Sowerby Methodist Church
‘You are a Christian today because someone cared. Now it’s your turn.’
Godly Play next Sunday” , I remind the children. “Yeah, cool” is one response, “Why don’t we have it every week?”. And I feel that my enthusiasm in this imaginative and creative approach to working with children is justified.
There are four key aspects to Godly play. Gathering and Getting Ready. Children are greeted by name and invited to join the story-tellers circle, and prepare to listen.
Word and Response. Here the storyteller uses beautiful objects and artifacts entering into the story in a very focused and deliberate way - contradicting all my previous teaching guidance where “eye contact” was paramount! But it works wonderfully and even the usually more restless and agitated children seem to be captivated by this quieter more contemplative approach. The Wondering Questions follow the story enabling the children to do just that, “wonder” with no right or wrong answers. Because of this they become confident in expressing what they really think and feel, rather than an adult telling them. This is followed by a response time where individual work can be done using a variety of craft materials. “I really like being able to choose what I want to do”, said Charlie (13yrs)
Thanksgiving. This is the feast at the end of the session when there is a simple sharing of a drink and biscuit . Prayer requests, news and chatter usually accompany the feast. Eleanor( 12yrs) said “ Its better on Godly Play Sundays because we all finish together at the feast”.
Sending Forth. Following a blessing each child in turn leaves the circle having being thanked for their work.
At Sowerby we use Godly Play on the first and third Sunday of each month. All children aged 5yrs - 13yrs are invited. They do not go into church first (as on usual Junior Church Sundays) as we need the full hour. Normally the children would be divided by age into groups but on Godly Play Sundays they all stay together and it has worked very well. Emma (11yrs) said “Godly Play is really good, and much better than normal Junior Church Sundays”.
And I for one have got to agree!
The best way to learn about the value of Godly Play is to experience it. Details of introductory courses can be found on the UK web site www.godlyplay.org.uk.
Written by Jeanette Daly, Junior Church leader
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