Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Sacred Space for 6th Formers

Tim Abbott has just been involved in helping to run a prayer room at his local 6th form college, and has blogged each day of the experiment.

After a slow start we had a steady trickle of people coming through in ones and twos, more than twenty over the course of the day. With a few people in the room the gentleness and peace that pervaded the atmosphere once again inspired some deep one-to-one conversations. The girl who had come in for a long and quite serious conversation the day before came back looking brighter, happier, freer and I was able to chat to her about her life and her ambitions for quite a while. Yesterday's encounter had definitely made a difference.

There is something amazing about creating a sacred space where people can reflect, pray, wonder and worship. "Come and see" rather than "go and tell". Our task was harder due to the location of Sanctum this year and only having 4 days, but in the end we had over 80 visits. Here is what a few people had to say:

"It is the peace I have been looking for, it will be sad when it goes. My life has been very down, I hope this will help it go up."

"I didn't get a chance to spend much time here, but I loved it. It woud be good to have something like this in college more often or a permanent space or something similar."

"A wonderful place, very calming and it helped me feel better about a few things. College should have a permanent version of this. Thank you."

"Very calming place, made me think about things I take for granted."

It's sounds like a more active/interactive approach to providing space for reflection and prayer than a normal college 'quiet room'. Quite a tricky one in a diffuse community like a college, which doesn't really have a community gathering or core meeting place. Reading Tim's blog, they've tried to combine a personal approach and a desire to build a sense of community, with a 'come and go' element to the prayer room, rather than any fixed events or focal times.

1 comment:

  1. David,

    Thanks for the mention, and for the helpful links you added in comments to my blog. This is actually the sixth 'sacred space' we've run in Colchester schools with two more still to come this term.

    This prayer spaces in schools (and colleges) thing is taking off around the country. I'm part of a group working with 24-7 prayer to encourage and resource these - there's a youth and schools section on the 24-7 prayer web site with more info http://uk.24-7prayer.com/schools-and-youth/ including how to get hold of the "Prayer Spaces in Schools" resource pack.