Children and adults from Holy Cross Primary trekked across town and country on a pilgrimage to St Margaret the Queen Church in Buxted Park on Tuesday.
The pupils’ pilgrimage was a lovely and respectful way for the children to think about, commemorate and give thanks to God for those they love and hold dear.
Reminiscent of religious pilgrimages from days of old, all of Holy Cross School’s children, from reception to year six, walked the five mile round trip from the centre of town to the church and back to school. They were met by Father John Barker who welcomed them to his beautiful church and gave them a brief account of St Margaret, the church’s namesake, who had apparently been a Queen of Scotland married to King Malcolm III.
At the church, the children gave thanks for loved ones and each class gave a performance demonstrating a different aspect of the creative arts. Joyful marching songs were sung, including Sussex by the Sea, which has become a Holy Cross School anthem and is sung on the many expeditions the school makes.
The service ended with a presentation of the pilgrim shells the children had decorated with the names of their loved ones and Headteacher, Mrs Dart, led the children in prayer giving thanks for those we love and hold dear.
The pilgrim journey was a long one, especially for the school’s younger children, but no-one complained on their arduous trip. In fact, the whole tone of the walk was one of thanks – thanks for the great spring weather and the opportunity to travel together as a band of friends within a school community to give thanks to God for the people who care for us most.
Year 6 pupil, Sienna, said: “It was nice because you could see the nature and enjoy the fresh air that we wouldn’t have experienced if we’d been in school. Being in the church was nice and calm and the vicar was welcoming when we got there. It was nice at the end that we had fruit to munch on the way home.”
While Grace, another year 6 child, added: “The walk was quite tiring, but I did it and I am proud of myself and it was fun because I spent time with my buddy in reception class. The poem we performed helped us to know that God loves us.
Mrs Dart said: “It was a great adventure and when everyone arrived back at school they were ready for their lunch, having worked up a good appetite.
“I’d like to thank Father John for making us so welcome in his church. I’d also like to say well done to the children and staff for walking all that way in such good spirits.”
The images show children walking on their pilgrimage in both the town centre and the countryside, children performing in church, children in St Margaret’s church, the pilgrim shell labels written for loved ones.