Church volunteers create school prayer garden in Sussex school
When the local school asked their local church for a prayer garden, the church responded in a very practical, useful and loving way. Fifteen volunteers from Chanctonbury Church in Ashington gathered together to create a prayer garden for the pupils and staff at St Mary's Washington.
Saturday April 29 was the church's fifth Mission Day in the past few years, when the Head of Community Outreach, Nick Taylor, gathered volunteers from the church to serve the community in practical ways. In the past, the teams have mown lawns, picked litter, weeded pavements, cleaned houses and even bus shelters! Fuelled by a desire to make Jesus known through acts of kindness, the team included families with young children, couples, singles and senior citizens, all keen to demonstrate one of the church's key values; 'People are Precious'.
This time, there was some work to do in advance, and some of the team chopped up some wood to create stumps as seats for the children and others ordered all the equipment needed to transform the space. On the day, there were people doing everything from assembling the garden arch, to banging in the borders that formed the edge of the prayer space and everything in between. Some of the team painted the prayer shed the colours of the school, which the children had named their 'Happy Holy Lighthouse'.
The work took four hours, and the team were very proud of their efforts! The school have since responded with the head, Keeley Houston saying, "I just wanted to say how extremely grateful we are to you and everyone from the church who helped on Mission Day. The area is spectacular and we are very, very grateful."
The Deputy Head, Sarah Cox said: "The prayer garden is amazing and the children have been commenting all day about wanting to use it and the gardening club will be happy to water the willow arch. Thank you so much for creating a wonderful outdoor space for the children."
Nick Taylor said, "It is a privilege to support our local schools in this way. The staff work so hard and to be able to create a sanctuary of peace and reflection for the children to spend time talking with Jesus is a blessing to us as much as them."
Nick is part of a team at Chanctonbury Church that delivers cake to the staff teams at St Mary's and Ashington School weekly, and delivers gospel-focussed, God-inspired assemblies and termly or annual opportunities for pupils and staff to engage with prayer spaces. "Building great relationships with the local schools is at the heart of what we believe God wants us to do in this area" said Nick. "We have a vision of children and teachers worshipping while they work and we want to partner with how God wants to bless the schools."
If you live in Ashington, Washington or Wiston and would like to know more about the next Chanctonbury Mission Day, please email [email protected].