Grace is an underrated aspect of our faith

Eleanor Warringer, 10, from Alverstoke
C of E Junior School, with Baa-bara the sheep
Eleanor Warringer, 10, from Alverstoke C of E Junior School, with Baa-bara the sheep
HMS Queen Elizabeth and the USS George H W Bush. To Starboard of HMS Queen Elizabeth and to the front, HMS Westminster and to the rear HMS Iron Duke. To Port of the George W Bush, to the rear USS Donald Cook and Fwd USS Philippine Sea. To the rear of the George W Bush is the HMNOWS Helge Ingstad. Picture by: LPhot Ioan Roberts

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ONE of the many great things about my role is that I get to be a governor at Alverstoke Church of England Junior School.

I used to be a primary school teacher, so I love working alongside pupils and leading collective worship.

It was a privilege to go with our Year 6 children to Portsmouth Cathedral for a leavers’ service recently.

It was also the climax of the Ewe Matter project which involved more than 60 Church of England schools in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight decorating their own life-size, fibreglass sheep in a way that reflected their own school’s identity and ethos.

Each of the decorated sheep was brought to either Portsmouth or Winchester Cathedral for one of the Year 6 leavers’ services.

The father of one of our Alverstoke teachers is a carpenter, so he made a pen on wheels with fake grass for our sheep, Baa-bara.

The staff and pupils were able to wheel her on and off the Gosport ferry, and then through Gunwharf Quays to the cathedral – which caused a few heads to turn!

And Baa-bara herself looked beautiful – really colourful and emblazoned with the school’s core Christian values of love, grace and hope.

She really stood out among the 22 other decorated sheep from other schools.

I love the fact that a Church of England school is promoting these kind of values.

In particular, grace is a really underrated aspect of the Christian faith.

It’s about loving others even if they don’t deserve it.

It’s the idea that no one is beyond redemption – that all of us can receive God’s gift of forgiveness for the things we do wrong.

I’m proud to be a governor of a school that is concerned about every aspect of a child’s development – academic, emotional and spiritual.

English and maths are important, but we also want pupils to develop into mature adults, who are respectful, kind and willing to give others a second chance.

Even those who don’t subscribe to the Christian faith would admit that our society would benefit from a generation that is prepared to put other people’s needs before their own.

Baa-bara came back on the Gosport ferry that afternoon, and is now a permanent fixture in school.

So I look forward to leading collective worship with her when children can learn about these important issues.

n St Mary’s Church is on Green Road, Alverstoke.

To contact the church go to stmarysalverstoke.org.uk.