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 9 am to 10 am 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.

Lessons for September


October 2 Saint Francis This is the Sunday closest to the celebration of the life of St. Francis. St. Francis’s life is popularly associated with the blessing of animals but we will learn that his life was much larger than that. St. Francis practiced rigid rules of poverty, he loved to sing and wrote poetry, he loved all manner of Gods Creation and considered them to be his brothers and sisters. He has been credited with creating the first recorded living nativity scene to celebrate Christmas.

October 9 Saint Li Tim-Oi, born 1907 in Hong Kong, was to be the first woman ordained to priesthood in the Anglican Communion. Her life is celebrated by the Episcopal church on May 5. She was older than her classmates as her education was secondary to her brothers, she was baptized while in college and took on the Christian name of Florence (in honor of Florence Nightingale) She became a deacon in the church and worked in the church when there was much strife. Japan and Hong Kong were at war and there were many refugees coming to her area (Macao). The war actions made it impossible for ordained priests to come to the area and since she was effectively pastoring a congregation, the bishop took the unprecedented action of ordaining her as a priest in 1944. Her ministry was tested time and again by the communist regime in China.

October 16 Saints Emma and Kamehameha Within a year of ascending the throne of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1855, the twenty-year-old King Kamehameha IV and his bride, Emma Rooke, embarked on the path of altruism and humility for which they have been revered by their people. The year before, native Hawaiians in Honolulu were terribly afflicted by smallpox. The king and queen promptly went about soliciting for funds to build a hospital. Today, Queen’s Hospital is the largest civilian hospital in Hawaii. Emma and Kamehameha are also credited with bringing the Anglican church to Hawaii. King Kamehameha translated the Book of Common prayer into the Hawaiian language.

October 23 Saint Damien Fr. Damien De Veuster was born in Belgium and spent his early adult years working on the family farm. His training in the building arts and the discipline of hard work served him well in his later years. After following a call to the priesthood, Fr. Damien found himself working Hansen’s disease exiles in Hawaii. Under very difficult conditions, Fr. Damien served alongside the patients to improve their living conditions and tend to their spiritual and health needs.

October 30 The Story of All Saints
Today we hear the story of All Saints, in celebration of All Saints Day (the day that follows All Hallows Eve! aka Halloween). In our Episcopal/Anglican tradition, we trust that each of us is a member of the Communion of Saints by virtue of being one of God’s children. We use a mirror to invite the children to remember that God loves each of us just the way we are. And we are called to be our best selves in every day. l Wonder with your children who are the saints they know personally – perhaps you may wish to share people in your life who have been saints to you. Remember the words from the hymn, “You can see them in school or in lanes or at sea … for the saints of God are just folk like me and I aim to be one, too.”

Beth Young

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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