The Life In A(nother) Year of Prayer Spaces In Schools, 2018.
At the beginning of a new year it’s good to think back over the previous 12 months. It’s good to reflect on what’s happened, to celebrate the good things, and to consider what we can learn together.
So, here’s our summary - The Life In A(nother) Year of Prayer Spaces In Schools, 2018.
On the 19th February 2018, after nearly two years of fundraising, writing questionnaires, conducting interviews, and lots of hard work we were incredibly excited to publish the results of our first academic research project, ‘Evaluation of Prayer Spaces in Schools - The Contribution of Prayer Spaces to Spiritual Development’, led by Professor Julian Stern (York St John University) and Rachael Shilitoe. Professor Stern’s full report and our summary brochure are available to download from our website.
Around Easter 2018 our team completed working on a BRAND NEW Prayer Spaces in Schools Training Pack, including sessions on; What Is A Prayer Space, How To Create Great Prayer Activities and (A) Theology Of Prayer Spaces (etc). In May we met with our 40+ regional Networkers in five hubs across England to give them copies of the Training Pack and to familiarise them with the new materials. This means that our Networkers are now fully equipped to train people to run the best possible prayer spaces. If you’re interested in getting training for your community, church or school then please do get in touch. To give you an idea of the need for these materials, during 2018 our core team and Networkers delivered more than 60 training events and workshops. It’s likely there could be even more in 2019.
As well as developing new materials, we also recruited new team members. In March, Charl Harman was welcomed onto the Prayer Spaces in Schools core team. Charl is based in Stanford-le-Hope, where she’s helped pioneer schools work. Beginning with a prayer space a number of years ago, Charl now leads a chaplaincy team across three schools offering daily support to staff and students.
Then, in October - drum roll please - Catherine Clayton joined our employed staff team. Catherine’s job title is Head of Strategy for Prayer Spaces in Schools, England, and her main focus will be to grow our regional Network and oversee training. Catherine will spend most of her time recruiting, coaching and supporting our regional Networkers (which probably means having lots of coffee conversations).
Europe… WOW! What a year it’s been for our connections across Europe (and beyond)? Early in 2018, Phil and Nick Beasley (24-7 Prayer Director of Communications) went to Malta to film the final footage for our upcoming ‘Prayer Spaces in Schools Europe’ video (watch this space). Phil also visited friends in a few other nations where Prayer Spaces in Schools teams are emerging, including Michael Scharf and Franz Greismann in Austria, and also Jana Nimmo in Germany, where Phil spoke at Schuler SMD’s staff conference. Tandia and Phil visited the 24-7 Prayer team in the Netherlands to explore launching Prayer Spaces in Schools there, and Catherine took part in the Hope 4 Europe Conference in Tallinn, Estonia. Best of all though, we hosted our first ever European Round Table in Guildford in July. Friends came from Germany, Malta and Austria to dream, plan and pray about what God is already doing in schools across the nations, and what we hope to see happen over the next few years. We are so grateful, and incredibly excited to be working with passionate friends who are also brilliant leaders.
Finally, we’ve had an encouraging financial year. As you probably know, Prayer Spaces in Schools is part of, and therefore fully supported by, the 24-7 Prayer movement. 2018 was the first year that we were able to raise enough funds to fully support our staff team, and to deliver our projects, which is very encouraging. We are, of course, incredibly grateful for the help and ongoing support that we receive from personal supporters, and we’re looking forward to building new relationships and financial partnerships. But that’s enough about money.
In closing, for those who particularly like the stats… during 2018 we tracked and supported more than 660 prayer spaces, we welcomed 2,500 new friends who joined the Prayer Spaces in Schools website, and we watched 31,000 resources get downloaded from it. Amazing!
Thank you for joining us this last year and we look forward to all the 2019 has to hold. Peace be with you.