Today was another busy day with many students choosing to take part. The morning is slow up about 10:30 – students are either in lessons or not yet in college, so there’s a quietness about the concourse which gives us time to make sure everything is set up and to brief new team members as they arrive.
Being at the Sixth Form College in many ways brings Sanctum back to it’s roots as a purely voluntary activity. With no lessons, the only way students are going to get involved is by choosing to do so. Some come up boldly and ask to take part, some pause inquisitively as they walk past and only need a cheerful invitation to get involved. The more ‘open’ layout of this year’s set up (see last year) seems to be generating more interest as does the perception of a less overtly ‘religious’ agenda. One student I spoke to yesterday said he enjoyed it because it was “… not as religious as last year, which is a good thing”. Although there are references to the Bible in a couple of the activities we are allowing the spiritual connection to come out in conversations with the team.
In a deliberate policy we’ve created more activities which require more interaction with members of the Sanctum team. One of the new ones is “Priorities” in which people are asked to choose their top six out of 34 life values written on wooden blocks and then arrange them into a pyramid in order of priority, the most important one at the top. This has generated some very positive responses and some profound reflection. I’m often surprised by the way students are surprised at the values they choose, as if they hadn’t realised previously what motivates them. One I spoke to who made a strongly materialistic choice had “a job I enjoy” and “a big salary” but had included between them “compassion” which he had not really expected, but in conversation it made him realise that although a high paying job (probably in the finance sector) was important to him, he wanted to ensure that also reflected care as he likes to be there for people.
One well presented girl chose “physical attractiveness”, but was shocked that of her 6 out of 34 values this was so important to her. A moment of revelation.
But in among all the many conversations about life, priorities and God, one comment stood out for us as typical of many when a student said with gratitude to one of the team “I’m so glad you were here today”.