Posted by Phil on 15.06.2012
"On Tuesday the 22nd May, a team from Chafford Hundred Community Church and friends from 24-7 Stanford-le-Hope, hosted their first Prayer Space in a local primary school. The Thurrock school is situated in an area with a variety of families from different cultures, rising unemployment and a significant proportion of children in poverty. We were very much welcomed to the school by staff while we set up on the Monday evening. After lots of hard work and a few gazebo legs getting shortened we were ready.
Many of the team members didn’t really know what to expect, and even those that had experience in Prayer Spaces in the past were impressed with how well the Year 1 and 2 pupils engaged with the activities.
We saw all infant pupils from the school (2 classes of Year 1, two classes of Year 2) who were ‘off timetable’ for the day and rotated around four themed zones for one hour at a time. The themes were;
+ Sorry & Forgiveness
+ Help & Please
+ Thank you
We had some really profound responses. At the Letters to God activity, for example, a child wrote drew a picture of themself and God, and wrote above the characters; "God I am sorry because I don't believe in you”. But then, in speech bubbles, the child's character 'said'; "I don't... bleef in you... I do now". Fascinating.
In the Thankful zone a child said; “I’m thankful for God because I like him.”
We asked some of the staff what they thought about the Prayer Space, and were encouraged by the feedback;
"The children understand why prayer is important and it can be done in a variety of ways"
"It's time for reflection"
"Gave them and us a time to reflect"
"It made children think of others less fortunate than themselves. It was a lovely day."
One teacher added, "I asked a child who he was making a thankful heart for he said 'Mum because dad never does anything for me'"
When the team got together during the lunch hour to reflect on their observations so far, some were moved to tears. One reported that children had asked them to write on their behalf, ‘I’m sorry my mummy has no money’ and ‘I’m sorry that my mummy can’t buy me a scooter’. Our hearts continue to break for our community as we move toward the Summer break where we're planning to launch a holiday Lunch Club with a designated Prayer Space at the school.
Before then, though, we're hosting Prayer Spaces for Years 3, 4, 5 and 6!"