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Open the Book in Low Moor

It’s a new year: time to try out something different and so Geoff and I have gone back to school! We’ve got be up early and make sure we’ve read the correct chapter in the book. We have to be down there in all weathers. But most importantly we’ll make some new friends and be able to share our interests.

What am I talking about? “Open the Book” – whose strap line is “Bringing the Bible to life for every child in every primary school.”

A couple of years ago Revs Lyn and Graeme asked the members at Aldersgate if we could sponsor the buying of a set of books for use in assemblies at our local Low Moor C.E. Primary School. We agreed straight away and understood that they would be used to introduce the children to characters and passages from the Bible. They would hear the stories read and get a chance to dress up and act them out. In addition to the books a team would be needed to lead the “Open the Book” assembly each Monday and perhaps take part in the acting. It sounded a good idea and Geoff particularly was keen to lend a hand. (He’s a frustrated actor!)

Fast forward a few months and we’re invited to a meeting at the school to discuss how it’s going and how more people can be involved. Along with us there’s Revs Lyn, Graham and Richard, Bev and Jenny Hardy and Christine Walker and Margaret Throp from Holy Trinity Church. There’s also a lot of capable young women from the school who seem to know what’s going on. They have lists, dates and LOTS of enthusiasm. It’s hard not to want to take part.

“It’s all in the book,” they tell us. All we have to do is turn up. They will supply all the props, any costumes, and a marked up script. We agree on dates and who will lead the assemblies for each half term then we’re all invited to the school play in the week leading up to Christmas and assured it will be OK. Simples....

Geoff and I are to lead the first half of the Winter Term but we go across to check what happens one Monday in November and hear Christine from Holy Trinity lead the session which tells the story of Eli and Samuel. It all goes extremely well. The children are very well behaved and really attentive. Christine does seem to have put in a lot of preparation and knows exactly what to say and when. Hope we can do as well.

The Christmas play is amazing. How do they get so many children into one place at once and so well behaved? Lots of the children (and teachers) have Christmas sweaters on or seasonal hats. Nothing has been rehearsed (apart from the choir’s singing) but everyone seems to know what to do and we are amused by one of the shepherds who uses his crook as a hockey stick. They really do seem well organized. Hope we can do as well.

We get the books off Lyn and read through our weeks. Its all there. Everything we need to say – it really has all been thought of already. We’re getting more confident and think we can pull it off.
The day dawns Monday 8th January and off we go. We decide to walk down as it’s not far and it’s a lovely cold, crisp morning. We follow streams of children and parents and go in through the office door. We’re getting better at signing in and printing off our visitors labels and soon we’re in the hall. Everyone seems to know what they’re doing. Staff and children alike are busily putting out chairs, turning on computers and checking everything is in order. It’s the story of the Wise Men and they’ve cast Geoff as King Herod, which is what we’d hoped. He gets to be very cross and shouts. Geoff is looking forward to it.

We all say “Good morning,” to Mrs Broadbent the head teacher and soon it’s over to me to introduce the theme of promises and looking forward to something. Then I invite us to “Open the Book”. Our wise men, zig and zag their way through the desert on their camels (imaginary) following the star (on a pole). The story ended “And then they went straight home, with stars in their eyes and God in their hearts.”

I read a short prayer, inviting the children to make it their own by joining in the “Amen” at the end. We sang a lovely modern song about Jesus and then we all went, very orderly, on our way. As they filed out we realised some of the children and staff were dressed up like bat man, spider woman and other comic book characters. Apparently, it was Super Hero Day. We certainly felt a bit like heroes ourselves, but in our case it was all down to the books and the careful planning of the staff and the foresight of our ministers who had suggested this venture.

One week down and we’re really glad we decided to go back to school and Geoff gets to be Jesus for the rest of the term! 

Mary and Geoff T, Aldersgate 


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