06 May 2014

Godly Play ®

Did you know that the phrase, Godly Play, is a registered trademark?

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to train as a facilitator in a very different sort of activity. I'm not going to say what, because I don't want to distract you. Maybe I'll write a blog post about it in the future. The point right now is that part of my training for this other activity included a very serious talk about the fact that its name was trademarked.

Our trainer went so far as to encourage us to pronounce its name in our heads as ending with the letter R, to remind us that every time we wrote it we should add the ®. We were told that only upon completion of the training would we be allowed to use the name in the titles of our activities. Anyone who hadn't done the training had to say that they were working in the style of this activity (and even then, to add the ®).

(image source)

You know, I don't recall the topic of trademark coming up in my Godly Play® training. But now, having had the lecture, I think perhaps it should have. Partly, it's about giving credit to Jerome W. Berryman (who wrote the Godly Play® scripts and adapted this method of Christian education from the work of Maria Montessori, E.M. Standing, and Sofia Cavelletti along with Gianna Gobbi). But it's also about avoiding misunderstanding, about protecting this work from poor imitations.

I've seen blogs and websites whose authors seem to think that Godly Play® merely means using cute toys to act out Bible stories. I've run across people who assume that it must refer to any playful activity in church. I'll even admit that I've cringed at some practices I've seen by people who are at least using Jerome W. Berryman's scripts, but don't seem to understand the principles behind them. Of course it's a balance. I don't want to scare you off from giving Godly Play a try! But do please seek out a taster day, a training course, Berryman's books, and/or the official Godly Play® You-tube channel before you use the trademarked name.

I hereby announce that I've gone through my blog this week and revised several sections, adding the ® symbol.

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