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.  This year, 2022, we ran the event in person at Brinkburn.  Lifepath Brinkburn 2022 explored the life and faith of the 7th century Northumbrian King Oswald, under the theme "Emmanuel, God with Us." With additional controls to ensure opportunities for COVID transmission were minimised to the greatest possible extent, the event welcomed around 500 children along with staff and adult helpers from Northumberland schools, and both children and school staff thoroughly enjoyed it and took away the message of Jesus as Emmanuel, God with us

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
- fits within one school day.

For local churches and their members, Lifepath

- is a great way for churches 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.

To find out more about Lifepath generally, see the Scripture Union website

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.