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"I have always prayed but Sanctum made me feel like there was more to praying then just religion. I will now pray daily."Student (Year 7)

'To me the bubbles were my fears floating away.'

We had a fantastic week hosting a prayer space at St Mary’s School. Over five days more than four hundred children visited the prayer space. A team from St Mary’s church were hosting the space during a week where the school was focusing on sacred places and pilgrimage as the theme for their assemblies.

The space provided an opportunity for the children to spend some time praying or reflecting in a special place with some activities to guide them. This is the second prayer space and many of the children had remembered the prayer space from last year. After a discussion with the pupils around prayer and how we might receive answers. The classes were divided into two groups, with one group remaining in class while the other visited the prayer space.

Those who remained in class used a ‘Throw and Tell’ ball to explore how we are all different, with unique likes and dislikes and our own ideas. It was then shared with the children that the Bible says we are special and unique, in addition to this it says that we matter, we are loved and we belong.

The children made their own choices about how they used their time in the prayer space. Some reflecting, some praying and some using the time to ‘just be’. We had a child ask if it was ok to pray to their god and when in the space they enjoyed sharing with the adults about their faith and how they would usually pray.

The space provided children with opportunities to think about and reflect on situations in their lives; experiences they have had or are currently facing.

When bringing our time with each class to a close the children were encouraged to share their thoughts and ‘likes’ about the prayer space with the other members of the class. Some of the pupils would talk about a particular activity they enjoyed, others shared their reflections or how they had used their time. It was a privilege to be present when a child felt safe enough to be vulnerable in front of their team and their class.

The staff were fantastic as they gave up learning time for their class to come and experience the prayer space, with some teachers taking photographs they would later display in their classrooms. Teachers and children showed an interest in seeing activities moved to the classroom, one class asked if they could make their own calm jars and another teacher asked to have her class’s prayer wall so it could be incorporated into the class prayer corner.

As we reflected with the children on how it had felt in the prayer space afterwards one of the most common responses had been how they had felt peace and calm when in the space.

Lois Blakey, Children and Families Worker

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Posted on 24th May 2019

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