Gravity and Levity in a Challenging Time

You don’t need me to tell you this has been a really difficult time for all of us and for our school communities.

This post is in two parts. The first part ‘Gravity’ offers a prayer for us all  at this challenging time and the second part ‘Levity’ hopes to offer a bit of light relief.  

1: Gravity

Lots of prayers have been offered in various forms and Richard Browning, the Director of Mission for the Anglican Schools Commission in Queensland, has put together the following prayer that he has sent around to his network.

I thought it might be worth sharing in this wider context.

God of the Cosmos and the ocean

The great wide and deep calls us

yet we are sent into our smallest spaces, our walled safe places.

May the tracing of the sun and the rhythm of the day

bring our bodies into greater stillness.

As we practice being together apart,

Guide us how to reach out with the heart.

We experience this truth- our lives are not our own.

Even without touching, we are held in the hands of others,

and in these hands our future is held.

Loving God, you are near, nearer than our heart beats, closer than our breath.

Jesus, to this day your hands bear the scars of steadfast, costly love.

Spirit of Grace, reach into our lives now,

that we could reach out with our own,

not with hands but with hearts;

not with a hug, but in word;

that the invisible threads of deepest caring

could bind our solitudes into embrace,

and the earth and humanity be blessed.

In your name and to this world

we commit ourselves afresh to love and always love.


2: Levity

Some of us have been working in an off-site learning environment with our students at home and running lessons online. Religious Education can be challenging in this context with a lot of teacher driven classroom discussion hard to effectively replicate in an online context.

As I was preparing my lessons for the week I kept thinking of silly things that I could ask the students to do in their RE lessons. I made a list of them and offer them to you as a bit of light relief in this difficult time. You will be pleased to know that I haven’t used any of these with my students.

Religious Education lessons for Anglican School students in a time of off-site learning

1: Read the Bible making a list of all the names that are mentioned. Rearrange this list into alphabetical order.

2: Write an essay on the following topic ‘If a robot replaced the chaplain in an Anglican School would anybody notice? Discuss.’

3: Read over the 39 Articles of Religion for the Anglican Church and identify how many of them you think your Principal would have a serious issue with. 

4: Write an essay on the following topic ‘Would Jesus make use of a self driving car? Draw on the work of three patristic fathers in justifying your answer.

5: Design an order of service for a same sex wedding that is acceptable to all twenty three dioceses in Australia.

6: Pick one of the miracles of Jesus and create a TikTok dance for it.

7: Modifying an existing reality TV program format come up with a novel way of choosing the next Primate of Australia.

8: Design an Anglican Schools Olympics where students representing all the Anglican Schools in Australia compete. Come up with a series of events for the occasion and write a suitable opening and closing prayer for the Primate to use.

9: Using a 3D printer and a wind tunnel come up with a new design for a Bishop’s mitre that makes better use of aerodynamic principles.

10: Write an essay on the following topic ‘Which Archbishop of Canterbury should be incorporated into the Marvel Universe and why?

11: Using the template from the Games of Thrones TV series work out which character best represents which person from the history of the Anglican Church.

12: Do a search of the 160 Anglican School websites in Australia and identify which school has the most theologically dubious school motto.

13: Write an essay on the following topic ‘The worst mistake made by the Anglican church is….’ Try to keep to a thousand word limit.

14: The Archbishop is making a surprise visit to your school. Provide a list of students who should be invited to take the day off and identity the teachers who should be prevented from having a face to face conversation with him/her.

15: Using a map of your Cathedral provide a diagram of how you could hold an Anglican Schools service while observing current social distancing protocols. Note you must include two vergers, and at least one Bishop in your planning and you must also take up an offertory.   

16: Creative writing task. Provide a letter home to parents from your Principal that begins ‘We anticipated that the chaplain’s ‘Blessing of the Pets’ service could get out of hand but no one could have possibly anticipated…’

17: Identify which passage of scripture would give your school’s risk management person the most cause for concern should it be turned into a liturgical dance at your annual Cathedral Service.

Andrew Stewart Written by:

Reverend Andrew Stewart has twenty years experience as a school chaplain and works as a chaplain at Mentone Grammar in Melbourne. Andrew is also the chair of the Chaplains in Anglican Schools network in Victoria.


  1. March 26, 2020

    Nice article, Andrew. Loved the Levity section! I’m not sure about the Marvel universe, but former AofC Rowan Williams could have passed for a sage Jedi Master …

  2. Matt Shorten
    March 27, 2020

    So I read out number 6 to my girls as we are all at home now doing the online community thing and my eldest tells me that it has already been done. Great prayer Richard and some super ideas for online learning tasks Andrew.

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