Lifepath at Brinkburn: Northumberland's Christian Heritage for Schools

With a break in 2020/21 because of COVID-19, each year since 2011 a Lifepath event at Brinkburn has welcomed school groups of children about Year 4 for a day in late June.  Over five days, up to 600 children can be welcomed, accompanied by their teachers and adult helpers.  With COVID still not fully under control in 2021, Lifepath On The Road instead took Lifepath to a variety of schools across Northumberland  which might have otherwise had a really special day in the Priory.  The reports from the team and from schools visited suggest it was still a memorable event.  Lifepath 2022, live at Brinkburn, explored the life and faith of the 7th century Northumbrian King Oswald, under the theme "Emmanuel, God with Us." The event welcomed around 500 children along with staff and adult helpers from Northumberland schools: both children and school staff thoroughly enjoyed it and took away the message of Jesus as Emmanuel, God with us

Lifepath returns again in the last week of June 2023, this year exploring what we can learn from the life of St Aidan, who was invited all the way from Iona to assist the Northumbrian King Oswald, who was determined that his people should embrace the Christian faith in which the Iona monks had encouraged him during his youthful exile on their remote island.

Arranged and staffed by Christian  volunteers from local communities, Lifepath is a Scripture Union initiative, which aims to give school pupils at about Year 4 the opportunity to explore the Christian faith through the 'life path' of a well known historic Christian with a link to the area, and to use this as a springboard to encourage them to reflect on their own 'life path'.

The Brinkburn Lifepath event has, over the years, focused on three prominent characters with Northumbrian connections, whose Christian faith made a difference to the lives of the people of Northumberland - St Cuthbert, St Aidan and King Oswald

For schools, Lifepath

- is appropriate for pupils of all faiths or none
- is a day trip with special emphasis on RE or spiritual development
- provides an opportunity to learn outside the classroom
- is educationally valid, tying in with the national curriculum
- is an enjoyable and memorable day for children and teachers alike
- fits within one school day.

For local churches and their members, Lifepath

- is a fulfilling and enjoyable way for churches and church members to work together on a larger project
- is a great way to link in to the life of local schools
- can provide opportunities for volunteers to meet and work alongside folk from other churches and communities
- provides opportunities for some who may not be able to get involved in other church activities
- in most roles requires no special skills - although any special skills you have can probably be utilised!

To find out more about Lifepath generally, see the Scripture Union website, where some of the pictures are from Lifepath at Brinkburn.

To find out about more about Lifepath at Brinkburn and how your school or church can be involved, visit the Mustard Tree Trust website or contact Kirstine Daviswho coordinates the event with both the schools that visit and the volunteers who make it possible.