving teachers and custard pies. The children are clearly ecstatic. Then a dressing up game as teachers enact the nativity wearing the outfit of the nativity character mentioned as the narrative progresses. The teachers have clearly embraced the Christmas spirit too.
Then craft activities, prayers and time for lunch. It is wonderfully organised and looks like the most extraordinary picnic at the Cathedral with children and teachers and team sat in circles chatting and eating.
The afternoon returns with more games, stories, gospel presentations and then 4 hours after we started, it is time for the pilgrimage to reverse and for children to return to their schools for pickup. But one more finishing touch, a present to every child as they leave. The children chatter with excitement, they have not only heard about the joy of this season, they have experienced the joy of the season. All Stars team, local singer/songwriters, diocesan education, children, youth and family officers, St Padarn’s, Scripture Union, teachers and Archbishop John all combined to make this an extraordinary event presenting the love, joy and peace of God at Christmas time.
And the real power was, it would be repeated again and again to over a thousand children, reaffirming the Church in Wales’ commitment to children and schools across the province.