Truro Cathedral choristers and four Cornish schools have created a special sung blessing to welcome Archbishop Welby this weekend and to support his mission to reach out creatively to Cornish people in their everyday lives. It is hoped many more schools will take on the blessing, make it their own and share it with their communities in the weeks and months following the Archbishop’s visit, allowing the blessing to ripple out across the county.
The choristers’ cornish blessing was introduced to schools at the choristers’ mega zoom assembly earlier this term. This singing zoom assembly united 800 KS2 children across the duchy and was a partnership project between Truro Cathedral choristers and the Diocese. The little blessing was workshopped quickly at the piano, with melody by director of music, Christopher Gray, and some words for the first verse by Esmé Page, who co-leads the project.
’From Hugh Town to Liskeard,
From Falmouth to St Agnes
From the ocean to the orchard
God’s blessing go with you’
However, the vision of the project was always for school children to become the real creators, writing their own verses to spread God’s blessing right across the county. Schools were invited to create their own verses following the pattern and replacing locations with places dear to their hearts within their local community. These new verses have been combined into a short blessing video released to inspire others at the time of the Archbishop’s Cornish mission.
The new verses in the video are offered by St Martin’s Base, Five Islands School, Isles of Scilly, Madron Daniel C of E School, St Mary’s C of E Primary School, Penzance and St Petrocs C of E Primary School, Bodmin.
Besides towns and villages pupils have included their favourite local landmarks. For example the 16 children at St Martin’s Base, Five Islands School, Isles of Scilly, included the enormous red and white day mark which guides shipping as they navigate the island’s waters and the children of St Mary’s C of E school in Penzance included the iconic Jubilee Pool in Penzance just a few hundred yards from their school.
‘We had a wonderful time creating our verse for the blessing,’ said Jackie Marshall, base lead, St Martins, Five Islands School. ‘The children here on St Martins were mesmerised watching the choristers in the cathedral on the zoom assembly and it really inspired us all. It was such a special and unique opportunity which made us all feel connected to each other across the Diocese.’
Call for more schools to create verses county-wide
The video can be seen on Truro Cathedral’s YouTube channel and schools wishing to join in the project and create their own school blessing can request the music, instructions and backing track by emailing Esmé Page. They are invited to record themselves singing and post it on social media using the hashtag #BlessCornwall.
‘A few months ago, the Archbishop challenged us all to think creatively about mission in Cornwall,’ says Esmé Page, ’We hope this little blessing can be part of that. Chris’ beautiful melody is easy to sing and by replacing just six words, schools can make it their own. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every school in Cornwall had its own verse to bless their local community now and in the months ahead?’
‘Singing is a wonderful way for children to express themselves and escape from the stresses and strains of modern life,’ said Christopher Gray, director of music, Truro Cathedral. ‘It’s been heartening to see the response to our chorister zoom assembly and to the blessing in particular – who knows what it will inspire in the next generation.’
More chorister zoom assemblies to come
The chorister's mega zoom assemblies are a partnership project between the Diocese and Truro Cathedral choir and were inspired by the Sing2G7 programme in 2021, also led by Gray and Page. Following the pilot, the plan is to hold one chorister zoom assembly per term, beginning in November, and dates will soon be released to schools.