In early 2014, Esther Marsh (Minster Road Baptist Church) and Deacon Pru Cahill (The Church in Hope Street) were given the go ahead from David Millar to create the two prayer spaces at Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey: one on the West Campus, the other on the East Campus.
In planning and bringing the project to fruition we were helped enormously by many members of staff at the Academy. Estates and IT, teachers and administrators as well as members of the senior leadership team. Key to our planning was the guidance of Paul Murray. We sought outside inspiration from the Prayer Spaces in Schools organisation and drew on some of the online resources.
The Prayer Spaces provide students an opportunity to use a quiet space to express their spirituality and practice considering views, situations, thoughts and feelings of others. The stations are:
Made to be Me
"If you could message God, what would you say?"
A selection of quotes from the students:
"It's calm and peaceful here"
"I felt free"
"There is more things to do than I expected"
"God really does love me"
"I'd like the space to stay"
The students talked of the importance of having a calm and peaceful place to go.
Prayer Space Guides
The Guides for the Prayer Spaces came from a range of congregations across the Island. Prayer support was provided during the preparation and throughout the days by congregation members on Sheppey, the Kent Prayer network and by the UK and Ireland Transformation network.
The funding has been provided by Churches Together in Sheppey, the North Kent Methodist Circuit, The Church in Hope Street, Minster Road Baptist Church and the Academy.
These five days have helped us to understand something of where the students are at regarding prayer and spirituality. A number of young people asked if the Spaces are available long term. As volunteers we are keen to support the Academy beyond this initial period and hope a Prayer Space will be a permanent feature on each campus.