13 April 2012

guest post - Godly Play training 3

My guest this week is Matthew, a Children and Families worker from Derbyshire who is writing about his Godly Play training course. I’ll briefly summarize some highlights of what he’s already said, but here also are links to his part 1 and part 2.

Matthew was introduced to Godly Play when he saw a Sacred Story told within a child’s celebration service. That inspired him to organise a taster session for his Methodist Circuit, which in turn led to him signing up for the next available training course. The Godly Play training courses are three days long. Matthew wrote about being particularly challenged on Day 1 by the Door Person’s question, “Are you ready?” On Day 2 and right into Day 3 he was grappling with the differences between story “genres” in Godly Play. Being used to immersing himself in a Sacred Story and then Wondering afterwards, he was disconcerted to find that Parables have Wondering both at their beginnings and at their ends.

Here’s his Part 3:

By now I had more questions popping off in my head, Why are only certain stories covered? Why are they categorised into Sacred stories, Parables and Liturgical messages? Would I be able to write my own material one day? I learned in Day 3 that whilst these were valid questions, they were ones that were not necessary to explore at this point in my experience of Godly Play. It was clear to me that Godly Play had been thoroughly and thoughtfully prepared and put together.

World Communion (photo from Storyteller's training course)
A brief note on my first experience of storytelling … so far! As it was with Days 1 and 2, we spent the afternoons trying out the stories for ourselves. I chose to do a Liturgical message and it was the Good Shepherd and World Communion. Now I love Liturgy and I love Communion and what it represents, further I love the message of the Good Shepherd leading his people to Good Pasture, so it was no problem to get into the story. I was glad of the experience, however I need more opportunities to learn the scripts and get better at learning the actions that go along with them. In the morning I remembered the actions exactly as they were, but when it was time to present the words and actions in the environment I got rather nervous. I am sure it will get better with experience.

Godly Play going forwards

There are a few ideas the folk in the circuit and I have to see Godly Play as part of the Children’s work. They include
  • having a Godly Play session monthly instead of Sunday school, 
  • building up the stories to have as a mobile capacity for Godly Play, 
  • perhaps the biggest of my dreams is to see a full Godly Play room in the circuit. 
I believe nothing is impossible with God, but prayer will be needed for full appreciation of the theology and values behind Godly Play in order for it to be wholeheartedly adopted. I have also reflected on using the principles, values etc. of Godly Play in some of the other areas of my practice. 

For example I have adopted the attitude of self-reflection when leading Collective Worship, and in two of the after-school clubs we are working on the Welcoming aspect to the Children, but also incorporating their parents around times of dropping off and picking up. One thing is clear for me is that I have more and more questions that will only be answered by continuing this spiritual journey with Godly Play. I intend on joining a network, where those exploring Godly play get together and experience a story and share our journeys with Godly Play.

Matthew Loader
Exploring the Sacred Story shelves
(photo from Storyteller's training course)
Children and Families Worker
Peak Methodist Circuit
Tel: 07940849819
blog: Reflections of a Practitioner

Matthew, thanks very much! This has sparked memories of my own training experience, when everything was so new - both exciting and confusing. I hope it may also encourage others to attend taster sessions or full training courses. A training course introduces all the genres of Godly Play and gives everyone an opportunity to present a lesson, as well as to experience at least one complete Godly Play session with experienced leaders. For me, it was as much a retreat as a training event. I highly recommend it!

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