Core Christian Values
Heathlands C of E Primary School is a Church of England School, with a strong Christian ethos, which underpins the caring, nurturing family feel of our school. Our strong focus on innovation, care and respect for each other, alongside the commitment to Christian values, is reflected in the inclusive vision and relationships between children, families and staff. The school, church and parish council are a pioneering community based on the village history - innovation is a vibrant aspect of the school and village. Bergholt literally means “wood on a hill”.
This is the underpinning of our school vision -
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Shine your light before all men that they may see your works and thenpraise your Father in heaven”. Matthew 5 v14.
The Christian understanding of hope illustrates how trivial our everyday use of the word can be. We hope that it will not rain for the picnic, or that the car will start or that the plumber will come tomorrow.
At a deeper level, hope is a universal human phenomenon. People hope for peace in time of war; food in time of famine; justice in time of oppression. Where hope is lost there is despair and disintegration. Hope generates energy and sustains people through difficult times. For some people, hope is so strong that it inspires self-sacrifice to turn hope into reality.
True hope is much more than a general idea that things will get better. It is more than a belief in progress, which sees the world and people as getting better all the time, growing away from violence, ignorance and confusion. There has, of course, been genuine progress: in technology, in communications, in medical care and in the protection of people’s rights through the law. Nevertheless, terror and oppression, death and disease, greed and self-serving still govern the lives of millions. In the light of all this, belief in human progress looks facile and deluding.
Christian hope is grounded in the character of God. Often, in the Psalms, the writer says to God: ‘My hope is in you’. It is a hope rooted in the love and faithfulness of God. Hope is not wishful thinking but a firm assurance that God can be relied upon. It does not remove the need for ‘waiting upon the Lord’ but there is underlying confidence that God is a ‘strong rock’ and one whose promises can be trusted. The writer to the Hebrews describes the Christian hope as ‘an anchor for the soul, firm and secure’. Even when experiencing exile, persecution, doubt or darkness, the Biblical writers trust in God’s ‘unfailing love’ and know that he will be true to his covenant promises. That is the basis of their hope.
Hope is not always spontaneous or easy. There is work to be done. As well as trusting God, we have to develop qualities of steadfastness in our own character.
Paul says: ‘We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.’ (Romans 5:3-4)
Hope is coupled with faith and love as one of the three most enduring gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life”.
Trust is the very essence of faith; trust in the God who is trustworthy.
‘Trust in the Lord’ is a central theme in the Psalms. Time and time again, God is the acknowledged as the source of all true security and strength. This is contrasted with trust in chariots, horses, weapons, wealth or princes (Psalm 20:7; 118:8-9). We can easily think of the modern day equivalents. Trust placed in the wrong things is close to idolatry.
Trust is essential to human life and lies at the heart of all relationships. Trust entails vulnerability, putting yourself in others’ hands. We have to trust experts - pilots, dentists, surgeons. Yet, within our society, there often seems to be mutual distrust between people and those responsible for governing them.
Marriage is founded on trust and is a God-given framework in which human trust can be developed. The wording of the Christian marriage vows sends out a strong message in a society where the breakdown of trust is widespread.
Trust is central to civilised society, to living together in harmony, so it is to be valued and honoured. With wisdom and discernment, we can relearn to trust. We can begin to rebuild trust in our mistrustful society by being reliable ourselves, by not letting people down. Similarly, when we work with others, if we are willing to let go of control ourselves and trust in the abilities and integrity of others, everyone can be enriched. Jesus, after all, entrusted his ongoing work to his disciples and ultimately to us.
1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Telling the truth, honesty is something that we all would like to receive but it is sometimes more difficult to find in everyday life. Sometimes it is hard to make a wise choice to tell the truth.
Jesus said ‘I am the way the truth and the life’ John 14 v6
A lie has many variations, the truth none – African Proverb
Truth – In the Gospel of John, Jesus declares that, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (14:6). In the Christian tradition, ‘truth’ does not mean ‘not telling lies’ but an understanding that the true value of life lies in the love that we put back into the world. This truth is the Christian hope so these two words are closely interlinked. The Christian value of truth is the ability to follow Jesus with honest hope rather than follow our own selfish whims and build a wall of lies around ourselves.
After our Act of Worship looking at the story of Jonah and the big fish, in House and class assemblies the children had the opportunity to reflect and discuss the importance of truth in their own lives. They were then able to write a prayer or thought based on their discussions.
The Hebrew term for peace, ‘shalom’, has a deep and complex meaning, encompassing much more than simply the absence of hostility or war.
Shalom includes ideas of healing and health, wholeness and well-being. It means harmony, stability and security within a community. It refers to relationships based on truth and righteousness, where people flourish because they are nurtured.
The Biblical picture of the age to come is one of Shalom. ‘Swords will be beaten into ploughshares’ … ‘the wolf shall live with the lamb… no-one shall hurt or destroy…’ (Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:1-9). Traditional enemies will live together contentedly and the people will be governed with wisdom, understanding and justice.
In Jesus’ message, peace is an almost tangible element. It is his gift to his disciples. Paul describes God as the God of peace, the Christian message is called the ’gospel of peace’ and peace is one of the ‘fruits of the Spirit’.
It seems that humankind has to learn and re-learn the message of peace. It does not come easily or automatically. We constantly fall back into hostility and suspicion. Peter, quoting the Psalms, says we must ‘seek peace and pursue it’ (1 Peter 3:11). Jesus blesses those who are ‘peacemakers’ and calls them ‘sons of God’.
It is noteworthy how often the word peace is used in parallel with the word ‘righteousness’. Peace cannot come by simply wishing it to be the case. Peace is founded on righteousness and justice.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
1 Thessalonians 5 v 16-18
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances.
Thankfulness has always been at the centre of the life and worship of God’s people. Under the Law of Moses, there were not only sacrifices for forgiveness, there were ‘thanks offerings’ as well. ‘Songs of thankfulness and praise...’ are at the heart of Christian worship. Thankfulness is directed towards God who gives and sustains life. Seeing the world as God’s creation underpins the way we approach everything in life, seeing it as a gift and not as a right.
Thankfulness is important. Luke tells the story of the ten lepers who were healed and is probably challenging his readers to examine themselves when he tells of the amazement of Jesus that only one, a Samaritan, came back to thank him. (Luke 17:11-19).
Jesus gave thanks to God (Matthew 11.25) and although the word ‘thankfulness’ is not common in the Gospels, recognition of his dependence on the Father infuses the whole life of Jesus. Thankfulness is a wholehearted response. It stems from a consciousness of God’s gifts and blessings. It is a joyfulness that erupts into praise. Paul frequently encourages us to ‘be thankful’ (Colossians 3:15), to ‘give thanks in all circumstances’ (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and says that our lives should ‘overflow with thankfulness’ (Colossians 2:7).
For Christians the greatest of all acts of worship is simply called ‘thanksgiving’ - eucharistia in Greek - thanksgiving for the death and resurrection of God’s Son and the way of forgiveness that is opened up.
During Class Worship sessions, the children reflected on the meaning of Respect and how we can effect others around us .