Two Year 10 pupils at St Joseph’s Catholic and Anglican High School in Wrexham, worked with their teacher and a school chaplain to produce a popular prayer resource that’s helping younger pupils develop skills in becoming still and centred in the school chapel.
The two pupils (both called James) were working with their teacher, Josephine Tompkins, in a Key Skills class. They had learned to make multi-coloured bracelets from wool, using a cardboard wheel and produced an illustrated instruction pack to teach this skill to other people.
The boys asked one of the chaplains at school to “road test” their instructions. They showed Rev’d Mary Stallard how to make the plaiting wheel and then use this to make a bracelet. Rev’d Mary loved the idea and asked the boys if they would adapt their instructions to create a prayer resource. The boys thought this was a really good idea and immediately came up with a few simple additions to their instruction pack, which extend the use of the plaiting wheel. They called this a “Prayer Plaiting Wheel.”
Once the cardboard wheel is made and long strands of wool have been cut and put in place, the work of plaiting is a simple task of counting to three and moving strands. The boys suggested that instead on counting “one, two, three” people could make the movements prayerful. They suggested saying:
“God loves me”, “Father, Son, Spirit” or “God Bless ….. (me or the name of whoever you want to pray for)” or you could think of three qualities or faith/Gospel values such as Love, Joy, Peace..
The plaiting wheels have been a popular part of lunch-time prayer in chapel, they are great for helping people to be calm and deal with stress, and they have even been used outside school, at a Church in Wales conference for the whole of the Province.
The boys are really proud of the resource they developed:
James Griffiths said “We came up with the idea and we thought it was great to use bits of cardboard from packaging, because that’s recycling, instead of just chucking it away….I think the prayer resource is a very good thing to use, it will interest people, you can do a beautiful design and you choose the colours. It’s a beautiful thing to do.”
“You can pray with it, it makes a good gift. My Granddad gave me something of his, before he passed away. I like the idea of making something to pass on to someone else” James Lincoln added.
From a teacher / chaplain’s point of view this has been a wonderful project, and it seems to work well with people of all different ages. It’s so simple to make, and the end product – the bracelet – is really pretty, each one is different depending on the colours used.
This has been a most creative and helpful project. Maybe the boys have started a trend for the “next big thing” to rival the omni-present Loom Bands!
Mary Stallard, Anglican Chaplain, St Joseph’s Catholic and Anglican High School, Wrexham and Director of Faith Development, St Giles’ RE and Faith Development Centre.
If you’d like a copy of James and James’ instructions on making a Prayer Plaiting Wheel please contact Rev’d Mary Stallard at email@example.com