14 October 2011
Westminster Abbey service to celebrate 200 years of
The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams today spoke of
the importance of church schools in providing an environment for
children to become good citizens.
Preaching to a packed Westminster Abbey congregation of school
children, teachers and church and education leaders Dr Williams
said that whether pupils were of the Christian faith or not church
schools provided a vision for them "to see the biggest possible
picture of humanity and the world they live in."
Church school children from across England and Wales* carried
specially made banners to celebrate the founding of the Church of
England's National Society in 1811 offering education to the poor
in every parish - 50 years before the state joined in.
The Archbishop praised the founders of the National Society who
believed it was "inhuman and unjust" to send children up
chimneys and down mines and offered them an opportunity of
In a Church of England podcast
published today the Revd Jan Ainsworth the CofE's Chief
Education officer said it was important to celebrate the past while
looking to opportunities in the future. "Our task is to make
sure our Church schools find a place within the new system and to
bring other schools into relationship with us."
The Choir of St Aidan's School, Harrogate, dancers from Parish
Church CE Junior School, Croydon and performers from
Manor CE School, York, all took a lead part in the service,
conducted by the Dean of Westminster the Very Revd John Hall.
Listen to the
*42 Church of England dioceses and six Church in Wales
More information on celebrations across the country www.natsoc200.org.uk