What happens when you spend a week with students talking about faith?
Students have been responding to the first two mission weeks in Church of England schools in the Kensington area.
Over the last two weeks, teams of people from various groups and churches across the Diocese of London have been giving their all to a week of activities in Church of England schools that challenge students to think about faith and prayer.
Based on John 10:10, the key message is about “life to the full” and what that looks like in daily life. Young people are given several opportunities to consider their faith and respond, either directly or via a website landing page that will connect them with their schools chaplain. As well as bringing a message of hope and peace to the students in these schools, the mission will provide key learning points about how young people engage with unique presentations of the Gospel in their school context.
Bishop Graham’s message to students in advance of each week was this:
“Whatever you believe at the moment, I encourage you to approach the week with an open mind and heart. Ask us your questions, take part in the activities and I guarantee you’ll learn something new, or even better, discover God. I’m excited to be spending a day at each school during lent, meeting you all and talking about faith together.”
The first week at Chelsea Academy was a strong start. 16 classes of students were given time to explore a prayer space created for them onsite – meaning over 480 students experienced the peace of a prayer room and had the opportunity to try prayer for themselves. Those students also had a lesson looking at the significance of prayer for Christians, with personal stories shared by the team.
Additionally, five other lessons were taught on a mix of subjects, an off-timetable day for year 10s was facilitated, where the team met personally with every student, and a debate was hosted for sixth form students on the existence of God. Assemblies were taken by the missions team that every student attended with a mini gig on the Thursday, performed by local hip hop artists from London City Mission. There were also some excellent opportunities to minister to staff throughout the week.
Ark Burlington Danes Academy
Last week, the lessons on prayer and the chapel prayer space was repeated, with around 350 students during lessons and lunch time. There were opportunities to take much smaller groups of students into the prayer space and have one-to-one time with them. The team also taught maths and biology lessons on the probability and the nature of God.
Bishop Graham visited on Monday and bravely faced 40 teenagers asking any questions they wanted to in “Quiz the Bishop!” which was thoroughly enjoyed.
Rapper Vital Signs from The Message Trust performed on Thursday afternoon for around 400 students and 12 young people responded during the concert, wanting to know more about the Christian faith. They are involved in the Mission as part of their partnership with the Christ Church W4 Youth Minster.
Mary Kok, Kensington Area Youth & Schools Chaplain, said:
“Thank you for all your prayers over the last week of the schools mission at Burlington Danes. It was a fantastic week – the snow made it even more exciting for the students and a special time to remember. The team managed to make it every day, despite the snow – with some very long journeys! So thank you to each of the team members for that, and thank God for getting us all to and from school safely.”
What to pray for
Please pray that:
● Students approach the week with an open mind and heart, are bold in asking questions and engage with the activities for themselves without distraction.
● Students who are already Christians are bold in expressing their faith and able to be a light to their friends.
● Bishop Graham and the missions team connect easily with students and are able to guide conversations towards decisive moments.
● The chaplains experience a fresh influx of faith-curious students and are able to support them and the staff at each school.
● Bridges with local youth groups are strengthened and youth choose to connect with their local church communities.
This week, the LIVELIFE mission team are at Lady Margaret School with Bishop Graham visiting on Monday. The full schedule is as follows:
● 19 Feb – Chelsea Academy
● 26 Feb – Ark Burlington Danes Academy
● 5 Mar – Lady Margaret School
● 19 Mar – The Green School for Girls & The Green School for Boys
● 26 Mar – Bishop Wand
Anyone can follow events on the missions through the LIVELIFE accounts on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram or by searching the hashtag #LiveLife1010.
About the project
Capital Youth is a focused investment to double the number of young people engaging in Christian communities across our Diocese, from 2,000 to 4,000. One of the key focuses is trying new and unique mission approaches to reaching young people not currently engaged in church.