Godly Play - Ages 4-10
Godly Play is for ages 4-10. Engaging lessons make use of hands-on materials to teach the Scripture.
The following description of Godly Play is taken from Anne Conover's June 7th address to the congregation on Youth Sunday, 2015.
"In the spring of 2012, along with Melinda Rader, Kristy Kiper, Elizabeth Henry, and Corinne Stover, I attended a training session to learn about Godly Play. We thought we were there to find out how Godly Play worked and then to decide if we wanted to bring it to St. Michael’s. It turned out to be a weekend when we were all plunged into experiencing the wonder and mystery of God’s presence through our Sacred Stories, the Parables of Jesus, and our Liturgical Traditions.
Now, with the addition of Anne Warmington, Marjie Blevins, Barbara Black, Louise Stover, and Susan Caldwell, we are finishing up our third year of Godly Play in the Yellow Room with children 4 to 10 years old. The lessons form a circular curriculum, where most of the stories are retold every year, just as we re-read the same sections of the Bible during our worship service. In fact, Godly Play mirrors our worship service in every way. You may have read that every week there is a doorkeeper and a storyteller. The Doorkeeper greets each child by name, welcoming the child by name, asking if the child is ready to come in and ushering the child into the sacred space. The Storyteller heads a circle on the floor, surrounded by the children and gives the lesson. The lesson is followed by the children’s work time. And the gathering concludes with a feast, a blessing, and a handshake.
It is a great privilege to retell the stories to children one year after another; to provide them a time and place to seek God’s presence and witness their spiritual growth as we get to know each other better and deeper. When the littlest ones hear about Abraham and Sarah they wonder how there was a woman named Sarah so long, long ago and a girl named Sarah at school too! A little older and they marvel at the journey through the desert. By 9 or 10 the building of the altars to mark the places God came close catches them. And all ages are shocked and saddened and eyes are moist when old Sarah dies and is buried in a cave near the Oaks at Mamre.
We mark the year with a wall hanging calendar that displays the liturgical year with appropriately colored blocks to create the Circle of the Church Year. If you look at the children’s bulletin board in Michael’s Room, you might notice that the activities and artifacts for Godly Play are arranged in the same circle. This year’s is almost complete, waiting only for the Youth Sunday bulletin cover and this summer’s Vacation Bible School to finish it. Next September we will start a new circle of stories and experiences together. Some of our older friends will move next door to the Green Room and Formation and some of our youngest friends from the nursery will join us in the Yellow Room and the Godly Play Circle. We will revisit our stories and commence our wondering again.
We Storytellers and Doorkeepers have the great blessing and joy of being as much guided by the children as by guiding them in seeking the elusive presence and mystery of God."