School mural based on Go Team's Bible Chat Mat initiative

16th July 2021

A fantastic school mural is taking shape in Saltford Church of England primary school. The idea, the painting and the execution have brought together the pupils, the teachers, the Community Outreach Worker and Foundation Governor, the Rector, the PCC, the Go Team and the diocesan Faith Sharing Enabler, Revd Andy Gray.

Emma King the Outreach Worker and Foundation Governor at the school, first thought about the idea for a mural, but it was after she spoke to Revd Daile Wilshere that the idea really began to take shape. Revd Daile suggested it could be based on the Go Team’s Bible Chat Mats which are designed to encourage children, young people, and adults to read the Bible and have conversations together. The Go Team commissioned Andy, who as well as being our Faith Sharing Enabler is also an artist.

So began the process. The PCC agreed to fund it and the children were encouraged to come up with ideas to include in it.

Some ideas were based on local Saltford landmarks such as St Mary’s Church, the Post Office and the coffee shop. There were ideas about nature, sport, singing and the Kelston walk on Assention Day. Central to the design are the school’s Christians values.

Emma presented Andy with 400 design ideas from the children and he wove them into what he has called “The Chat Wall, the artistic sibling of Go Team Advisers Bible Chat Mats initiative.”

Adhering to social distancing rules, parents came into school in the morning to help paint the mural and the children took up the brushes in the afternoon.

Revd Daile Wilshere says, “My favourite part is two tiny images of children, one has a speech bubble containing a heart and a cross, he’s clearly chatting about the Bible to his friend. It really is living the story, telling the story.”

Emma who heads off to start her ordination training in a few weeks, says she’s overwhelmed when she hears the children, and the staff talking about the painting and discussing the images in it each time they pass by. “I feel so honoured and blessed to be part of such an amazing thing and to be able to leave behind such a wonderful piece of work before I go, is really special.”

There are plans to hold an official unveiling of the mural when the school returns for the new term in September and they hope in the long term to find a way for others in the Saltford community to enjoy it.