Our Christian Values are at the centre of everything we do at Fordcombe Church of England Primary School. Each week we focus on a different Christian Value. This is done explicitly through our Collective Worship time and also throughout our curriculum. Children have regular opportunities to reflect on each value and to develop an understanding of the Value in action. Each Friday, in our Celebration Worship, we acknowledge children who have demonstrated these values.
Our visitor from St. Peter's Church (Reverend Lisa Cornell) regularly leads our worship to help us reinforce our understanding of each value as she shares stories from the Bible and reflects on what they mean for us in our every day life. Children have opportunities to plan, prepare and lead worship for the whole school through the school faith group, the Leading Lights and also as they organise worship at key points in the Christian calendar for the whole school community.
The Values we explore and strive to live by are:
We believe these values are empowering our pupils to develop their spirituality and guide them in their personal development as effective learners and good citizens.
For more information please view the Christian Values for Schools website at http://www.christianvalues4schools.org.uk/.
Hope is a universal human phenomenon. People hope for peace in time of war; food in time of famine; justice in time of oppression. Where hope is lost there is despair and disintegration. Hope generates energy and sustains people through difficult times. For some people, hope is so strong that it inspires self-sacrifice to turn hope into reality.
Christian hope is grounded in the character of God. Often, in the Psalms, the writer says to God: ‘My hope is in you’. It is a hope rooted in the love and faithfulness of God. Hope is not wishful thinking but a firm assurance that God can be relied upon. It does not remove the need for ‘waiting upon the Lord’ but there is underlying confidence that God is a ‘strong rock’ and one whose promises can be trusted. The writer to the Hebrews describes the Christian hope as ‘an anchor for the soul, firm and secure’. Even when experiencing exile, persecution, doubt or darkness, the Biblical writers trust in God’s ‘unfailing love’ and know that he will be true to his covenant promises. That is the basis of their hope.
Hope is coupled with faith and love as one of the three most enduring gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 13:13).
A core Christian Value is Love. In our school each member is encouraged to love and respect themselves, others, God and his world. The Bible explicitly tells us that God is Love and that those who live in love live in God and God lives in them. (1 John 4:16)
Belief that God has revealed Himself to us as love is at the very heart of the Christian faith. The original Greek word that the New Testament uses to describe the love of God is agape. Agape does not mean romantic love or even the love we might feel for our family or close friends. It means putting of others before ourselves whether they deserve it or not – a kind of selfless love-in-action. God’s love calls us to serve others freely without expectation of reward – even people who we don’t like or who don’t like us – because they are made in the image of God.
At the centre of the teaching of the school is that we are all created in the image of God; that we are all individuals and that we are treated equally. Genesis 1: 27 “So God created humans in his own image. He created them to be like himself.”
The value of ‘Love’ underpins what we do in school. We believe that through a focus on Love by working together as part of a strong and supportive family, we can all achieve more – socially, emotionally and academically. Matthew 22:38 “Love your neighbour as yourself.”
In order to have a real relationship with God, Christians need to be honest with themselves and also honest with God. The ninth commandment states that Christians should not tell lies about others, lying about others for personal gain or enrichment.
At Fordcombe, we discuss how being honest with yourself is important – that everyone makes mistakes but that everyone is perfect in the eyes of the Lord, everyone is growing and no matter what, if we come to the Lord, then He will forgive us.
Being honest with friends and family is important for personal relationships and for us to feel comfortable with ourselves. Honesty in friendships and at home, in the classroom and in the school community helps us to be trusted amongst peers and those in the wider community. Being fair and open with each other, agreeing always to tell the truth helps others to see us as trustworthy and reliable. Proverbs 16:8 states that 'It is better to be honest and poor than dishonest and rich.'
The Bible has so much to offer in this area of positive personal, relational and community values, and its timeless wisdom can help all us as a Christian school pass on to the next generation the qualities of life that are most valuable and which, as Christians, we believe are not only God-given but also can be God-energised in our lives.
Respect has different meanings but all play a part in how Christians value themselves and the lives of others. Respecting those that love and care for us, our parents, carers and those in the local community, is common in all traditions. We should appreciate what's done for us, finding cooperation not conflict and take responsibility. Romans13 states that we should 'Pay others the honour and respect you owe them'.
Respect for others - everyone is special; everyone's opinion matters; everyone's contribution is important; everyone's feelings should be considered; everyone's faith is sacred
Respect can mean simply treating each other with politeness and courtesy, and recognising that everyone’s contribution is important and that everyone’s feelings should be considered. At Fordcombe, we regularly discuss how respecting someone does not mean that we always agree with the other person but that we are prepared to listen and share our views without rudeness or impatience.
Christians recognise that respect needs to start with respect for ourselves and our own unique contribution to our homes, schools or communities. Having self-respect means being able to celebrate our gifts and talents, looking after ourselves and the bodies that God has given us. Having self-respect also means nurturing our talents so that we the best we can be, honouring how God has made us and being confident about who we are.
Forgiveness is fundamental to the character of God. Throughout the Bible, God is described as slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin (Numbers 14:18).
Jesus was uncompromising in his command to forgive. Forgive, he said, ‘seventy times seven’ (Matthew 18:21). In other words, forgive and keep on forgiving without limit.
Forgiveness was at the heart of everything he did and is at the heart of the Lord’s Prayer. When Jesus declared a person’s sins to be forgiven, it often aroused the anger of those who were less willing to forgive than he was and yet a prayer for the forgiveness of his persecutors was on Jesus’ lips as he died. Christian preaching has always put forgiveness at the centre.
We forgive because we are forgiven. Paul says: ‘Be compassionate and kind to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ (Ephesians 4:32)
The parable of the Unjust Steward tells of a servant who was forgiven his large debt only to be condemned because he refused to forgive a small debt owed to him.
Forgiveness cannot be given or received unless it is asked for, and the asking must be genuine and from the heart. Too often ‘sorry’ is said very easily, implying: ‘All I need to do is say I’m sorry and everything will be OK’. Real repentance demands that we take what we have done wrong with the utmost seriousness and have a deep desire not to do it again.
The whole sacrificial system in the Law of Moses was based on the principle that forgiveness requires sacrifice. Animal sacrifices are no longer offered, but the truth remains that forgiveness is costly to all involved. Once we understand that, forgiveness can be truly liberating both for the person who is forgiven and for the person who forgives.
Emphasis upon endurance and perseverance is common in the New Testament where it is linked with patience and suffering. St Paul is certain that endurance is honed by suffering, is character building and is characterised by love (Romans 5:3-4; I Corinthians 4:12 – 13). It is linked with self-control, godliness (2 Peter 1:6) and steadfastness.
At its root, endurance and perseverance is recognition that life is sometimes difficult and painful, and that it is important not to give up in the face of adversity.
Jesus endured rejection, abuse and the cross, and his followers are warned that they may well have to share that pain as persecution took hold. Discipleship is depicted as ‘taking up the cross daily’ and following in Jesus’ footsteps (Luke 9:23).
Endurance and perseverance are only possible where there is hope and that hope is based on the enduring nature of God’s love and faithfulness. Even Jesus, for all his strength and ability to endure, looked to his disciples to help and sustain him by watching and praying with him (Matthew 26).
Reviewed September 2021