St Peters students walk the Blackwood faith trail

Bronwyn WilsonCommunity Action, Faith in Action, Learning

The students from Rooms 7 and 8 (Reception and Year 1) undertook a journey of discovery through the streets of Blackwood recently to understand the differences and similarities between denominations of the Christian faith.

First on their itinerary was Blackwood Hills Baptist Church. Here Pastor Brendan showed the students around the impressive facilities that provide worship spaces, youth gathering spaces, a gymnasium and ‘Sunday-Funday’ rooms (for children of all ages), as well as Cafe 72 — staffed entirely by volunteers. “We consider ourselves a seven-day-a-week church,” Pastor Brendan explained, “with over 1500 people passing through our doors each week.” The children noticed the absence of an altar in the church and asked why this was so. “We don’t have special furniture or things because we believe that the important thing is what you are doing for God. We are a group of people doing things for the community, serving God and sharing what he has done for us through Jesus Christ”.

As large as Blackwood Hills Baptist Church was, the next church to be visited was small: St Paul of the Cross Catholic Church. St Peters School friend Tracey Tessitore greeted the students and introduced them to Father Michael, who welcomed them to this tiny worship place. There was a buzz of excitement as the children adjusted to the extreme difference in size and elaborateness of this space. They identified statues, artworks of the stations of the cross, kneelers, the tabernacle and the holy water on entering as being different from the Baptist church and from St Peters own Lutheran church.

Last on the itinerary was All Hallows Anglican Church. Similar in size and vintage to St Paul of the Cross, All Hallows presented the children with another perspective on worship spaces. Reverend Joan, explained that the Anglican church was originally known as the ‘Church of England’ because that’s where it originated. “There are many traditions that come from the ancient English church like the role of the wardens. There was always a warden for the priest and one for the people and they had sticks called ‘staves’ that they carried. The people’s warden’s stave was topped with a crown and the priest’s warden’s stave was topped with a cross. The people’s warden used the stave to ‘prod’ people who had fallen asleep in church!”

In a trek that took 40 plus little feet (and several pairs of larger ones) nearly three kilometres up Cumming Street and along Coromandel Parade and back (conquering the mud on Hewitt Oval as well as a downpour of rain), the children discovered that churches they visited may be different shapes and sizes, but the core Christian beliefs are the same.

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