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Prayer Group News

Spring Term

2012 - 2013 Posted on Thu, May 30, 2013 19:40:10

SPRING HAS SPRUNG!

At long last the cold and damp weather seems to be behind us and we can look forward to bright sun-filled days (well, one can dream!!!).

Following the Easter break we found ourselves springing into action by planning our event for the forthcoming annual national ‘Pray for Schools’ fortnight. This joint initiative is organised by CARE’s Schools Prayer Network, Churches Together, New Generation, Scripture Union and Youth for Christ, and the vision behind ‘Pray for Schools’ is to make every school in the UK a prayed-for school. Our aim is to let people know that there is a prayer group praying for most of the schools in the Shepperton & Sunbury area, and invite them to come together to support, encourage and pray for all aspects of each school’s life.

Invitations to attend on 17th May between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. were sent out to the Head Teachers of the schools we pray for, our prayer ‘contacts’ in those schools, leaders of our playgroups, ministers of local churches, and those we are linked to in our community – FACT (Faith Awareness Children’s Trust), our local Sure Start Children’s Centre, East to West, the Youth Facilitator at St. Saviour’s Church and our local Police Community Support Officer.

We had 19 people attend during the morning and also join us for lunch. We appreciated that many of the school staff would be unable to attend but wanted them to feel included and be made aware of the special day on which we were praying for them all in their respective schools and playgroups. Various prayer ‘stations’ were set up, enabling folk to either pray individually or in groups.

A great delight was being able to put faces to names, and we felt very privileged to have Ian Smith and Adrian Laws from East to West (www.easttowest.org.uk) share about their work in some of our senior schools. Adrian is currently working in St. Paul’s Catholic College – one of the schools we pray for – so it was particularly interesting to learn of his involvement there.

It was a real joy to welcome Lucy Danbury from the Jubilee Centre in Shepperton. About a year ago, Lucy and others felt led to set up a ‘Café Tuesday’ at the centre which is adjacent to Thamesmead School. God has blessed this work in a fantastic way, with the numbers reaching 100+! The youngsters go straight from school, or from detentions, additional lessons or after school activities for their milk shakes, games and a time with friends. Some of these youngsters are now going to the ‘Wednesday Club’ evening meetings which include a ‘God Spot’ – a time for socialising, as well as providing an opportunity to talk through any issues and find help and guidance. Lucy was excited to tell us about a new monthly venture called ‘Sunday Joint’ which is run by the youth and is helping the young people on their spiritual journey.

We gave a very warm welcome to Natalie Wells who teaches music at St. Nicholas C. of E. School who came straight from a morning’s teaching. We thank God for the wonderful gift of music He has given Natalie and for how He is using her to encourage children to express themselves in music. We wish her well for her forthcoming production next September.

We were greatly encouraged to be joined by several folk from our local churches – Bob Noble, a Deacon at Shepperton Baptist Church, Nick Gray, Minister at Staines Congregational Church, and John Miller, Minister at Staines Baptist Church.

MOVING ON UP!

It is that time of year again when we have great pleasure in donating two Scripture Union publications into our Infant and Junior Schools. This year we will be delivering 210 copies of ‘Get Ready Go’ for the incoming Reception children, and 160 copies of ‘It’s Your Move’ for the current Year 6 pupils as they prepare for their move up to senior school.

HERE WE GO!

Our group are busy preparing for our next visit to Roseacre Playgroup on Friday 21st June. We greatly appreciate the opportunity of sharing with the children and look forward to presenting a Bible story, making craft, and praying for them. Patch, the dog, has become a regular feature of our visits, and, no doubt, he will be making an appearance!

The following fortnight we are planning to hold our prayer meeting at St. Ignatius R.C. Junior School in their beautiful Prayer Garden. We always enjoy our visits as there is definitely something very special about actually praying in a particular school.

For any further information about the Prayer Group, please e-mail Val Edwards, info@schoolsprayersgroup.org.



Winter Term

2012 - 2013 Posted on Sun, January 20, 2013 21:53:35

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A very Happy New Year from all of us in the Shepperton & Sunbury Schools’ Prayer Group.

Before sharing news of events this New Year, here are some updates of events which took place at the end of 2012.

BUBBLES AND BELONGING

During November 2012, an organisation called Orison Prayer Spaces was involved at one of the junior schools we pray for – Saxon – during their Religious Education Curriculum week.

Two of our group members volunteered to help and Sally Kidd shares her experiences.

I had the joy and privilege of helping for the morning at one of the Prayer Days Orison ran at Saxon School. It was wonderful to be part of this interactive spiritual experience, encouraging the children to engage in prayer using creative hands-on experiences in their school.

There were different areas to move around and experience. One area was a relaxation/chill zone in a tent with fairy lights and bean bags, and in the centre of this was a changing colourful bubble tube for the children to write their prayers/concerns/thoughts and stick them on the tube. One little girl said to me “Isn’t it lovely. Like the bubbles, our prayers go up to God but He also comes down to meet us here too.”

During one part of the morning I was supervising the children in one area where there was a large board in the shape of palms of hands with the verse “See I have your name written on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49 verse 19). This reminded the children that although I didn’t know their names, God knows who they are. The children were encouraged to write their names on the board and they were so thrilled to think that God knows them in person, were in awe of Him and had a real sense of belonging and being loved. One boy said to me, “God is not just ‘wow’ but ‘real’ to love me.” Another little girl said quite simply, “I am loved and I belong…. I feel so special. Thank you.”

For more info on Orison Prayer Spaces, click onto their website – www.orisonschools.org.uk

VISIT TO ST. PAUL’S CATHOLIC COLLEGE

At the end of November we had the privilege of holding one of our meetings in the Prayer Room at St. Paul’s, at the invitation of Father Ray Lyons, the Chaplain. There is something very special about actually being in the building of a school we are praying for where we can hear the students as they move about the corridors, actually meet some of them who come into the Prayer Room during break-time, and also have the opportunity of meeting staff. We had a very meaningful time and greatly appreciated Father Ray giving of his precious time to join us for part of the morning. We are grateful to him, also other members of staff who e-mail their prayer requests through to us so faithfully for each fortnightly meeting.

Eileen, Sheila & Sally at St. Paul’s

MANOR MEAD SCHOOL

Our year would never be complete without attending the Nativity Play at Manor Mead School and we are always delighted to receive an invitation. Once again, the children rose to the occasion and astounded us all by their talents and abilities in portraying the Christmas story – well done to everyone.

…..AND HERE WE ARE IN 2013 with some GREAT NEWS!

We were thrilled to learn that East to West in Spelthorne has 3 new team members in 3 new schools – Bishop Wand, St. Paul’s & Thamesmead – all of which are schools we pray for!

These School Relational Support Workers will, during 2013, be supporting 600 young people through some extremely tough situations through one-to-one and group work support. We were shocked to learn that a recent study by the charity Relate, found that in an average class of 30 students, 10 will experience parental separation, 3 will suffer with mental health issues, 8 will suffer physical or sexual abuse and 7 will be exposed to bullying. Goodness, how these youngsters need our prayers and how we thank God for bringing Laura Colegate to St. Paul’s Catholic College, Nick Moeke to Thamesmead School and Rachel Clough to Bishop Wand, to bring ‘hope’ to these young people in our schools who feel they have none. We are very much looking forward to having Andy Burns, the CEO at East to West, joining us at our meeting on 8th March.

For more info on East to West, view their website: www.easttowest.org.uk

ROSEACRE PLAYGROUP

Having had to cancel our Christmas visit to Roseacre due to illness, we were determined to make it on 18th January, despite the heavy snowfall. Our theme couldn’t have been more appropriate – ‘A Journey’ – including a story, entitled ‘A Perfect Day’, all about animals sledging in the snow! Patch the dog (a puppet!), made another welcome visit and continues to be a great hit with the children. The children enjoyed making a Star Card as a reminder that the Wise Men followed the star on their journey to find Jesus, and they also made a Telescope, reminding us that we need to look for Jesus and He will come alongside to help us, just as the Wise Men kept looking at the star for direction. We all thoroughly enjoyed singing songs and saying prayers together. Our theme was further confirmed to be applicable, as the Playgroup are moving premises next month so are indeed going on their own ‘journey’. We wish them well as they prepare for the move and pray that the transition for the staff, children and parents will go smoothly, and they will be happy and blessed in their new ‘home’. No doubt we will be paying them a visit next half-term.

Elspeth reading the story with Sally (& Patch!),Lesley (the ‘Queen of Craft’)

& Eileen who prayed for the children.

MEETINGS

We continue to meet fortnightly on Friday mornings and pray for:

FACT (Faith Awareness Children’s Trust), Shepperton Children’s Centre, Springtime Nursery, Roseacre Playgroup, Chennestone, Littleton, Saxon, St. Ignatius, St. Nicholas and Springfield Junior Schools, Manor Mead School and Bishop Wand, Halliford, St. Paul’s Catholic College, Sunbury Manor & Thamesmead Senior Schools.

For any further information, please e-mail Val Edwards info@schoolsprayergroup.com.



Autumn Term

2012 - 2013 Posted on Sun, November 11, 2012 20:32:17

NEW SCHOOL YEAR 2012/13

September saw us praying particularly for those new to the various schools to settle well – both pupils and staff, as any transition can be difficult and challenging. We have had two new Head Teachers join two of our schools this term (Littleton & St. Nicholas) and are thrilled that they are very pleased to know that their schools are being prayed for. We were greatly encouraged by the comment …”I am sure that our Christian foundation of the school will continue to grow and be strengthened with such support behind us.”

* COFFEE * CAKE * CONTACTS*

At the end of September we were involved in hosting a Macmillan Coffee Morning at which we were delighted to welcome 45-50 people and, including an evening event, raised the amazing total of £770. As well as enjoying meeting friends and making new ones over coffee and cake, we welcomed opportunities to share about the Schools’ Prayer Group. We have been thrilled to have maintained contact with two ladies who have subsequently joined the group, and thank God for ‘adding to our number’ in such a marvellous way.

BEING SPECIAL

This was the theme for our half-term visit to Rosesacre Playgroup in October when the children were treated to a visit by Patch the dog (actually a puppet but don’t tell the children!) – he was a great hit and undoubtedly will make a return visit. The children listened intently to the story, sang the songs with gusto, got suitably sticky whilst icing and decorating biscuits, and very thoughtfully drew and wrote their ‘prayer leaves’ which they placed on the ‘Prayer Tree’ as their individual ‘special person’ was prayed for. Every time we visit the playgroup we have a great time, but this visit was extra special – very meaningful and moving for us all. We can hardly wait for our ‘Christmas’ visit!

ORISON PRAYER SPACES

Orison is an interactive resource for schools, designed to offer pupils a hands-on, multi-sensory experience of prayer in a familiar context. Various kit, including gazebos, mirrors, bubble tube, maps etc., are used to create a ‘prayer space’ in a room in the school. Each class then spends an hour in the room where there is a short introduction about prayer following which the pupils have time to explore the activities and resources for themselves, before getting back together for a short summary at the end. We are very excited to be involved with Orison during 20-22nd November when they visit one of our schools, Saxon County Junior School, and look forward to sharing more about it with you next time.