One is an architecturally striking, inspired landmark on the Liverpool skyline fondly known as Paddy’s Wigwam and the other is a Grade 1 listed Victorian building with elegant and well preserved features and some of our GCSE pupils at St John Plessington Catholic College were fortunate to visit both. On Monday 27th January and Monday 3rdFebruary 2020, the RE department took two separate groups of GCSE students to visit the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King as well as the Princes Road Synagogue in Liverpool. These trips were organised as part of the RE Curriculum with a view to provide more enriching learning experiences for pupils preparing for their GCSE exams.
The days started with a visit to the synagogue, home of the Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation, in Princes Road. Here pupils were given a tour of the building with particular focus on the features used in synagogue services. This tour was led by a practising Jew who demonstrated and explained the importance and use of each feature. The pupils were also given a chance to see variety of Jewish artefacts such as the mezuzah and Torah first-hand and gain a more in-depth understanding of how they are used.
Following that pupils went on to the cathedral which is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Liverpool. In this iconic place of worship pupils were warmly greeted by a member the cathedral’s education staff who took them on a guided tour tailored to the GCSE exam requirements. This served to reinforce what pupils have been studying about features of a Catholic church and sacred objects including the Paschal Candle.
Overall, pupils were able to partake in a wonderful opportunity to visualise and experience two key places of worship which brought what they have learnt in the classroom to life. At both places of worship they were submerged into new spiritual and cultural experiences invaluable to their development and understanding. To top it all off, the trips also afforded pupils the opportunity to make lifelong memories with their peers who went along with them. Some even brought mementos which will serve as a lasting reminder of this enriching educational experience.
At the end of each trip pupils were asked to reflect on their experience and some of the comments they made are outlined below.
“The synagogue was very interesting and it was good to see what we were learning about myself.”
Will Woods – Year 11 pupil
This trip was interesting and informative as I got the opportunity to learn new things about the cathedral and the synagogue. I will try to use the information I have learnt in my upcoming exams.
Kate Christelow – Year 11 pupil
The best part of the trip was seeing what a synagogue looks like in real life. The intricate designs and worship artefacts were fascinating to see.
Tarleyna Endrewyth – Year 11 pupil
I have found this experience very interesting and I really enjoy meeting people that devote their life to their religion. I have learnt what a Bimah is and this will really help in my GCSEs.
Ellie Armour Year 11 pupil
The highlight of my day was Eric the tour guide. He was a very enthusiastic and funny person. I have learnt lots of new words and vocabulary for my exams.
Godwin Biju – Year 10 pupil.