4th June 2021
For part of her week, Beth Rookwood is a 6th form chaplain in a Northumberland high school, and she hosted her first online prayer space with the school a few weeks ago.
‘I love creating spaces for people to connect with themselves, with each other and with God,’ said Beth, ‘in whatever way meets where they are at, in that moment. Prayer spaces are great – they’re gentle and creative. They’re open, and they inspire openness in the students too.’
When Beth first started thinking about organising a prayer space, schools were still closed to most pupils, and definitely to visitors, because of the coronavirus pandemic. But she couldn’t shake the idea. ‘I’d been waiting for an opening for a long time,’ she said, ‘and it just felt like it was ‘now’.’ So she proposed hosting something online, and the school said yes.
‘It went really well – I was so pleased. It was half an hour of reflective space, using three of the activities from the Prayer Spaces in Schools website, which I put onto slides. I made space for the students to speak if they wanted to, and there were little things for them to write or draw in response too.’
‘One student got quite teary and said it was the first time she hadn’t felt lonely. Another said it was ‘bliss’ amongst all the other school things. Another said she loved how inclusive it was.
‘I felt so pleased and really thankful to God for the creative, authentic space that opened up. I’ll continue doing this as long as the students are at home, and then we’ll see how it unfolds in a new season.’
‘To anyone who might be feeling a sense of… ‘I really fancy a go at that…’ I’d say do just that. Give it a go!’
For more from Beth, watch our short interview with her, which was part of our recent Prayer Spaces Session #4. Watch the interview here.