A report from Joanna Jones, Bishop if Kensington's Youth & Schools' Chaplain, on an Advent prayer space on one of the area's schools

15th February 2023

As the end of a busy term approached, all Year 7 and 8 pupils at the Green School for Girls, Isleworth, had the opportunity to spend a peaceful time of reflection and prayer in the school’s chapel in December.  A ‘prayer space’ with creative stations on a range of themes was coordinated and led by Jo Jones (Kensington Area Youth & Schools’ Chaplain), alongside the school’s chaplain Samuel Braga Tavares and with support from the curate at St Mary’s Church, Fi Budden.

Using ideas and resources from the Prayer Spaces in Schools, whose aim is to enable young people of all faiths and none to explore life’s questions, spirituality and faith in a safe, creative and interactive way, this was a welcome pause in a busy timetable.  The pupils came out of their regular lessons in small groups, to be introduced to and engage with the prayer space.  The stations included opportunities to reflect and pray about themes such as gratitude; worry; people we care about and those who don’t have a home.  A ‘prayer wall’ invited pupils to write down any questions or short prayers they wanted to express.  Some of the activities linked to Advent themes of hope and being a light in the darkness.

Head of School, Lee Thomas commented ‘The prayer space during Advent gave our students an opportunity to be quiet and reflective, and explore spirituality in interesting and innovative ways. They responded extremely well and I was inspired by some of the very profound and inspiring responses from the students.’

Chaplain Samuel said, ‘The prayer space allows pupils of all ages, backgrounds, cultures and  with any spiritual beliefs or none to engage in prayer in a creative way. One pupil said it was her first experience of talking to God’

Pupils responded very openly and valued the time to stop, pause and reflect on some of the bigger issues in life.  Many prayers and reflections were written that expressed thankfulness and concern for others, as well as asking for help with particular situations.

One Year 8 pupil commented, ‘It was an interesting experience, not like anything I had done before.  I must say I really enjoyed it!’

School chaplain Samuel is present two days a week in school to be a pastoral presence and support pupils and staff in their personal and spiritual formation.  

The school hopes to run more Prayer Spaces in the future, in different seasons, as part of their programme to support pupils in their spiritual formation and awareness.

Joanna Jones, Bishop of Kensington’s Youth & Schools’ Chaplain

January 2023