New Archbishop of York speaks to pupils in national online school collective worship

09/07/2020

This Friday, the day after he legally becomes the 98th Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell will answer young people’s questions about compassion during a virtual collective worship session.

Bishop Stephen Cotrell outside York Minster on day of announcement as 98th Archbishop of York

It’s part of the Church of England’s #FaithatHome programme, a campaign to help families talk about faith and pray together.

Pupils from schools in Leeds and York will ask Archbishop Stephen questions such as, ‘What does compassion mean for you?’, and ‘In the midst of all the turmoil in the world, what are you hoping for?’

In his replies Archbishop Stephen says, “Compassion is trying to see the world from someone else’s perspective, and in that way you can be of the most help and service to them”.  

And, “I’m hoping that when we get through this pandemic, we won’t go back to normal. This does give us the opportunity to think more carefully about what sort of world we want to build and what sort of world we want to inhabit.”

Also in the video are pupils from Grace Academy in Coventry and Bishop Paul Mason, the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Forces, who share their thoughts on compassion, and pupils from St Peter’s School, Huntingdon, lead the prayers. The questions to Archbishop Stephen come from pupils at Bishop Young Academy in Leeds, Manor CE Academy & Archbishop Holgate’s School in York.

Since April, #FaithatHome has been providing weekly collective worship (for people of all faiths and none) for Oak National Academy, an online classroom set up in response to the Coronavirus pandemic offering lessons for primary and secondary school students. 

Archbishop Stephen says, “It’s easy to see that many children and young people are finding it hard being apart from their friends both in school and beyond. Parents and carers, teachers and schools, are working hard to help learning take place, but all recognise that this can be a challenge. The Oak National Academy is a wonderful platform that is helping with this and the contributions to the weekly Faith at Home collective worship sessions reflect a wider world beyond the confines of the home. I’m pleased to support the Archbishop of York Youth Trust as they are involved!”

The first collective worship for Oak National Academy in April featured the Archbishop of Canterbury & the Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon. Gavin Williamson MP, and was the biggest school collective worship ever held in the UK. 

Nigel Genders, the Church of England’s Chief Education Officer, says, “We’re delighted at Archbishop Stephen’s involvement in our Collective Worship and #Faith at Home. The sessions include eminent contributors from different faith groups and focus on topics such as hope and resilience, as well as practical ideas for developing conversations about faith. They offer pupils a chance to pause and reflect, providing reassurance both during this time of uncertainty and for the future.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, says: “The aim of the #Faith at Home programme is to offer simple ways for families and households to approach complex and difficult topics, such as illness, fear and bereavement.

"I hope these resources will not only equip children and young people to engage with difficult questions, but also inspire them to explore how they can become the answers to their own prayers, and, when this crisis is over, they are freshly inspired to love and serve those around them.”

Oak National Academy provides video lessons and resources for teachers, parents and children. It offers over 180 lessons a week, the equivalent of three hours a day for primary school students, and four hours a day for secondary. It has the support of education organisations such as the Sutton Trust, Teach First, the Teaching Schools Council and the Confederation of School Trusts, and is backed by the Department for Education.

The video will be available on the Oak National Academy website, the Church of England Faith at Home pages and the Archbishop of York Youth Trust’s YouTube from 10am on Friday 10 July.

About the Archbishop of York Youth Trust

The Archbishop of York Youth Trust is passionate about developing opportunities for young people to grow in leadership, faith and character, in partnership with schools, churches and communities. Through the Young Leaders Award, the Youth Trust has empowered over 100,000 young people from over 850 schools to learn and practice key leadership skills and character virtues and to transform their communities through social action.

For more information on the Youth Trust, visit abyyt.com or phone 01904 231010.

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About the Young Leaders Award

The Young Leaders Award is a fully resourced leadership and character education programme, designed by the Archbishop of York Youth Trust, to be delivered by teaching staff within the classroom. The Award has empowered over 100,000 pupils from 850 schools to learn and practice key leadership skills and character virtues and to transform their communities through social action. Available at KS1 to KS4/+16, the YLA has clear links to SMSC, British Values, PSHE, Character Education, Citizenship, RE and SIAMS.

For more information on the Young Leaders Award, visit abyyt.com/young-leaders-award or email [email protected].