Author Archives: Jeannie

All We Can Do is Begin

Based on an interview with the Rev. Thomas Blackmon by Sally Thomas

The Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana clergy directory lists the Rev. Thomas Blackmon as retired – but that has not stopped Tom and his wife, Molly Steele, from launching a new vision for Godly Play ministry in Honduras.

Tom Blackmon teaches children in Honduras

I wonder . . .

Tom has been a friend of Jerome Berryman and Godly Play for over thirty years; this June in Denver, he will step down from the Godly Play Foundation Board after 18 years of service. I first met Tom in Sewanee in 1997. Many of us remember with deep appreciation Tom’s phone calls as we were traveling to Core trainings beginning in 1999. They would always start, “I have been praying for you and your circle. I want you to know that.”  Tom is a visionary and dedicated partner in building Godly Play programs. Continue reading

When the Good Shepherd calls your name

There was once someone who said such amazing things and did such wonderful things that people followed him. They couldn’t help it. They wanted to know who he was, so they just had to ask him. 

So begins the beloved Parable of the Good Shepherd in the Godly Play repertoire. As we approach Good Shepherd Sunday, we invite you to come closer. Lean into the circle as the lid comes off the box that is the Godly Play Foundation. I wonder what’s inside?Gold box with green dot, lid slightly ajar.

Once when they asked him who he was, he said “I am the Good Shepherd . . . I know each one of the sheep by name.”  Continue reading

Are you ready to draw the circle wider?

This summer, Godly Play teachers, Trainers, and leaders from around the world will gather June 23-25, 2017, for continuing education, inspiration and fellowship. Continuing a tradition of coming together about every other year, the conference in Denver, Colorado, will include small group workshop rotations and work time. We will also celebrate Godly Play founder Jerome Berryman’s birthday! We hope you will join us.

The Inverness Hotel and Conference Center

The conference will be held at the Inverness Hotel and Conference Center, featuring a large indoor pool, golf course and driving range, on-site spa and fitness center, and many other amenities.

Continue reading

Sacred Space for Godly Play

by Jeannie Babb

light on church pew

Liturgical spaces help us come close to God

Where do you go when you need to pause, ground yourself, and reconnect with the Holy Spirit?

Sometimes I like to slip into an empty church and walk up the aisle, watching where the sun slants through the windows and lightly touching the wood of each pew until I find a place to kneel. I notice how the space feels sacred even when empty of the souls who have invested it with such meaning. A church is a people, not merely a building; yet I find holiness in this very space set aside for worship, as if the wood and stones are saturated with so many prayers from thousands and thousands of services.

Another place I find that sense of reverence is in the Godly Play space. Continue reading

Enclosing a space in which to be open

A book review and interview with Jerome Berryman, author of Becoming Like a Child: The Curiosity of Maturity Beyond the Norm

by Jeannie Babb

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

Becoming Like a Child The Curiosity of Maturity Beyond the Norm by Jerome Berryman

Focusing on a single saying of Jesus, Jerome Berryman’s latest work combines decades of research with a lifetime of practice with lively stories from the Godly Play classroom. It’s the kind of book I want to spend much more time with, before saying anything at all. Yet, I also want to share it with you as soon as possible, because I hope you will read it and share it, and we can discuss it.

Becoming Like a Child (Church Publishing, 2017) is the sort of book I’d like to study in a Sunday class or a seminary class. Although the book is in some ways about Godly Play, it is not exactly a monograph. One need not be familiar with the practice, nor even interested in children’s ministry, to read this book and be led into a deeper understanding of Christianity, of the metaphor from which it takes its name, of human nature, and of oneself. Continue reading