We set up on Monday afternoon, including putting together our newest activity, “Identity” which is contained within the black draped frame on the left. In a typical ‘timed to perfection’ bit of planning (!) we finished all the fitting, sewing, cutting and mirror hanging by 6pm leaving me the task of recording the narration with our new ‘voice of Sanctum’, Janine, at 8pm before editing it and exporting it to the mp3 players in time for this morning.
The LRC is indeed a hub of activity, opening at 7;30am. Arriving at 7:50 we were delighted by a Sanctum ‘first’, being offered coffee and croissants for breakfast by the wonderful LRC team who run a reading marathon and breakfast club every morning from 8am.
This great start was followed up by an amazing day. At break we had 15 young people through which proved the value of being in such a public place, given that we had only done one lesson at that stage. Two more lessons followed, each engaging the young people in a quiet but profound buzz of activity. At lunch time we had to manage numbers to avoid overcrowding the thirteen activities, about 50 pupils spending some time in Sanctum. A final lesson brought us to the end of the day.
As we surveyed the room we all felt rather drained yet hugely encouraged. The reception of the school and the young people easily exceeded our hopes and prayers, and looking around at their comments and contributions it looked like we’d been there for about three days, rather than one!
Each of us had special moments or conversations. Here are mine.
- The profound impact of the new “Identity” activity, which, through the use of mirrors and a narration, encourages young people to reflect on who they are on the inside and the possibility of God who knows them even better than they know themselves. I wasn’t the only one to notice that after doing this activity young people spoke boldly of feeling more affirmed and confident about who they are. But it wasn’t just what they said… both Amy and I independently noticed that many young people came out smiling, looking more confident and standing taller. This one activity is noticeably changing young people’s sense of self-confidence. People are queuing to use it.
- At the end of lunch time two Year 9 girls came across to me specifically to thank us for bringing Sanctum into their school and then proceeded to say how much it had helped them and inspired them personally.
- One of the RE teachers on his second visit that day said to me during the lesson that of all the things he’s seen us do in schools (lessons, assemblies, GSUS Live, the visit of girl-band, Collective), all of which he’s appreciated, this clearly stands out as the best. I must try and get a proper quote!
So, all in all a wonderful start.
The picture below is of the prayer wall. We couldn’t resist using the tall glass windows that look out across the footpaths and open space to the back of the school.