THE Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth unveiled a new £60,000 outdoor learning area for children in Rowlands Castle.
The Rt Rev Christopher Foster formally opened the worship circle at St John’s Primary School.
The area is just one part of an outdoor facility at the school, which will ultimately include an outdoor amphitheatre, art traversing wall and learning hut.
The worship circle – which has been named the Garden of Peace by the children – is a quiet reflective area.
It has a plaque at the entrance with the words ‘Peace be with you. Luke 24:36’ carved on to it and gives pupils the chance for spiritual reflection in a natural setting.
Bishop Christopher told the children: ‘The extra thing you’ll have that other schools don’t have is a Garden of Peace. It’s called that because Jesus said to his friends “Peace be with you”.
‘It’s a special place where you can learn to be full of peace, to find space where you don’t have to do anything in particular and just rest and think.
‘If you can learn how to be peaceful here, you can be peaceful, thoughtful and prayerful in other places too, as you go about your daily lives. That’s why we’re dedicating this garden.’
The bishop also took part in an assembly on the theme of peace. It was led by the Rev Trevor Filtness, vicar of St John’s Church in Rowlands Castle.
Children were able to ask the bishop questions about his job and the Christian faith.
The project has been supported by the local church, St John’s, and also by the Anglican Diocese of Portsmouth.
It allocated £3,000 from its mission budget towards the £15,000 project.
The facility also includes a woodland walk, a storytelling tree, an outdoor play stage and classrooms for reception pupils.
Extensive fundraising has been done by the school fundraising committee, led by governor and parent Ruth Butler.
One of the fundraising ideas was a glossy recipe book with recipes from pupils, parents, staff and governors.