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"It felt like the truth in here."Student (Year 6)

Forest Prayer Space in the newly-built Forest Play Ground

At the beginning of October, Redeemer Lutheran College held a Forest Prayer Space in the newly-built Forest Play Ground at the back of our campus. This playground was completed in the September holidays, and provided wonderful opportunities to reflect, relax and think.

As Junior School chaplain, I had selected four activities, which I later pared back to three, as the fourth activity required too much moving of equipment, and the others could be easily carried in a plastic crate.

My chosen activities were from the Forest activities developed by Jane Gillis in Bristol. They were Forest Thanks, Forest Hope and Forest Listening. (The activity that I began to use and then left off was Forest Rubbish.)

I began each session with the students by having them sit on the walkway above the ground, and I incorporated lying on the walkway and looking up into the trees as well. This was particularly powerful on the last day of the prayer space, when a storm rolled in and the students listened to the thunder as well as the birds, the breeze in the trees and the man-made noises of cars, planes, etc.

I then broke each class into two groups. One went down to the large benches in the middle of the playground to do Forest Thanks, with the stationery items laid out for them. The other stayed on the platform to do Forest Hope, with some small discs of wood I had purchased from eBay.

One class missed out on going to the forest on their appointed day due to rain, but still put lots of thought and care into writing their gratitude and drawing some items they wanted to pray for. They were 5 years old, so it was easier for them to draw, and they drew oceans, trees and animals they were asking God to protect.

Once again, the thoroughly written activities were a real blessing, and I slightly adapted one of the activities, but still maintained the “script” and the intent of the activity. With the excitement around the new playground, it was a lovely way to introduce the children to the space in a gentle way. The only difficulty arose from that excitement, as when a class was resting quietly on the walkway, looking up into the trees, and another class came screaming down the hill to check out the new playground!

Rachael Stelzer, Junior School chaplain

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Posted on 4th December 2019

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