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"This has changed my mind about praying, so it's basically changed my future."Student (Year 9)

'Calm, relaxing, and epic fun!' 'Perfect' prayer space in Cumbria

"Planning an outdoor prayer space in Cumbria, even in the summer, is a step of faith! Our prayers were thankfully abundantly answered, with sunhats essential all day. Monday 30th June was set aside for the whole of Dent Church of England Primary School (which has only 37 students in total, plus staff) to experience their first prayer space.

Arriving early to set up, I was bowled over driving up the valley (even if the lanes were scarily narrow in places!), by what a spectacular setting for prayer the school grounds are, nestled in the valley of Dentdale and surrounded by the fells.

We took full advantage of this, incorporating praise and thanks for the beauty of creation into some of our outdoor prayer stations.

In total we had nine prayer activities set up around the school field:

  • World Map prayers
  • Quiet Bible Reading/Listening
  • Fizzy Forgiveness
  • Sketching Thank You prayers
  • Space Hoppers - Jumping for Joy
  • Music Praise
  • Thankful Flags
  • Worry Pebbles in the Twigloo
  • Be Still parachute

The school gathered in six groups after an early break and spent the rest of the morning reflecting and praying at the stations. After lunch there was time for feedback and space for further reflection. I joined one class on a stroll along the river, stopping on the beach to make pebble cairns, before visiting the church on our way back to school.

The whole day was summed up by these comments from two of the students: 'Prayer Spaces in Schools - calm, relaxing, FUN!' and 'Epic fun!'

Staff also gave us feedback on the day, with comments including:

  • 'Our children never fail to amaze me!'
  • 'It surprised me how much the children enjoyed the quiet space.'
  • 'The prayer space day was perfect. We have really moved on and are delighted that we managed to use the outdoors to help our reflections.'

Dent Primary School now plans to keep an outdoor prayer space in their willow ‘Twigloo’ structure. The thankful prayer flags are currently decorating it and the students voted for the worry pebbles to be the first station inside, as one child said 'I felt good in the Twigloo because I liked plopping the pebbles in.'

Sarah Hulme is a Church & Schools Officer with the Diocese of Carlisle

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Posted on 27th August 2014

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