This week we're running the second 'Sanctum' prayer room in school. The first week was at another school back in July.
I'm really interested to see how this week goes. The first went amazingly well; students responded well and Sanctum made a real impact on many of them – something that came through both from their written comments and conversations afterwards. So it's always fascinating to try the same thing out somewhere different – I have a feeling we'll learn a lot more about engaging young people in spirituality as a result.
Compared to last time the school we're in this week has a different demographic, is much smaller and we'll have students from Year 7 to 11. Last time we only had Years 7 to 9 because Year 10 were on Work Experience and Year 11 had left after exams.
Anyway, we set up this morning, including being able to pop into assembly to remind students Sanctum was happening. We're in a slightly bigger room than last time, but away from the main thoroughfares upstairs in an old RE room. Would people find us?
We opened at lunchtime and no sooner had the bell gone than four young people were bursting in to get started. Followed by another five shortly afterwards, then a load more. In all we had 17 students taking part and they all loved it, in a slightly hectic sort of way. Which got me thinking.
We know from Sanctum in July that for many young people slowing down a bit and taking even a little time to be still makes a real impact on them and for some connects them to a better understanding of God. But what of the ADHD generation? I think we had a few in today. One of the narrated activities on an mp3 player lasts only 4 minutes and includes something to do as part of the activity, but even this challenged the attention span of some young people! Between the obvious extremes of adapting entirely to an attention deficient generation or holding out for the few who can engage with a more reflective spirituality, we're attempting to strike a balance with a generous variety of activities that engage young people where they are but stretch their experience into a new place that has the potential to surprise them. We shall see.