You will need
- Pens or pencils
- Camera or phone
Before you begin
- Let everyone have their say about where they’d like to visit, but try to choose somewhere people don’t usually go, or a place related to a faith they don’t know much about.
- Once you’ve chosen a place, it can take a while to get in contact and arrange a date and time.
- Don’t forget to do your risk assessment, and let parents and carers know all of the details. Why not invite them along on the visit? Between everyone, you may know someone who worships at the place you’re visiting—perhaps they’d like to act as guides.
Visiting the place of worship
- Once everyone’s arrived, split into four groups (there should be an adult with each group).
- The person leading the activity should remind everyone that they need to be respectful in the building. Everyone should think about what this means, and share their suggestions.
- Everyone should go into the place of worship, and use their senses to see how it feels. What can they see and hear? What does it smell like? If you’re allowed to touch anything, how does it feel? Otherwise, what’s the temperature like? Is the ground hard or soft?
- The person leading the activity should give each group the ‘What can you spot?’ sheet, and some pens or pencils. They may give each group a camera or smartphone too, if the people at the place of worship say it’s OK.
- Each group should start with a different set of questions, so it doesn’t get too crowded. They should move around and answer all of the questions.
After the visit
It’s up to you whether you return to your normal meeting place and talk there, or whether you stay at the place of worship and ask parents and carers to collect everyone from there.
- Everyone should gather together in a circle.
- Each group should take it in turns to share their favourite part of the visit, and something they found out that they didn’t know before.
- Everyone should think about how they’d like to thank the place of worship for hosting them. They may decide to send letters, cards, or drawings. The person leading the activity should help everyone decide and create their thank you.
It was important to respect others during your visit. Why are places of worship important for people? They’re a space people can gather together, pray, and celebrate, and they’re also a calm space to reflect. Think about a place that’s really special to you, and how relaxed and happy you feel there. That’s how some people feel about the place they go to worship. How did you show respect and trust for other people, even though some of them probably had different backgrounds and beliefs to you?
This visit also reminded you that you’re a local, national, and international citizen. The people at the place of worship are also local, national, and international citizens. Did they do anything differently to you? Was anything the same? Why is it important that people can go to places of worship if they want to?