Being Together This Advent
- Archbishop Phillip Aspinall’s Advent 2020 message: the sustaining power of memory and hope
- Memory, presence and hope
- One quiet night when love was born
- Q&A with trailblazing UQ science graduate, Cursillo member, writer and centenarian parishioner, Margaret Thurgood
- Bishop Jeremy Greaves’ Advent 2020 message: a season for spiritual stocktaking
- Advent serendipity
- Margaret’s musings: spiritual stocktaking
- Church, community, chicken, chalk art and Christmas cheer
- Bishop John Roundhill’s Advent 2020 message: preparing for the prince of peace
- Bishop Cam Venables’ Advent 2020 message: making room in the inn
Anneliese, Year 6 student – Prayer Tree introduction – ‘Being Together: Practising Peacemaking’
In Term 4, The Springfield Anglican College (TSAC) Year 6 Leaders met with Head of Learning Mrs Williams to discuss what we could do for the College during Christmas. We talked about the ‘Giving Tree’ that we do every year and from this discussion we decided the gift of prayer would be a great way to spread the message of hope, joy and peace. So, we decorated our tree with prayers wrapped in ribbons. The students and teachers could take a prayer with them – this was a way to bring people together.
This Prayer Tree project was part of a Prayer Space that we designed and created for all students. Head of Learning Mrs Williams and the Year 6 Leaders met each Friday to discuss the two connected themes of ‘Practising Peacemaking’ and ‘Being Together’. We created this prayer space so all students could post a message or a prayer of peace. The leaders wanted to communicate ‘being together’ by students writing these prayers on hands. We displayed the prayers in the shape of heart to symbolise love and togetherness.
Taswin & Nicolas, Year 6 students – Why is it important to pray for people who are alone or lonely at Christmas?
Taswin: It is really important to pray for people especially in this COVID-19 year so that no one feels alone. I know that because of the travel restrictions and border changes that people may not be able to come together as a family during Christmas. Praying for all the lonely people is really important so we can give them hope. We need to inspire the kids at TSAC to have hope and we can do this through prayer.
Nicolas: I wanted people to feel connected through prayer even if they can’t be together during Christmas. Taking a prayer from the tree and sharing it with others will help to spread hope and care.
Lilli & Aziz – Why is it important for people to think about others and care for others during Advent and the Christmas season?
Lilli: For many people, especially in this COVID-19 year, Christmas may be different as people have lost loved ones, jobs and money. They don’t have the extra money to buy presents for their children, family, and friends. Many will be sad when they think of their loved ones who may not be with them. It is important that we all remember that Christmas is a time of great joy and when Jesus came to us. We need to share this with others, so they remember they are not alone and that God is here for us.
Aziz: Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to be born. His birth brought great joy to the world. This is the true message of Christmas – it’s about His presence NOT presents.
Isabella & Lilli – Why would you recommend other school students to create a prayer tree rather than a Christmas tree?
Isabella: We would recommend other schools create a prayer tree as it has been a great to help others. A Christmas tree makes me think of the presents I will receive. By having a prayer tree, students think about the real message of Christmas and that God gave us the best present, the birth of Jesus.
Lilli: We worked together as a team to create our Prayer Tree and it gave us time to reflect about what is happening in our lives and what other people are also going through. By writing our prayers, we could also feel grateful for things in our lives and not focus so much on bad things that have happened this year. We could also feel compassion for others and celebrate what God has given us.
Leila & Gurgeet, Year 6 students – Can you tell anglican focus readers about the prayer you wrote and whom it is for?
Leila: I wrote my prayer for all the emergency workers like nurses and doctors. These people have been working so hard to care for all people during COVID-19. We have also had very bad storms in Springfield and many students at the College had to move out of their homes so they could be repaired. The emergency workers had to work through the day and night to help these families.
Gurgeet: I wrote many small prayers for our younger students at The Springfield Anglican College, as I wanted them to understand that prayers are for everyone and it is easy. We can all pray to God and we can pray for others.
Year 6 students – What have you learned from this special College project?
Aziz: “One prayer can make a big difference to someone.”
Lilli: “Prayer spaces can bring joy and hope to others.”
Gurgeet: “Students of all ages can find a prayer for them.”
Isabella: “It is great to help others.”
Anneliese: “Little things like a prayer tree and prayer space can give students a place to pray and time to reflect.”
Ava: “It is important to share prayers and hope with everyone.”
Thierry: “We need to share God’s love with everyone.”
Taswin: “Lonely people need hope and a message of joy.”
Nicolas: “Prayer can bring people together during good and hard times.”
Leila: “Prayer spaces can help spread the message of being together and peace.”