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"The Prayer Space enables students to learn from RE, rather than just to learn about RE. The different ways for students to engage with prayer, whilst in the Prayer Space, enables all young people to have a fresh understanding of what prayer means, rather than seeing it just in a traditionally dry way."Mr Perry (Head teacher, Romford)

"I can actually look at myself and know I’m perfect the way I am”

In January we ran our first prayer space at Park View, each group had thirty minutes in the prayer space alongside a classroom discussion. We also opened the prayer space up during lunchtimes to enable students to come back and explore the prayer space more if they wanted. We had a team of five volunteers hosting the prayer space and available for students to talk to if they wanted.

“It gave me a space to talk to the people who care about me without interruption in a nice space” Yr8 Female  

“All the kids in 8I came saying it was great- completely different to how they expected and much better than expected,” Yr8 Teacher

“I thought it was really peaceful and fun” Yr8 Male

Several valuable conversations happened over the course of the week and each team member had a story to share. This felt like an insight into what some of the issues students are facing, how they are dealing with these and who they see as people who support them. After our prayer space the volunteers agreed that the prayer space had been of great value. Using each other’s skills and gifts both was of mutual benefit to one another and the prayer space being considered a success. The team felt privileged to be a part of prayer spaces and although it was hard work everyone would commit to taking part again.

In our post prayer space debrief it was clear that there were some topics that kept appearing, young people are feeling stressed and under pressure. Mental health is a big topic for young people as well as family loss or break down.

The prayer space has given opportunities for us  to discover where our church can play a larger role within the community and school itself. The team were able to connect with the students allowing them to come alonside them and support them pastorally during the week. As a team we are thinking about how we might continue to support the school, perhaps through an annual prayer space, a lunch club and more.  We are really excited for our relationship to continue developing with the school.

“That I can actually look at myself and know I’m perfect the way I am” Yr8 Female

Susan White, Youth and Children’s Coordinator St Marys and St Cuthbert Church.

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Posted on 9th March 2018

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