The Christmas Prayer Space
delivered by Norwich Youth for Christ (NYFC)
at Hethersett Academy
was visited by over 350 students last week from years 7, 8 and 9 who took part in 15 different activities to explore praying in creative ways with direct links to aspects of the Christmas story.
Decked out with a gazebo, decorative lights, paddling pool and a Christmas tree, the room was transformed to enable the students to experience prayer and understand why Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Nick Blanch, Director of Norwich Youth for Christ
said: “The prayer space was a huge success with most students enjoying the experience, even if they didn't express any faith. There was a real buzz around the school about the prayer space and on top of attendance as part of lessons we had around 70 visits from students in the lunchtime each day.”
The lessons started with a short introduction about what prayer is and why people pray. Students were given 30 minutes to explore the activities which ranged from writing their hopes on a floating flower to taking a chocolate and being thankful for things they have. They finished with a quick debrief at the end to feedback their thoughts.
Students made comments such as: 'It's the first time I have prayed', 'I didn't believe in God but after this lesson, feel that he could be real' and 'I feel that God can see me and that I can sense Him'.
The project borrowed some materials from the Diocese of Norwich
and had been inspired by other prayer space projects across the county. Volunteers from the local churches were also involved in running the space.
“We've had tremendous support for the prayer space and had nothing but positive feedback from the teaching staff at the school” said Nick.
“The headteacher himself visited and told me he was glad we were here. It very much fits in with their Ofsted criteria to provide something which promotes and evaluates pupils' spiritual and moral development. This week has shown us we must deliver more projects like this so that young people in school can explore the basics about Christianity.”
NYFC hopes to deliver an Easter project in the school and has more prayer spaces lined up for other schools.
They currently have a fundraising campaign to raise funds for a schools worker post to expand this work. To find out more go to www.norwichyfc.co.uk/support/500fivers