How we are focusing on developing spiritual direction and planting worship communities in schools

Dawn Harrison spoke to us about what her role as Schools Development Minister involves and how it fits in with her work as Bishops Officer for Spiritual Direction.

“There is a great deal of amazing ministry being done in our schools, and we want to build on this, encouraging and enabling people to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus.  Our schools are the biggest mission fields we have.

I help schools and churches identify and equip Local Missional Leaders to plant Worship Communities in Schools through the Church School Partnership Award scheme and thorough the Joshua Centre’s work to multiply congregations.

I also work directly with a number of schools enabling children to plan and lead worship. One way is by raising the profile of HeartSmart, a powerful Gospel centred program for supporting emotional health and wellbeing in children and their families that helps raise children’s confidence and level of aspiration. Another way is by introducing resources e.g. Worship Warriors.  Both have the advantage of being able to tailor them to suit either a Christian or secular school’s needs.

In 2015 I became the Bishops Officer for Spiritual Direction this has enabled us to offer Spiritual Direction to schools’ senior teams as a gift from the church for this secondment. Providing this resource to them with no expectations of boxes to tick or forms to fill in demonstrates our care for them. As a result we are training new Directors, and Supervisors which in turn raises the profile of Spiritual Direction in the Liverpool Diocese.

The secondment from the UpHolland Team and Ormskirk Deanery will run till the end of July 2018, in which time I expect that some schools will have taken steps towards forming Worship Communities, that children are leading worship in our schools, that more schools are using HeartSmart, and that school leaders are being supported by spiritual directors. So far we are moving in the right direction and I’m excited to know that the Wigan Deanery is picking up at the end of the secondment and providing for an additional nine months of stipend for this work to continue across the Archdeaconry.

I would also hope that our Spiritual Direction team will have trained a new group of Spiritual Directors, and we will need to run more training course for Supervisors as well.

I would love this work to be across the entire Diocese in all our schools both primary and secondary, however that would be too big a role for one person. So at the moment I am working with primary schools (both church and community schools) in Wigan and West Lancs Archdeaconry.  However if you have a heart for School's Ministry please give me a call.”