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'I liked the Fizzy Forgiveness. My brother is in hospital and I thought it was my fault. As I watched the bubbles and the tablet fizzing in the water I realised it wasn't my fault.'Student (England)

A Prayer Space for the Rugby World Cup 2015

This autumn, the Rugby World Cup is coming to England and Wales. And, like many major sporting events, there has been increasing activity to help facilitate and empower churches to engage with their local communities, using the themes and excitement of the World Cup to serve them and let relationships grow.

Some of those involved with the More than Gold initiative (helping thousands of events happen during the 2012 Olympics) have joined with rugby enthusiasts and experts to create Engage2015, a "cross-denominational campaign set up to help churches serve the rugby community during the World Cup."

As part of this initiative we were asked to set up a prayer space in a school based on the Rugby World Cup theme, and we hosted a pilot space in Gloucester Academy last in March. And we’ve compiled the various activities together in a downloadable resource, so that you can use them in your schools during the Rugby World Cup itself.

The activities offer suggestions and a guide for helping students reflect on the RFU values and the different themes in the Rugby World Cup. Feel free to form and shape them to match the needs and story of your school.

There aren’t specific activities for the RFU Values, but the values weave themselves into a larger framework based on the title ‘The Game of Life’. 

From exploring the Game of Life, we came up with 4 key questions, which become 4 zones in the prayer space. These are: 

  1. What’s your goal in the game of life?
  2. Where are you winning?
  3. Where are you losing?
  4. How are you playing? 

'Engage2015 is a cross-denominational campaign set up to help churches serve the rugby community during the World Cup.'

What worked well?

The zones based on the 4 questions above worked very well.

During lesson time, we introduced the whole theme by encouraging students to form small groups of 3 to discuss and prioritise the most important things in life. Out of 20 examples, such as food, family, shelter, faith, games, etc. the students had to pick their top three.

This was a great way to get students interested, engaged and involved straight away. This also helped students who aren’t interested in rugby to be involved, which became really important as the days went on.

What didn’t work well?

We also experimented with playing the RFU values video, however this didn’t work so well and the students didn’t find it easy to reflect on, which surprised us. We ran the space over 4 days, and eventually stopped using the video during the lesson intro, and instead took time to explore the 4 key questions around the Game of Life. 

Overall, it was a fun prayer space that brought together every day hopes, dreams and struggles under one theme. It was amazing to see students still have the courage to hope and pray with a lot of openness and honesty, as they grew an awareness of themselves, others and God if they chose. So even if your school doesn’t have a huge rugby following, I’d still recommend giving this a go during the World Cup in the autumn, as it’s a great opportunity to grow the relationship with your school in a variety of ways.

Please visit the resource library to download the Rugby World Cup prayer activity series.

Joe Knight is a youth and schools worker based in Gloucester. He is also part of the national Prayer Spaces in Schools team. 

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Posted on 3rd July 2015

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