Prayers Spaces – “A place like Heaven”
Posted on Tuesday 2 October 2012
At the beginning of September 2012, the Blakeney and Hindringham Partnership hosted a one-day Prayer Space event at each primary school.
The Prayer Spaces were a huge success and the children “all enjoyed the opportunity to think about themselves and how they get on together through the activities involved” within a Christian context. (John Marshall-Grint, County Head Teacher)
Simon Fenn, event organiser, works for the Holt Deanery within the Diocese of Norwich as the Children, Youth and Family Missioner. He was inspired to work with local churches and schools within his area after attending a Prayer Spaces in Schools workshop organised by the Diocese of Norwich back in June 2011. Through his links with clergy, congregations, schools and the wider community he promoted the initiative and endeavoured to setup a working group.
At the beginning of 2012, a working group was established to plan and deliver two one-day Prayer Space events. The group consisted of the school head, governors, local clergy and church volunteers. They met several times throughout the year to discuss and agree on what prayer stations would be involved and the logistics of how to run the day. The group decided on ten stations to give a broad range of reflective activities; Leaving an impression, Mirrors, Family Tree, Fizzy Forgiveness, Forgiveness Stones, Saying Sorry, Plasma Ball, Big Questions, Bubble Tube and Pray for the World. Simon Fenn was able to borrow a Prayer Space starter kit and the Bubble tube from the Diocese’s Children, Youth and Families team for a small charge (£16).
Simon Fenn said, “It was great to see the children actively engage with the Prayer stations and their sense of awe and wonder at the exciting space created within their school. One child reflected that his favourite activity was the Forgiveness Stones: ‘You get to throw away all the bad stuff’, and another child said, ‘I like this place; it feels like Heaven – God is with me’. It was also encouraging that some of the staff clearly enjoyed being involved and the atmosphere of peace and reflection had a positive impact on them as well.”
Feedback from the other team members was equally as positive; “I think the comments about feeling nearer to God, and God being with us everywhere were very important. Saying the Lord's Prayer together was lovely.” - “The messages asking for forgiveness were very touching. They were obviously written for God but they trusted us with them.” - “It was helpful that we adapted our approach according to the age and ability of the various age groups, e.g. help with spelling and use of audio equipment.”
After speaking to the children John Marshall-Grint has setup a permanent Prayer station at each school (Mirror & Forgiveness Stones) to enable the children to have some ‘time-out’ to reflect and pray when needed. “We are looking forward to seeing the on-going benefits of personal reflection to all in the terms ahead.”
Simon Fenn is keen to build on this success and introduce Prayer Spaces to other schools and church congregations in the North Norfolk area.
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For further information on Prayers Spaces, click here
The next Prayer Spaces workshop run by the Diocese of Norwich will be in May 2013. Click here for all the details.
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