Sanctum at Stanway School – Monday

It’s wonderful to be back at the Stanway School for a second year, running Sanctum in the Learning Resources Centre. After arriving at 7:30 we’d set up by break time, after which we dived in to a busy day of four lessons as well as having students in at lunch time.

What struck us from the first class we saw was how profoundly the students engaged with the activities, even the lower sets. We have only just enough prayer activities for a whole class, but we haven’t had any issues with groups of students bouncing from one thing to the next, and this with only the teacher, myself and Amy to manage the lesson which includes two attended activities.

The encounter that moved us both today was the girl who, having done the Forgiving and Letting Go activities came and sat with Amy at the Character activity, tears flowing down her face. She talked about how she’d been able to let go of some things that she’d been holding in for a long time. As she looked at Character with Amy conversation turned to her beliefs, atheist until something that happened at the weekend, and now the surprising sense of God’s intervention in her life that had arisen from her short time in Sanctum. Later she shared how she felt with the teacher and myself, struggling to put into words what she had experienced, and yet full of joy, as if discovering something for the first time. We left her with an open invitation to come back and chat to us some more if she wanted to; we felt it was really important to allow her time to reflect on what she’d experienced and process for herself what she wants to do next.

While Amy ran the Character activity I was looking after Identity which gets people thinking about how they see themselves and how others see them, including, possibly, God. Once again I was bowled over by the response of people emerging after 3 minutes. It’s almost impossible to put into words the combined impact of a huge smile, confident body language, and a difficulty to articulate exactly why they feel so good about themselves, but, as one person said today, “it helped me realise I can be a strong individual, that I can be confident of who I am.”

We’re looking forward to more tomorrow!


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