More than 500 pupils and teachers from primary schools all over the Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross gathered in St Peter’s Church, Bandon, with the clergy of the Diocese and the Bishop, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton, on Thursday, 29th September to celebrate the start of a new school year. There are 20 Church of Ireland primary schools in the Diocese all, except one, under the patronage of the Bishop.
At the start of the service each school introduced themselves by ringing their school bell and bringing their school banner to the front of the church where they were displayed in the chancel for the duration of the Service. During the the Service the children gathered in the centre aisle to watch a puppet show mime, performed by the pupils of the Model School in Dunmanway, which illustrated the reading – Matthew 7.24-28 – about the wise man who built his house on rock.
This was followed by a talk given by the Reverend Cliff Jeffers, Rector of Dunmanway which was based on the themes of the Bible reading. A collection from each school was presented towards the new Cork, Cloyne and Ross Diocesan partnership, in cooperation with Bishops’ Appeal and Christian Aid, with the Anglican Church in Burundi, which is working towards improving maize production alongside farmers there.
The end of the Service was signalled when the Bishop rang his school bell, and then all the schools rang their bells together – a wonderful noise – before everyone headed back to the four corners of the Diocese for another school year.
Some of the school representatives were photographed arriving for the Diocesan Service, together with their school banners: