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Prayer Spaces inspire pupils in local schools

Friday, 18th March 2016

The Rt Revd Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow, was the special guest at a unique Act of Worship at St Aidan’s CofE Academy to mark the end of a ‘Prayer Spaces in School’. This event was held in 3 different Darlington schools, St Aidan’s CofE Academy, High Coniscliffe CofE Primary School and St Mary’s Cockerton CofE Primary School.

‘Prayer Spaces in Schools’ is a national initiative to enable children and young people, of all faiths and none, to explore the big questions of life, spirituality and faith in a creative and interactive way. The prayer spaces give children and young people an opportunity for personal reflection to explore prayer in an open, inclusive environment.

Martin Stand, Chaplain to St Aidan’s Academy, says:-

The Prayer Spaces in St Aidan’s allowed pupils to reflect on their own lives and the world around them. My highlights included the massive Tardis on to which students could post their hopes and dreams for the future, to read what these students hope to achieve was humbling. The response to the activity involving a dinghy as a reflection for the current refugee crisis was breath-taking. The compassion for others was amazing.

Nicole Gibbon, Principal of St Aidan’s, says:-

It has been so exciting to welcome pupils from local primary schools who have had the shared experience of hosting a ‘Prayer Spaces in Schools’ initiative. It was fantastic that the Bishop of Jarrow could come and help lead the assembly and answer questions on his own experiences of Prayer, it was really informative and interesting. The students from St Aidan’s have responded so well to the Prayer Spaces and the reflections have been really insightful and moving.

Wendy Aitkin, Head Teacher of High Coniscliffe and St Mary’s, says:-

The Prayer Spaces activity at both schools has been magnificently received by all the students. The children from Class 6 at St Marys Cockerton have talked about how they have enjoyed exploring ways of engaging with prayer and their faith in a different way. Something which is often repeated in our collective worship is how St. Augustine said, ‘A person who sings prays twice’ and exploring prayer in a different ways might be considered more relatable to the children - maybe it's like praying thrice?