Bishop John visited Hartlebury CE Primary School this week to bless their new reflection and prayer space which has been created by the pupils themselves. Bishop John took part in a whole school act of worship, hearing about the school’s new vision and the difference that the reflection and prayer space will make to the children.
Bishop John said: “I am delighted to be here to bless this new space as well as the whole school and all who are a part of it. Prayer is a fantastic gift that God has given us. It enables us to extend our care and concern for others across the miles. I hope that you will use this space to feel God close to you and also to bring other people to God in prayer.”
The school was helped by parent and Chair of the PTA Alex Jolly to transform the space. Alex is head of learning at a local art gallery and regularly does creative activities with groups of children. Over a few months she helped the children think about how the space might be decorated and ensured that every child could be involved. She said: “It was great to transform a white, uninspiring space into something more exciting for the children to use for reflection. We reflected the school’s vision that everyone is a unique child known to God by helping the children paint their handprints on the space. We also thought about joy, hope and prayer and explored different symbols of Christianity. The children then designed prints which we printed onto fabric and turned into a curtain. The designs from children in early years were turned into a cushion and blanket.”
The children in the school worship group explained how they would be using the space to say prayers for their friends at lunchtime or to have some quiet time where they can think about any problems they are currently facing. There is the opportunity to light a (battery operated) candle and post prayers into a box. ‘Cuddle Cat’ will also be part of the space. If children are feeling a bit sad, they can sit and cuddle the furry animal, which has a pouch on the front into which children can put any worries. These will all be read by a member of staff so children feel heard and supported.
Head of School, Sophie Barlett said: “This is a beautiful area of our school created by the children with artist Alex. It is a place which enables children of all faiths and none to make personal reflections and to explore life questions, spirituality and faith in a safe, creative and peaceful way.”
The assembly with Bishop John also launched the school’s vision, in which the school commits to journeying with pupils to help them reach their full potential. Executive Head, Caroline Unitt reflected on this, talking about the many journeys in the bible. She said: “As in the bible, God is always with you on life’s journey. And we will also be with you throughout your unique journey through Hartlebury CE School. We are beside you and will help you achieve your full potential.”
Years 3 & 4 also performed ‘Look at the World’ by John Rutter and the whole school joined in the hymn ‘Make me a Channel of your Pece’.