Following a trip to the Holy Land, Trinity School’s Pax Christi group in Leamington Spa wanted to help Christians living in the West Bank and Gaza so they bought crosses made by local Christian craftsmen and designed and produced representations of Jesus to add to the crosses.
HOLY LAND PILGRIMAGE
This year Trudie Pabor the Head of Vocations and Curriculum at Trinity Catholic School in Leamington Spa went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. As well as visits to Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, the pilgrimage included a visit to Hebron. Hebron is a city in the hills to the South of Jerusalem. It is one of the oldest continually occupied cities in the world and can be a dangerous place. In fact the visit to Hebron had been postponed for a couple of days because a teenager had been shot and there was a fear of reprisals. It is believed that the word Hebron comes from the Hebrew word for friend, which is “haver”. This word was used to describe Abraham, the Patriarch with whom the first covenant was made. The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12: 1-4)
A PLACE OF TENSION
Hebron is home to Jews, Muslims and Christians and is a place of tension. It seems strange that in a place called ‘friend’ many people suffer from poverty, high unemployment and a lack of social services at the hands of others. However one of the many highlights of the pilgrimage was a visit to the tomb of the Patriarchs which is where the bodies of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were laid to rest. There is a record of the site being visited by Christians in the 6th century. Today the tomb is part Synagogue and part Mosque and therefore it is a focus for tension and unrest but it is also an example of how people can work together.
When we returned to school we heard about the plight of the Christians in Palestine, who had been very welcoming to us despite having very little to share, and the Pax Christi group decided that they wanted to help the people of Gaza and the West Bank. The students raised awareness of what life is like for the Christians in Gaza by taking assemblies and writing postcards to their MPs. “It was my idea to perform a flash mob drama in assembly. We walked in, took a pupil at random and walked them into a room where they stayed for half an hour in solitary confinement. It was a significant way of raising awareness of what life is like for people in Gaza. I think the more we raise awareness, the more likely people are to send help.” Niamh Burke year 8
OLIVE WOOD CROSSES
But the Pax Christi group also wanted to help financially. The school needed to replace some of its crucifixes and after a meeting, it was decided that we would buy crucifixes from a charity that helps Christians in Gaza. The school Principal, Chris Gabbett, contacted Friends of the Holy Land, a group which works to empower people in Gaza and the West Bank, to see if they had any contacts who we could buy crucifixes from. We could only purchase olive wood crosses that had been hand made by Christian craftsmen in the Holy Land but we thought that it was so important to support these Christians to help them to build a better community that we bought 40 olive wood crosses. Olive wood is an important resource for the people in Gaza and the West Bank, not only does it grow in plentiful supply but it is symbolic for Christians. If you chop olive wood down it will not die but grows again.
OUR VOCATION TO SERVE
At Trinity Catholic School we believe that as part of our vocation we are called to serve. We sang at the Papal Mass for the beatification of Blessed John Henry Newman and have really taken on his message that: “God created me to do him some definite service. He has committed some work to me, which he has not committed to another. I have a mission.” On hearing that we could only purchase crosses, Simon Hill, the Head of Design Technology, launched the Corpus Christi project. Developing a theme of vocation as a call to serve, students set about working to design and batch produce individual designs to represent Christ. These were added to the olive wood crosses made by the Christians in the Holy Land. Students who had never had a chance to develop their talents for service were now able to help the school.
“The project has prompted discussion about how Christ is represented on the cross and led to some original use of the range of tools and materials available to the students. Many opted to sculpt wax figures and then cast these in pewter whilst others used computer aided design tools to laser cut designs.
” Simon Hill, Head of Design Technology
“I made a plastic mould from a wax pattern I designed. I have never done anything like this before and it has given me a sense of pride to see something I have made go up in the classroom.”
Luke Greene year 10
“I designed a mould of Jesus’ body and poured in the metal. I was surprised at how it came out because it looks really good and I can see people using it to help them pray. I thought it would be rubbish but it looks good..”
Robbie Humphrey year 10
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