Cathedrals host school leavers celebrations

Leavers serviceLaunching Out – Take Courage, Do Not Be Afraid

Services have been taking place at Leeds Minster and Ripon and Bradford Cathedrals for children leaving Cof E primary school to take the step to ‘big’ school.

The theme for this year’s leavers’ services was ‘Launching Out’ based on the passage in Matthew’s Gospel of Jesus walking on the water and Peter stepping out of the boat to join him, but being frightened by the wind and the waves.

“Leaving primary school is exciting and exhilarating, but there are also scary moments”, said Chief Education officer for the Bradford Leeds and Ripon, Richard Noake. “The services aimed to remind pupils that God is always with us and that we need faith and prayer to help us through life.”

Leavers Ripon cathedralThe rafters of Leeds Minster, Ripon Cathedral and Bradford Cathedral resounded with the voices of over 1400 children, accompanied by 225 staff and helpers, who attended one of the services. Pupils ‘launched’ prayer boats onto a river to express their gratitude for all they have experienced at primary school and their prayers for the future.

Worship music was led by John Froud of the Zephaniah Trust with dramatic story telling by Julie Wilkinson (Zephaniah Trust) and Revd Darryl Hall.


Feedback from the services has been very positive - comments from schools included: 

“It was a wonderful service of thanksgiving … No improvements – looking forward to next year”

“It was lovely seeing children who might be at my school next year”            

“We liked the gorilla!”

“I’d never been to the cathedral before it was very big.”                              

“Liked the boats on the river concept”

“Very funny with a serious message woven in”  “We staff loved the service, thank you for such a warm welcome.”

“Enjoyed the music and singing; enjoyed being in the cathedral with other schools”

“Lovely way to round off our time at Primary School and think about the next step together.”


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