Dear Friends in Christ,
So many of us hear “Godly Play” and we think of our youngest Sunday School class led by Lisa and Betty. Indeed, these wonderful teachers have been using a subset of Godly Play stories with our youngest children. But Godly Play is much more than a preschooler curriculum. Our church has taken the steps to make it the foundation of our entire Sunday School for Ps-5th grade, as well as the Grace School 1st-5th grade religion curriculum.
Why do we love Godly Play?
Godly Play is a collection of object-based stories about God and God’s people. We have over 80 Bible stories, liturgical stories, and stories about people who live the faith. The stories reside together in a room that becomes sacred space. The shelving is oriented in a half-circle so the children themselves complete the circle when they enter the space. With Godly Play, the children see themselves as part of God’s ever unfolding story of love for us.
The Godly Play room is permanent. There are no subscriptions to renew or updates to download. We have everything that we need.
Godly Play requires no electricity. There are no screens or reading. The children receive their lesson by engaging their imaginations when hearing and seeing the story led by the storyteller.
Godly Play stories are for everyone. All ages, including adults, can hear and see the story at the same time. There are no age level designations. This works because we all simply enter the story from wherever we currently are on our faith development journey. In addition, people of all backgrounds can see themselves in the story because, in most cases, specific images are not used. When Jesus and others are specifically depicted in artwork, multiple representations are provided.
Godly Play invites the whole congregation. These stories can be engaged outside of Sunday School for uses such as baptism and acolyte preparation, but the true strength of the program is rooted in parishioners that serve as storytellers. This leads me to two-part invitation:
- Come visit the Godly Play room. It’s in the back part of the current nursery space. A few stories are still backordered, but it’s almost entirely complete.
- Consider joining us a storyteller. As a guild, we will learn stories by heart, support one another, and practice together. As a storyteller, you are not a Sunday School teacher (although you can be if you wish). Your role is simply to tell the story in the Godly Play room on Sunday mornings at 9:40 am. If you are interested, do contact me.
Lastly, you may be wondering what will happen to the nursery? The current nursery will stay in place until September 18. On the 18th, it will open in the newly renovated St. Nicholas room (formerly the Children’s Chapel space). This spacious room is just down the stairs from the back of the Nave, creating easy access for parents of infants and young children. The new Children’s Chapel will be co-located with the Godly Play room, creating a two-section children’s formation center on the second level.
We give thanks to God, and our church, for these new beginnings that will be so life-giving to our congregation and school.
Mother Nina Bacas