What a wondrous year 2014 has been! In this season of Advent, we watch and wait. We take time to look back, to look forward, to get ready and to be grateful.
As we prepare to receive God’s good news of Incarnation, we want to share our good news of Godly Play and to invite your support. Your gifts have trained over 1,000 new story tellers who have wondered with over 6,000 children in circles across the U.S.
Your gifts have enabled training in India, South Africa, and Tanzania, to name a few, as Godly Play spreads across the globe. There have been new books published, digital books introduced, Alzheimer’s programs supported, advanced trainings offered, do-it-yourself materials added, a new website launched and so very much more. Thank you!
As the end of such an encouraging year approaches, we invite you to grow Godly Play’s ministry by making a financial gift that will directly support spiritual development of children and adults. Please donate via our website or by sending a check to the Godly Play Foundation, P.O. Box 3331, Sewanee, TN 37375. The Godly Play Foundation also accepts gifts of marketable securities, please contact us at if you’d like to express your gratitude for Godly Play in this way.
We hope to see you at our 2015 North American Godly Play Conference in Sewanee., TN, beginning July 29th. Our theme is Godly Play Outside the Box, exploring uses of Godly Play outside of the traditional Sunday School classroom. A very special line up of key note speakers include Jerome Berryman, JD, DMIN, DD, DD, Robert C. Whitaker, MD, MPH and Marcia J. Bunge, PHD. See our website for registration details and see you there!
With gratitude for the gift of Godly Play and with gratitude for your gift of support we wish you all an expectant Advent filled with wondering.
The Reverend Dr. Jerome W. Berryman, Founder and Director, Center for the Theology of Childhood
Ms. W. Lee Dickson, President, Board of Directors
Godly Play 2014 Accomplishments and Events
“I wonder if there is anything that can be left out and still have our whole story?” When this question is asked after the telling a sacred story many amazing things are said. Applying it to the Godly Play Foundation’s 2014 story and the answer is “No, nothing can be left out.”
To highlight some of the accomplishments your donations have enabled:
New picture books were published. Jerome W. Berryman’s The Great Family and the Parable of the Good Shepherd are now available in beautiful color booklet format to be taken anywhere. Hint – They make wonderful Christmas gifts and can be ordered at Godly Play Resources.
Training was hugely successful across the globe: 50 active U.S. Godly Play Trainers conducted over 60 Core and Advanced trainings with over 1,000 story tellers beginning and enriching their practice. If each of them have 6 children in their circle, you touched 6,000 children through your generous gifts. Globally an additional 75 Trainers trained in over 12 languages with new programs in India and Latvia among others. Through your gifts the Godly Play International Fund supported the first training in India. In partnership with the India Sunday School Union over 45 new story tellers came to the circle to learn the basics of Godly Play story telling.
Godly Play Resources introduced new products. Prints and do-it-yourself kits target new Godly Play programs and compliment the full U.S. made product line. The “small in numbers”, but “large in impact” Godly Play Resources core team located in Ashland Kansas provides quality story telling products. Their profits support the Godly Play Foundation’s training and operations.
The Godly Play International Council held its annual meeting which was attended by 13 countries actively working to maintain the integrity of Godly Play as it expands across the globe.
A new website was launched (www.godlyplayfoundation.org). This new site provides easy navigation, rich content and up to date US training schedules.
Digital offerings of the Complete Guide to Godly Play were introduced along with a new “Godly Play Digital” page (www.churchpublishing.org). New offerings are planned in the use of the Godly Play method in adult faith formation, in vacation bible schools and in ministry to those with special needs.
To great success, American and European Trainer gatherings were hosted in January and September respectively to great success with rich education and fellowship among these key ministers of Godly Play.
I wonder what 2015 will bring. 2015 and beyond are full of “big work.” To highlight a few:
The North American Godly Play Conference is scheduled for July 29, 2015 to August 1, 2015 in Sewanee, Tennessee. Our theme is Godly Play Outside the Box, and the conference will include a number of workshops featuring use of Godly Play outside the traditional classroom such as in vacation bible school, in work with Alzheimer’s patients, in hospital chaplaincy, , and in parish ministry settings such as confirmation. Our keynote speakers will deepen our work with children via rich topics:
➣ Jerome W. Berryman, JD, DMIN, DD, DD “Children’s Spirituality and the Laughter of Delight”
➣ Robert C. Whitaker MD, MPH “Children’s Spirituality and Health”
➣ Marcia J. Bunge, PHD “Children’s Spirituality in a Global Perspective
Hosted by The Beecken Center at the University of the South and the Godly Play Foundation, this event will provide a wide range of educational offerings along with fellowship and retreat opportunities among your fellow Godly Players.
After great initial success, new U.S. Training offerings for the Godly Play room environment are in pilot phase. Additional offerings are planned. Spanish language training demands are strong, and meeting them is a goal for 2015.
Global growth is amazing, and supporting the established and emerging international programs is a focus area for the Foundation. Through training, trademark registrations, and licensing we look to grow quality Godly Play practice with integrity.
Thank you for reading our ‘there is more to tell’ appendix. We certainly hope you will continue to support the work of Godly Play. If you are a new donor, we hope you will join us in the playful and practical aspects of knowing God through Godly Play.
For your review the Godly Play Foundation’s IRS 990 can be found on our website.
UK Trainer and Godly Play International Council representative Alison Seaman has organized “a one day conference exploring the role of playfulness in dementia care and Godly Play.” The event will be this coming July in London and features guest speaker John Killick, who is “known internationally for his pioneering poetry and creative work with people with dementia.” Conference and registration information is available on the Godly Play UK website.
Godly Play continues to expand internationally with the latest round of trainings in South Africa and India. Below Board Member Andrew Sheldon recounts his journey with fellow Godly Play Canada Trainer, Amy Crawford. Their trip was funded largely by the Foundation’s International Development Fund, which continues to accept donations for missions and projects such as this. A full account of their adventure and more pictures are available on their travel blog.
Sharon Ely Pearson’s wonderful article “What Reaches Children” in The Christian Century surveys the Christian education scene for children and includes findings and empirical commentary on the use and attributes of the Godly Play method.