The Right Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham was amongst the visitorsÂ at a Prayer Spaces taster day on Thursday 12th November.
This ‘Taster Day’ was setup for anyone interested in prayer spaces, aÂ two-year project which will see churches and schools working together to create interactive â€˜prayer spacesâ€™ such as in classrooms where children and young people can can reflect on life and try new creative ways of engaging in prayer.
Sharon Pritchard, Diocesan Childrenâ€™s Ministry Advisor, said: â€œThis project gives us a fantastic opportunity to engage with children at the right level and look at different ways of praying.â€
“The project extends the work the Diocese has been doing to develop prayer spaces for the past three years, which has helped some children engage with prayer at difficult times of their life, including bereavement.Â More than 1500 temporary prayer spaces have been hosted in primary and secondary schools around the UK.
“The work would help the Diocese embrace its main priorities of Children and Young People, Poverty and Church Growth.”
Amongst those visiting the taster day were childrenâ€™s workers, youth workers, clergy, parents, school staff, and church volunteers.Â
These prayer spaces usually take place in classroom-sized areas that have been transformed for a few days or for a week, and are hosted by a small team of suitably trained, local Christians.
Prayer spaces provide a safe, creative, engaging environment for students, of faith and of no faith, to explore their sense of identity, to reflect on their relationships and on ways to resolve difficulties and conflict, to consider how they engage with the wider world, and to experience prayer.
All over the UK, prayer spaces have been welcomed and praised by Head teachers, teachers and parents as a valuable contribution to the RE and PSHE syllabus, in line with government requirements, as well as assisting in the statutory responsibility to support the spiritual and moral development of the students.
The taster sessions provided a range of example prayer activities to explore and engage with, and a display of other resources that are available to support the work. Also present was Phil Togwell,Â Director of Prayer Spaces in Schools who is working with the Diocese over the next two years on the Prayer Spaces project.
The Right Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham said: â€œThis is a very important project for us which I know will make a real difference to the spiritual life of our communities. Through prayer we learn to be at peace with ourselves, to become more reflective of our lives and communities and to grow in our faith. I have seen Prayer Spaces at work; they are brilliant. I really enjoyed meeting with some of those taking part and with the Children visiting. One young lad from Esh C of E Primary School invited me to come and make Play-doh Prayer – was so taken with the whole activity that he said loudly ‘This is the best place in the World’ – praise for the power of creative prayer indeed.
â€œOur mission is to bless our communities in Jesusâ€™ name for the good of us all – and growing in prayer is a key component in achieving that – the Prayer Project taster session gave a great example of how that can work in practice.â€