Who should enjoy historic churches? Everyone!
Part of the wonderfully varied and interesting role of a Heritage Learning Officer is the outreach work that we do, as well as welcoming learners inside our churches.
I recently visited a special school to work with two KS4 classes with varying needs, to explore various aspects of different religions through time.
To make the learning multisensory, we listened to music, looked at pictures of places of worship and smelt scents that are commonly used in them. We enjoyed smells including jasmine, Oudh (an aromatic resin from the Agar tree often used in perfumes), frankincense and myrrh, sandalwood and church incense.
One class played ‘religion bingo’, where they had a sheet with different symbols and places of worship, and they had to cross them off as I said them. The other group had an activity where they matched the name of a religion to their place of worship and a symbol associated with it.
Our final activity was to use clay to make grotesques – strange and wonderful creatures like the gargoyles you see on churches.
Both sessions were very well received. I knew it had been a successful session when one of the boys asked me: “When did you first realise that you love churches? I think I might love churches too.”!
This encapsulated the ethos and work of The Churches Conservation Trust for me. Our beautiful buildings are rich resources, there to be enjoyed and loved by anyone and everyone.