“Lovely, very happy people”: Year 10 visit Christian and Buddhist places of worship
As part of their GCSE work in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics, Year 10 students visited two places of worship: a local church, St Oswald’s in Bidston, and a Thai Buddhist temple in Runcorn, Wat Phra Singh.
We were met at the church by the vicar, Ron Iveson, who spoke about several topics: the history of the church, funny stories about weddings he has conducted and the importance of worship to Christians. Students enjoyed Ron’s laid-back nature and learnt a lot about what it means to lead a Christian lifestyle.
Next, we travelled to Runcorn to visit Wat Phra Singh, a Thai Buddhist temple, run by monks from Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. One of the monks, Udon, resplendent in orange robes, spoke to the students about the role of Buddhism in the local community, the teachings of the Buddha and the lifestyle he leads as a Buddhist monk. Students made an offering to the community of food and incense, and the monks blessed the students with a chant in Pali, the language used by the Buddha. Students also received sai-sin, or sacred thread, which was tied around their wrists for good karma and protection.
On the way home we reflected on a thought-provoking and interesting day. Students were touched by the friendly and welcoming nature of both religious communities. One comment was that the monks in the temple were “lovely, very happy people”!