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Acle prayer space 640CF

Creative prayer space links church and school in Acle

2018: The Link Easter Prayer Space at Acle Methodist Church, created for pupils at Acle St Edmund Primary School last month, was a great success, attracting around 185 children and several school staff over the two days. Tony Rothe reports.

The Link – linking the school, church, community, God and the individual together – had been created especially for the children at the school by volunteers from the Church and was visited by the pupils on March 22 and 23.
Acle prayer space 400CF“It made me happy and calm and it made me think about Jesus and God” said a Year 2 pupil after experiencing The Link Easter Prayer Space.  Others said “I’ve enjoyed learning about Jesus.”  “We learned about compassion, thankfulness, forgiveness, friendship and family. It looked beautiful and calming.”  “I loved all the activities and how kind all the leaders were.” “It was calming, and I loved it all. Thank you.”
The church was transformed with: a prayer dome, the road to Jerusalem, a table set for the last supper, the garden of Gethsemane, a wooden cross and an empty tomb. The scent of fresh flowers and perfumes filled the air, calming music played, gentle nature videos played on the screen and colourful fairy lights added to the atmosphere.
Each activity was led by a Prayer Guide from the church who outlined an aspect of the Easter story and encouraged the children to respond in multi-sensory ways. In the garden of Gethsemane children wrote their worries on a lollipop stick and planted them in a tray, along with a sunflower seed. They took these away in the hope that as the flower grew, their worries would recede.
Acle prayer space 300CFAt the Blessings station children heard about the anointing of Jesus and blessed each other with scented oil. A costumed guide explained her reaction when she discovered the empty tomb on Easter morning and encouraged the children to write their hopes and dreams on flowers; the petals were folded in, floated on water and the children watched as the flowers unfolded and ‘blossomed’.
The activities ensured a range of values were explored, including heroes, friends, help, saying sorry and hopes and dreams, as well as the two school assembly themes of the term, thankfulness and compassion.
Sara Edwards, who led the Prayer Space on behalf of the Church said it had been a wonderful experience, for the Prayer Guides as well as the children and staff. “At one of the prayer stations we discussed with the children how a blessing was something both given and received. We have been blessed to see the children engage so thoughtfully in the activities, write their own spontaneous prayers and discuss their views and responses so widely and deeply.”
The Prayer Space concluded on Palm Sunday, when the Church congregation were invited to view the prayer stations and make their own responses as part of their worship. 
Teachers commented:
 “A wonderful experience for both children and adults – moments of peace in a hectic day. The LOVE is so evident and the children have gained so much from being here.”
“Lovely activities, very engaging and very easy for children to understand and they all enjoyed it a lot.”
“We are so grateful for the wider church communities in Acle and for the efforts put in here, helping children reflect on the events of Easter” - Headteacher
“So many children said to me how much they loved the activities and teachers said they enjoyed it so much they didn’t want to go back to school!”  - Teacher, by email

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