Diocesan press releases

Hold on to your teaching and change the world for the better, Archbishop tells school leavers

Never think that you can’t change the world for the better was Archbishop John’s message to this year’s school leavers’ service.

Pupils from the diocese’s Church in Wales primary schools were at Brecon Cathedral for the event, which had the theme of hope.

The children had the opportunity to tour the cathedral, experience a pilgrimage and explore Prayer Spaces.

Prayers and reflections were offered by pupils from Archdeacon Griffiths school in Llyswen, Brynmawr’s St Mary’s worship council, Gladestry, Christchurch in Swansea and Llanbedr. Prayers in Welsh were offered by children from Rhayader Church in Wales primary.

Archbishop John said: “The theme of today’s service is hope and, in the prayers and reflections that you’ve used, you’ve expressed some fantastic hopes. Hopes for yourselves, for your own lives as you move on, but also hopes for the world. You’ve said some wonderfully hopeful things about what you would like to see the world be like and how you would like to see the world change in the future.”

The reading from John 17 1-11 was given by Jo Jones of Llangattock Church in Wales school and Archbishop John told the children the kind of teaching Jesus gave “said a huge amount about the kind of things that, in your reflections and prayers, you’ve been hoping for. He talked to them about being faithful, loving, living in peace, and living in comfort and understanding with each other.

“In the reading, what Jesus is praying is that his disciples would remember the teaching he’d given them.

“You’ve been saying in some of your reflections and prayers how you are now moving on, how things are going to change for you. You’re going to different schools, with different people, things are going to be quite different and that can be a bit unsettling from time to time.

“When you do move on, when things do start to change, what I’m hoping is that you’re going to hold on to the teaching that you’ve had in your primary schools. Teaching especially about the things Jesus taught his disciples and that this will give you guidance, faith and, above all, keep your hope alive into the future.”

To the children who had prayed for peace, changing the world or making the environment better, he said: “One thing you must never, ever think is that you as individuals can’t change the world, because you can. If you live a little bit more lovingly, carefully, tolerantly, if you try and live your lives just that tiny bit better as individuals, that will affect other people.

“If you change one person’s life for the better, one animal’s life for the better, if you change one little bit of the environment for the better, you change the world.

“Keep your hopes high, remember your teaching and never think that you can’t change the world because you can, and I’m sure you will.”

Archbishop John presented the leavers with Bibles and crosses.