Rather than only reading about all of the things that relate to a Lutheran church and a worship service in their religion lessons, English Class third graders and their teacher, Ms. Anu, went on a field trip and walked to Teljä Church on a brisk, sunny day last Thursday. The visit was part of the Church’s Kotikirkko vierailu/Visit your Neighbourhood Church -campaign. The purpose of the visit was to experience first-hand things that are discussed in religion studies lessons, as well as to learn about a nearby church. The third graders’ visit to Teljä Church began with an enactment of the procession preceding a worship service.
The children learned about the pulpit where the sermon is given, about the altar and the various altar linens, the role of the congregation in a worship service and lots, lots more. The pipe organ and the role of the cantor, Pia Ylitalo-Maunola, were particularly fascinating to the third graders. It was a real treat when permission was given to the children to actually try the organ!
The children learned about the role of ushers or sextons and hymnals and hymns. The children kneeled at the altar and Pastor Silja-Maaria Kavasto blessed them. They learned about the Eucharist or communion. A treasure hunt was even organized for the children. The treasures found included the Bible, the baptismal font, a wine chalice and wafer representing the Eucharist and themselves as the congregation.
The children were able to visit the vestry, the room in the church where the pastor dresses for the services and where holy items used during services are kept. The class learned about vestments, special clothing worn by the people who conduct a worship. They learned about the alba, the white robe that has its roots in the 5th century. They also learned about liturgical colours and the stoles that pastors wear, the strips of cloth centered at the back of the neck and hanging down in front in parallel lines over a pastor’s robe..
The visit ended with juice and cookies. Back at school, the pupils wrote short summaries of their visit to Teljä Church. Lots of new vocabulary words and concepts were covered during the visit so it will take a while for everything to fall into place. Field trips like this make all of these new concepts more concrete.