Over 1,300 primary pupils from 18 schools across Cornwall, from the Isles of Scilly to Lostwithiel, joined us for our Chorister Mega Zoom Assembly on Tuesday on the theme of: ‘Preparing our hearts for Christmas: giving our ‘presence’ to others’.
After a special rehearsal with the boy choristers to learn the carols for the assembly, the school children then took on the leadership baton, reading the lesson and contributing prayers they’d written on the theme. Rev Kelly Betteridge gave a message on making room in your heart at Christmas, for Jesus and others, just as the shepherds and Wise Men did in the nativity story.
Just before the end, the choristers and school children were treated to a surprise video message, just for them, from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby! He recalled fondly, the ‘Choristers’ Cornish Blessing’, sung by the choristers and schools on a special welcome video they offered for his visit to Cornwall in June – a visit which he described as ‘one of the highlights of this year’. The Archbishop went on to give an inspiring message about what it is to bless others, saying, ‘To talk about a blessing is to talk about what God is like’. He spoke of Christmas marking God’s greatest gift of blessing, Jesus himself, and concluded: ‘So as you hear and as you sing of God’s blessing, remembering that you are saying everything about how much God loves you, remember also what he wants for you….and always, always remember that God is for you, with you, not against you, not far from you.’
You can watch the Archbishop’s full message below.
The assembly ended with a warm invitation from Dean Simon to all the children to visit Truro Cathedral, and, with everyone ‘off mute,’ 1,300+ voices sharing a hearty ‘Merry Christmas and Nadelik Lowen!’ from all corners of the county.
Dean Simon said after: ‘It was a true joy to take part in the Mega Zoom Assembly. I found the whole experience both moving and exciting. It was inspiring to see over a thousand young faces tuned in to sing and worship with us, and we look forward to welcoming many of them in person in the run-up to Christmas. This isn’t our cathedral, it is everyone’s cathedral, a cathedral for the whole of Cornwall, and I’m especially looking forward to sharing it in this Advent time. It’s a tender time to visit with little ones – to take in the tree, the crib, the music, or, as busy parents, simply to sit and be quiet while the hubbub goes on outside.’
Jackie Marshall, Base Lead for Five Islands School on St Martins, summed up the Chorister Mega Zoom Assembly experience: ‘Thank you once again for the Mega Zoom Assembly! It was another fantastic opportunity for our children here on the Isles of Scilly to feel connected and part of our wider community, particularly at Christmas time. Rehearsing and singing with the wonderful choristers, seeing inside the beautiful cathedral, listening to Reverend Kelly’s words, and sharing prayers and thoughts with you all was so enjoyable. We do love joining in with these special assemblies and what a unique experience to have a message from the Archbishop of Canterbury!’
This is the second Chorister Mega Zoom Assembly, following the pilot in May, and the venture is a partnership project with the Diocese of Truro. The vision for the venture is to provide a forum for children to come together across the county, with an emphasis on children leading and inspiring each other, in music and faith.