Friday, 25 January 2013
Celebrating Education Sunday
We wished to celebrate Education Sunday somehow (which the churches in England and Wales are marking this coming Sunday) given that Leeds Trinity was founded to provide teachers for Catholic schools and teacher training remains core to our identity. A couple of years ago we had an ecumenical service but it was poorly attended. So this year we adopted a different approach: we set up a table with free coffee, fruit juice, cakes, scones and biscuits in a corridor in the building where many of the Primary Education students have their lectures. Cohort after cohort descended upon it delightedly. "What is this all free?" asked one incredulously. "You're worth it," we said. "Today is all about celebrating everybody involved in education." Then when their sugar levels were restored and they were preparing to return to lectures we gave them information about future Chaplaincy events, a prayer to mark the day, and a description of the vocation of the teacher taken from the Education Sunday website. St Paul, the feast of whose conversion is today, travelled throughout the known world to evangelise; we just asked the unversity porters to transport some flasks of coffee and cakes to a building three minutes' walk from the Chaplaincy. Nevetheless, the effect was dramatic. Many students are so pressed for time they don't want to attend a social event in the Chaplaincy; and some fear that they might be labelled were they to do so. So the Chaplaincy needs to go them. It's rather embarrassing that it's taken me five-and-a-half years to realise this. It occurred to me that Jesus' words in today's gospel - "Go out to the whole world" - do not constitute an injunction for a time, as if there could be a moment when the job had been done and we could all relax. "Going out" is a permanent feature of the life of the Church; it is what the Church is for.