The purpose of this online Prayer Spaces session was so that chaplains and pastoral carers from different locations could share their experiences of Prayer Spaces in Schools. It was organised by Prayer Spaces in Schools in UK on the 29th November 2021. The aim of the session was also to share innovative ideas so that we can all create the best prayer spaces possible to serve our school communities.
The session consisted of 3 interviews.
Ken MacKay. who is a chaplain in the outskirts of Liverpool shared his experience of how he helped his students re-adjust from virtual to physical schooling. Ken described the prayer stations which were organized in the school chapel.
These consisted of different prayer stations such as the Prayer Tent in which students entered a tent. Inside the tent, they found a bible as well as a letter from God telling them how much He loves them. The students had to spend quality time alone with God.
Another prayer station Ken described was the Pray for Our World. It consisted of images that would inspire the students to pray about different issues such as human trafficking, bombings, teen pressures and other global problems.
The Christmas Tree of Gratitude prayer space encouraged students to write prayers of gratitude on Christmas bauble templates thanking God for things that happened during the year.
Another prayer station Ken described was the Shepherds in the Crib in which students thought about the shepherds as people who were rejected by society. The students then connected with persons from a homeless organization and wrote Christmas cards with messages of encouragement to the homeless.
The prayer station called Putting Christ Back in Christmas consisted of chocolate wrappers and other Christmas rubbish such as alcohol labels which they scattered on a piece of cloth. The students then cut out stars and wrote how they could put Christ back into Christmas.
In the prayer space: Journey of the Wise Men, five bags of sand were scattered on the floor underneath the statues of the Three Wise Men. The students thought about the desert of life with rocks which represented the difficult moments in their life. They cut out gift boxes to write about the people who helped them through these difficult times.
Another interesting prayer station was about the hopes, dreams and ambitions which the students have. They placed the statue of the Virgin Mary on a blue cloth and created a paper chain of their dreams, wishes and ambitions, focusing on the fact that God can do the impossible.
The Empty Crib activity challenged students to think about what would happen if Jesus had not been born. They placed the empty crib on a cloth with no Jesus in it. They had to imagine what the world would be like if Jesus was never born. They had to stick papers to the crib saying how this would have affected their life and faith.
Kelsie from BE SPACE in Oxfordshire also described some prayer spaces such as Advent Hearts which could be done not just by students but also by their families.
A spiritual theme-based activity was called Narnia and consisted of a table and noticeboards which were covered in white paper and cloth to represent snow with the Christmas tree of hope and the lampost with paper doilie snowflakes which represents how each person is unique and special.
Another interesting feature of this session was the interview with Fr Reuben Gauci and Silvana Cardona from the Malta Spiritual Development in Schools team. They explained about the Prayer Spaces in Schools website as well as the Advent Calendar which was created for early and upper Primary schools as well as Middle and Secondary schools.
The rest of the session consisted of Break Up Rooms in which the participants could share experiences about different prayer space sessions they organized in their schools. A person from each group then reported what was discussed to the rest of the participants in the Prayer Space session.
Prayer Spaces 10 was a truly enjoyable session in which participants could learn from and appreciate the work of other Chaplains and Pastoral Carers in different locations.