12 April 2012

guest post - Godly Play training 2

This week I'm sharing guest posts by Matthew Loader, a Children and Families Worker from the Peak Methodist Circuit in Derbyshire. Matthew only recently did a three-day training course in Godly Play. Although he'd experienced a "taster day" he was still very new to GP, so I've found it refreshing and even startling to look at Godly Play through his eyes. If you haven't already read part one, you should start here.  

photo taken at Storyteller's training course
The two questions I remember I had at the end of the taster session, therefore going into the training were:
  1. Was Godly Play an experience intended primarily for working with Children? 
  2. Was Godly Play an experience exclusive to a full Godly Play session, or could Godly Play be integrated into other activities, for example after school clubs and Toddler carer groups?
About the Godly Play 3 day training course
As we were welcomed into the Godly Play room on Day 1 of our training I was challenged by the role of the Door Person when I was asked if I were ready. I thought, well am I ready? Then I thought well, sometimes I may be ready and sometimes I may not. Either way it was clear that this experience was preparing me for what I describe as an encounter with God. To this day when I am part of a Godly Play session I always encounter God through the Story, Wondering questions, Response time and I have always been keen on the levels of hospitality shown when food and drink is shared, known here as the feast. It all began with the simple question, are you ready? This led to self-answering my 2nd question. Whether or not it would be possible to have a Godly play room like the one we had our training in, or if you had a mobile facility going into schools or setting up in your church, for me Godly Play would always have to be experienced in its full capacity. I am reminded of John 10:10b “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (NIV). I think my first question was also answered by this point: I had fully encountered God for myself in both the taster session and the opening story on Day 1 of the training. Indeed this would continue on Days 2 and 3; I am sure it will always be the case. So Godly Play is also effective with adults I thought, Maybe this will be something to explore on the Families side of my role.

On day two we had the experience of investigating the Spirituality of Children, a particularly interesting topic for me, firstly as I am a father, and secondly as I am trying to research this as I move from an understanding of young people (post-11) to Children’s work (pre-11). We were provided with many resources, which is extremely useful and I now have my sights on 3 or 4 books to get stuck into. We then moved onto a Godly Play session and one of the Parables. This was something I would grapple with over the remainder of the day and also Day 3. I found it hard engaging with the difference in the role of the Storyteller as some parables began with Wondering and then went into the Story, whereas for me I found it easier with the Sacred stories, to immerse myself in the Story and then Wonder at the end.

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Tomorrow I'll publish part 3, in which Matthew writes about his first experience as a Storyteller, and his Response to the training in terms of plans for the future. 

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