21st October 2022
Last week we caught up with Chaplain Lou Peet from Blue Coat Secondary School in Coventry. They have a permanent prayer space and she also takes prayer activities ‘on tour’. We, of course, had to find out more and had lots of questions!
Thank you so much Lou for taking the time to answer our questions. First up, how long have you been running prayer spaces in schools?
So you provide a permanent prayer space in your school, which is amazing! What kind of space do you have? (Is it a corner of a corridor, a specific room or area, a chapel?)
We have a school Chaplaincy which is 2 adjoining rooms. One side has sofas and drinks making and some small activities. The other side is multi-use and the walls are always used as a prayerspace for students at their social times. I have also taken activities ‘on tour’ to different parts of the schools, for example an activity thinking about our vision statement ‘Life in all its fullness’ from John 10:10 and making badges that represent fullness of life for us – last week I arrived at our Hub (inclusion unit/safe space) and we did the activity there.
That is amazing, what a great use of the space and I love the idea of ‘on tour’ prayer activities! How are the pupils allowed to access the space, are they allowed to drop in or is there set times or is it used as part of the R.E lessons?
The space is the Chaplaincy – which is openly available at break and lunchtimes as a reflective but social space. Some days there are worship or cell groups happening but other than these, all times are available. Some also use it before school, and some children of staff use the space after school while waiting for their parents to finish work!
There have been times when a tutor group or RE class have engaged with the space during their tutor time or lessons but mainly it is in break and lunchtimes. Staff also use the space to relflectm pray and engage with the prayer space for themselves.
How do the pupils interact with the space once in?
A range of ways including silence (though this is rare!!), small groups talking about bible verses on walls, cell groups responding to a bible study by writing notes and sticking on the walls, students painting stones and holding crosses, leaving prayers in a wooden cross, creative artwork.
How do you keep the space resourced so it doesn’t become stale/forgettable?
Change it at least once per Term. Add activities. Take unused activities down and replace. Keep it current as possible eg topics from local and national news, awareness weeks. Our most recent prayer space is helping us to pray and reflect upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
What sort of resources do you use?
Creative activities (painting stones, writing, illustrating scripture, colouring in) Formal prayers (reading the Litany of Reconciliation from Coventry Cathedral) Other creative ways of writing prayers (post-its, writing and rolling up to leave in a wooden cross)
Do you have a favourite memory or experience of a pupil’s experience or feedback that stays with you?
Yes I had a y7 student engage with the recent prayer space. He wrote on all the activities and spent considerable time in the room just ‘being’. He said that he had always wanted to pray but thought it was only for vicars in churches because his prayers didnt sound as ‘fancy’. Using the prayerspace helped him to pray in a way that was age-appropriate, fun and accessible and taught him the reality of prayer as a way of having a conversation with God which is living, breathing and creative. Not over rehearsed or limited.
Wow, that is so moving. Thank you so much for sharing with us Lou, I’m so encouraged and inspired!
Check out the photos below