Saturday, 23 March 2013


                                       We’ve Got Spirit

On Wednesday 20th of March 2013 (United Nations Day for Happiness), a group of BBEC students took part in something very special: the Lancashire  SACRE Youth Conference at the Hindu Temple in Preston. Here, representatives from local schools participated in an R.E. Conference which offered workshops organised by the schools and experts - including meditations, discussions and the opportunity to tour the Temple.

Broughton students had the pleasure of welcoming school representatives and distributing notebooks on the front of which were printed two important questions for reflection over the day ahead:

1. What is spiritual?

2. Why does R.E. matter?
The questions seemed easy enough at first, but the more you think about them, the more complicated the answers become.
What does spiritual actually mean? Why does R.E. matter? Now our brains were really switched on, and the theme for the day was set.

The conference was then opened with an excellent welcome speech from Year 8 Broughton student, Will Mercer, and then from Peter Martin from Lancashire SACRE. We watched a video clip featuring the oldest living survivor of the Holocaust,  - Alice Herz-Sommer- on the meaning of life, which certainly left participants with  something to think about.
“See beauty everywhere...”
All Hallows school have been promoting R.E. with parents as well as pupils; one parent, Paul, gave an interesting talk in which he suggested that as teenagers we may not have much independence- in the sense of not having a driver’s license etc, - but that we most certainly do have spiritual freedom: the freedom to  choose what to believe. He encouraged his young listeners to do what teenagers are good at and to challenge everything!

With these opinions in mind, we then had the chance to discuss with other attendees what we feel about R.E. and what we think spiritual means; it was clear to see the interest in pupils’ faces as views were shared. The interest expressed in R.E. issues among all pupils was wonderful to witness.
The first workshop that Broughton students attended was entitled “Breathe” and was run by the diocese of Blackburn, presenting what spirituality means to a Christian. 
They guided participants through a series of meditations and  kinaesthetic activities designed to facilitate a special connection to our spiritual selves and prompt important questions that we will encounter on the journey that is life; Breathe was an activity that was enjoyed by everyone.

Next, feeling relaxed and with a closer spiritual connection with something, no matter what religion or belief, pupils moved on to workshop 2, run by the Hollins Technology College.   The aim was to raise awareness of the the importance of R.E. in schools and to debate whether R.E. should have a place in the Ebacc. The motto of their workshop - exploRE the RElevance of RE- was most thought provoking but all students agreed  that  R.E. HAS VALUE.

Taking a break from the workshops, we had the chance to enter the Hindu Temple and to observe the feeding of the deities.
Hindus believe in one God that takes many forms and represents many things. God is worshipped through the deities and they are therefore treated with great respect. As we took off our shoes and entered the temple, we were met with bright colours, statues of the deities and worshippers sitting on the carpeted floor, clearly deep in praise, singing prayers and clapping. We were immediately entranced by this peaceful, bright, and clearly devoted
religion.  The ceiling, covered in paintings, told a story and the bright colours and food offerings were truly astounding.
Our Hindu guides explained their beliefs to us and answered all our questions.

It was then time for lunch, with a range of traditional Indian foods and pizza! This was a time to relax and reflect on the day so far and gave me the chance to speak to Pagpa, a Buddhist monk and ask what spirituality means to
Pagpa explained why he believes R.E. is important - it raises big questions. Why we are here?  What is the meaning of life?
He suggested that such questions can be answered by religious education. R..E. is the one subject that will let us discuss and explore  these sort of questions.
He feels that when taught well, R.E. encourages young people to question, make judgements and, most importantly, to challenge everything.
To Pagpa, faith is his life, he explained, his heart... Without religion, he feels we are just a pile of atoms with no real purpose. His spiritual teacher told him that religion should help him develop compassion, and to help others and that itself was
the true meaning of life.
Finally, it was Broughton’s turn to lead a workshop based on the 5 elements - earth, air, water, fire and spirit; BBEC’s approach was similar to ‘Breathe’ and required participants to use mp3 players with recordings of interviews with religious believers and atheists and to provide a activities designed to help participants think about the core beliefs of different religions and belief systems. Each element corresponded to a certain belief. Earth=Christianity, Air=Atheism, Water=Islam, Fire=Hinduism and then there was one meditation area specifically designed to help individuals focus on focus on their spirit.

The day was a great success and the Broughton team did extremely well. The good news continued upon the students return to Broughton where they learned that 5 pupils (Sonya, Habeeba, William, Chloe and Saskia) have been chosen to be national Young Ambassadors for the RE Council!
A big well done and thankyou to everyone involved in the day - it was a truly memorable experience and has boosted hopes of promoting R.E....
We have spirit!


  1. A great report by Megan which has already caught the attention of some national RE organisations. It was a fantastic day because of all the hard work put in by everyine involved. Thankyou to all of you.

  2. This is an impressive report, Megan. Your absolute focus throughout BBC News School Report Day was fantastic and your notemaking and photography skills on the day of the Youth Sacre event were splendid. Congratulations.


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