In November, the Blue Coat School Religious Studies department hosted ‘Faith Day’ for all of our Year 7 students. We also welcomed the Year 5 classes from East Crompton St James’, East Crompton, St Georges’, and St Lukes’ Primary schools; who all took part with great enthusiasm.
One of our Year 7 students, Riaz Ahmad, explains what the day was all about:
What is Faith Day?
Faith day is a spectacular day where pupils experience a journey through faith. The journey consists of experts from major religions discussing aspects of their religion and the traditions that are important to them. It allowed us to experience things we would never know about and helped us broaden our knowledge about other people’s religion. Everyone was given a passport to record all the fascinating workshops we visited through the day. Here is a review of each of the workshops I visited:
Workshop 1 – Sikhism
The Sikhism workshop was an adventure through the history of Sikhism, Prakash Singh taught us about the birth of Guru Nanak; the five k’s and told us about a daily life of a Sikh. Furthermore, selected students were lucky to see what it was like to wear a turban by trying one on; although it was (really) heavy!
Workshop 2 – Buddhist Mandalas
Next part of our exciting journey was producing our very own Buddhist mandalas! These are exceptionally gorgeous pieces of artwork created by Tibetan monks. These works require: patience concentration and team work which everyone was able to practice. But – as traditional Buddhists do they destroy their mandalas and put it in the nearest river. Therefore, we were able to rip ours up to see what this is like to. The reason in destroying these intricate artworks is so Buddhists know we should never be too attached to things as they are not permanent.
Workshop 3 – Gospel Singing
For the Christianity section of our faith day – we did some gospel singing. The song chosen was ‘Shackles’ by Mary, Mary which was about the shackles that Christians believe you could be restrained by without knowing Jesus. It was such a fun and enjoyable session which included some free-style dancing! We were taught by a talented gospel choir singer, Margaret Ferguson.
Workshop 4 – Judaism
In this session, we looked at the religion of Judaism with Guy Samuels. We were taught many things like the history of the Jewish people and celebrations in the Jewish calendar. We could try some traditional challah bread with salt which to Jews represents the sweetness and bitterness of life. We also had some wine (grape juice really!) and learnt about that Shabbat ceremony. In addition to this, we also could understand Jewish clothing and culture like why they wear a kippah.
Workshop 5 – Islam
The final workshop was the Islam workshop. It was delivered by two representatives from the Oldham Interfaith network, the very humorous Mufti Helal and Fazal Rahim. The workshop taught us more about the five pillars of Islam and how to perform them and why are they important. It showed the life of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh); and taught how Islam is a religion of peace. There was also a modelling of the Muslim Salah (prayer).
As you can tell from my review, faith day was a remarkable, inspiring and unique day in which we learnt a lot about faith, how it impacts peoples’ lives, and some of the similarities and differences between different religions.
There was also a sixth workshop that many students took part in which was an opportunity for spiritual reflection, provided by the Salt Cellar Youth Centre in Oldham. The students were given time and space to think about things they were grateful for, things they were sorry for, and complete different activities to aid this reflection.
Siobhan Metcalfe, the RE co-ordinator at St Luke’s Primary School sent us a message of thanks after the event: “Thank You so much for a fantastic day on Friday, both children and staff thoroughly enjoyed the day. The children have taken away new knowledge of different religions”
We shared some follow up activities with the primary schools and are looking forward to receiving some of their evaluative comments and examples of their work.