Diocese of Portsmouth

    Schools take part in Lights of Hope project

    14 March 2023

    CHURCH schools across our diocese were involved with a project that aimed to focus on Christian hope.

    The project was based on a ‘Light of Hope’ art installation, which was suspended above Winchester Cathedral’s nave between October and January. It inspired pupils across Hampshire to create their own miniature lights of hope.

    The giant steel star-shaped sculpture, with neon changing lights, was created by artist Peter Walker. His ‘Light of Hope Star’ was designed to unify and represent hope.

    Children in church schools across the diocese were invited to create their own lights of hope, as a way of thinking about hope as a Christian value, through their RE learning and collective worship. A range of resources were created by our diocesan education team to support schools, including reflections and art appreciation activities.

    Schools and parishes embraced the project and created their own stars of light. Some were taken to the cathedral, others were placed in churches or formed beautiful displays in schools.

    The five-metre Star of Hope at Winchester Cathedral

    Each child at Alverstoke C of E Junior School in Gosport created a lantern and discussed their hopes for themselves, others, the world and beyond. Teachers used the opportunity to further develop the children's spirituality understanding. The lanterns were hung on the school’s Christmas tree in school and the school’s entry in the St Mary's Church Christmas Tree Festival. At a special collective worship, each child brought their light and placed it in the school’s spirituality garden.

    Children at Wickham C of E Primary School created their own star-shaped origami tea-light holders, decorated with messages of hope. Years 1 and 2 drew pictures of hopes for themselves, Years 3 and 4 drew, or wrote, about hopes for others and Years 5 and 6 added their hopes for the world.

    The Light of Hope stars were sent out into the school and local community. Some were presented to members of staff, including minibus drivers, school cooks and the admin team. Some were presented to the church community at the patronal festival at St Nicholas Church and others were taken to the Wickham Christmas lights ‘switch on’ in the village square. 

    Bishop Jonathan, who attended the patronal festival, was very pleased to receive a Light of Hope from the children. He took the time to say a special prayer and to bless the lights.

    Teacher Nicky Portlock said: "It was lovely to be involved and the response from children and from members of the community has been really positive. The lights have truly brought a little extra joy and hope."

    The worship council at Cornerstone C of E Primary School in Whiteley made light holders as part of the project. The children thought about the great power of light over darkness; how light can bring new colour, brings new life, and always bring hope. The children said that, as well as thinking about hope and light, the project had encouraged them to be the light, and to make light too!

    And Oakfield C of E Primary School in Ryde held a Lights of Hope tealight-making workshop. Families arrived to make the light holders with the children.

    To read more about this project, you can download the full Lights of Hope booklet here.

    Lights of Hope at Oakfield C of E Primary in Ryde
    Pupils from Alverstoke C of E Junior School with their lights of hope
    The miniature lights of hope at Alverstoke C of E Junior School in Gosport


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