Children’s Formation

Godly Play – The Children’s Gathering on the Square

Sundays, 9:15 – 9:55 am
The Loft at St. Peter’s Church

Godly Play 2015

The Children’s Gathering on the Square meets in rooms at the back of St Peter’s Parish Hall from approximately 9am to 10am on Sunday mornings.  The Godly Play program takes place in “The Loft” and is appropriate for children who are curious about the bible stories that they hear in church, enrolled in pre-school through the 4th grade of school.  Children in grades 5 and up are invited to participate in The Rock program located below in “Son Room.”  Older children are welcome to assist as teachers’ aides with either group.The Children’s Gathering on the Square meets in rooms at the back of St Peter’s Parish Hall from approximately 9am to 10am on Sunday mornings. The Godly Play program takes place in “The Loft” and is appropriate for children who are curious about the bible stories that they hear in church, enrolled in pre-school through the 4th grade of school. Children in grades 5 and up are invited to participate in The Rock program located below in “Son Room.” Older children are welcome to assist as teachers’ aides with either group.

November
13 Ten Best Ways
Today we will hear the story of the 10 Best Ways to Live. We will consider that some of these
“ways” can be hard to remember all the time, but God asks us to try. The first four are about how
to Love God while the last six are ways to help people love one another. The middle one,
Remember the Sabbath, is a bridge between Loving God and Loving People, isn’t it?

20 Work Day
Even though we wish it was always true, we seldom have all the time we need for the response
time or “Work Time” in Godly Play. This week we have a “Work Day” (which is a scheduled
Sunday every 6 weeks or so) so that we can take all the time we need and just work. In lieu of a
story, the children are encouraged to enjoy an art project or story for a good, long time…. Ask
your child what they did today… then ask them how they chose to use their time.

27 Advent 1: the Prophets
We will change the colors on the altar on the loft today. The color for this season called Advent
is dark blue. The blue can represent the cool waters of baptism or could be dark and peaceful
like the sky of night, waiting to be painted with stars. On this first Sunday of Advent, we
remember the prophets who pointed to Bethlehem. The prophets knew something special was
going to happen there. They were not clear what it was, but they told the people to “Pay
Attention”, for something amazing was to happen in the City of David.

 

Beth Young

bethcasper@aol.com
808-236-2333

An In-Depth Look at Godly Play

Godly Play is based on the teachings and writings of Jerome W. Berryman, including Godly Play: An Imaginative Approach to Religious Education and other works.

Among the subjects at the training are the four genres of Godly Play language:

  • the Language of the Sacred Story, usually three-dimensional, in which God is the main character and the People of God encounter God’s “elusive presence”;
  • the Language of the Parable, generally two-dimensional, “supporting the timeless quality of Jesus’ words to us”;
  • the Language of the Liturgical Action story, usually both two- and three-dimensional, “supporting a deeper understanding of the liturgical focus.” Liturgy “helps express inner and outer existential realities in a way that allows others to participate”; and
  • the Language of Silence, which is assumed to be full, rather than empty.

Each language genre teaches us something about children and their faith journey. In the Language of the Sacred Story, “we understand that children have already experienced the mystery of God. What they need is an appropriate language by which to identify, name, value and express in community what such an event means.”

The “very different and curious kind of communication of the Language of the Parable gives us the “best approximation of the voice of Jesus,” which children need to hear during their language formation.*  In the Language of Liturgical Action, we learn that “Children need meaning and companions to share their faith journey. Like any art, to learn to worship, one must worship.” The Liturgical Action Lessons help show us how.The Language of Silence is especially important in a world in which children (and adults, I believe) “have a growing inability to listen.” Beyond being silent, children need “stillness (from within) . . . if they are going to learn.”

There is a theology to the Godly Play room. It is a sacred space, set up carefully for children, the way the church sanctuary is set up. (Children in the Episcopal Church, we learned, are entitled to equal money, space and time as the adults.) The core story is that of the Holy Family:  “God so loved the world he sent the Christ Child to us as a human, always with his arms outstretched, ready to give us a hug.” Godly Play provides the tools for children’s journeys of faith: its space is inviting, and creates mystery and wonder. We are visually reminded it is a holy space. It invites touching things, yet it is clear there is something reverential about them. It is a quiet space that facilitates prayer and contemplation.

Godly Play can be a trans-formative experience for everyone involved, whatever their ages. We are lucky to have this program in partnership with St. Peter’s as the foundation of our Children’s Ministries at The Cathedral of St. Andrew.
*Source: Godly Play Core Training material

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