23rd June 2021
The Benefice of the Lavingtons, Cheverells and Easterton got weaving in a Pentecost Prayer Space that was blessed in church. Making use of a metal grid and some strips of flame-coloured cloth, donated by villagers, the prayer activity began at the benefice service in St Barnabas Church, Easterton, where Rev Marion Harrison blessed the parishioners’ prayers and weavings before they were taken up to the school for families to use during the week.
In our benefice, we noticed a drop off in the number of younger parishioners coming to church over the past few years. This has been especially noticeable during 2020-2021 and could be put down to Covid. ‘Church’ was moved to Zoom very quickly in the summer of 2020, and also a small group of parishioners, including the rector, have been meeting regularly to pray for the schools, teachers and children. In discussion with the headteachers, we have chosen a number of Christian festivals to support through practical activities and resources. This prayer space was the first one we have developed that involved both the parishioners and the school children. Families in the villages of the benefice were also invited to come and weave their prayers into the grid. Essentially we were hoping this activity would be an intergenerational focus to prayer and be unifying in a time when people have not been able to meet together in person.
We created two weaving grids and placed them into two of our church porches. One was used during a communion service and then went to St Barnabas School. The other was left up for 10 days for visitors to use in their own time. Both were blessed by the rector.
Lindsay Clough, the headteacher of St Barnabas Primary School in Market Lavington, was delighted to share the activity with the school community and said afterwards, “We have all really enjoyed the process and it is quickly becoming a unique piece of art!”
At the same time as some of the very youngest children in the benefice were weaving at school, a second grid was set up in St Peter’s Church porch in Great Cheverell where villagers could pause, pray and write messages and prayers as they reflected upon how their actions could be an outliving of the Holy Spirit into the local community. With questions such as ‘how are you living out the fruits of the Spirit, such as gentleness in your life?’ visitors to the space were encouraged to think also how God might be weaving them into His ‘big story’.
It was a lovely, calm time to sit, weave, write and pray. Visitors to the prayer spaces were often serenaded by birdsong. Speaking to those who used it, they said they enjoyed being quietly prayerful and that it felt special to be creating a piece of visual art that wove individuals intentions and prayers asking the Holy Spirit to help them live out the ‘fruits of the spirit’ in their lives and into the community
This artwork is just one of a few prayerful activities that have involved schools within the benefice over the past year, helping to build the community at a time when it has been more difficult to meet in person. The project ideas have come from a small group of parishioners working together with Rev Marion and with school leaders. The resulting child-friendly and inter-generational worship activities have been displayed in church and have been enjoyed by many during times of private prayer.
We were hoping that the prayer space would be a focus for prayer and a way to continue to combine prayerful thought to bring our community together across the ages at a time when it has been hard to meet.
If you would like more information on the Pentecost Prayer Space, please contact the benefice office on email@example.com. This is the article they wrote Weaving peace, prayer and Pentecost together — Diocese of Salisbury (anglican.org)