Author Archives: Jeannie

Do you have Jerome Berryman’s new book?

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

Godly Play founder Jerome Berryman’s newest work, Becoming Like a Child is available at Church Publishing Incorporated (CPI) and other booksellers.

“The quality of Jerome Berryman’s scholarship, insight, and vision about childhood’s theological and spiritual nature is without equal. In this one book, the reader will find rewards and challenges that could not be provided by reading a hundred other books in this field.” — Dr. Rebecca Nye, researcher, consultant, and trainer in the field of children’s spirituality and author of Children’s Spirituality: What It Is and Why It Matters

Berryman includes many stories and examples, offering an accessible overview of Godly Play practice. In this book he also explores the theology and Christian ethos developed through a lifetime of attending to the curiosity of children.

The Mystery of Christmas, the Wonderful Impossible

A Reflection on the Story & an Interview with Jerome Berryman
by Jeannie Babb

The hymn O Come All Ye Faithful is as majestic as it is ubiquitous. For me, it evokes an early childhood memory so visceral that singing the refrain still gives me a shiver.

Wise men or magi adore baby Jesus

“They were late. Every year, they are late! They are adoring the baby.”

I’ve sung this Christmas carol in the plain white-walled space of the Southern Baptist Church in which I was raised, and beneath vaulted ceilings, and in a house church with tambourines. Yet, when I hear those words “O come let us adore him,” I am transported back to the seventies. Continue reading

Living into the Story

with Maureen Hagen

by Jeannie Babb

The Rev. Maureen Hagen

The Rev. Maureen Hagen

“I love living into the Advent story every year. I am currently thinking about the Prophets and what they told us about what it means to listen to God’s word.”

For Maureen Hagen, Director for the Academy for Formation and Mission in the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, listening and living into the story leads to giving. As part of her own spiritual practice, Hagen follows 30 Days of Gratitude in November, with 31 Days of Giving each December.

A Godly Play storyteller since 2003, Hagen says her Godly Play practice informs her approach to Christian formation as a whole, and generosity in particular. Whether teaching, giving, or supporting in other ways, she spends time first in prayer, then listening, wondering, response. Continue reading

Because God Imaged Us

The Story of Godly Play at Christ Church in Statford, CT
by Jeannie Babb

“What are you doing for children?”

This is the question the Rev. Scott Lee asks me when he learns I am the Christian Formation Director of Otey Memorial Parish.

“Godly Play,” I reply simply. Before telling him I also work for the Godly Play Foundation, I want to see what he’ll say about the ministry.

Scott Lee tells the Ten Best Ways

The Ten Best Ways shared with the congregation

At the mention of Godly Play, Lee excitedly tells me how it has changed his church. Christ Church in Stratford, Connecticut, had very limited Christian education opportunities when Lee answered the call to serve as Priest-in-Charge. Only two or three children attended on Sundays, with one faithful mother greeting them each week.

After the death of Blanche Kent, the beloved parishioner’s daughter Lauren wanted to give the church a significant memorial. Thinking of Kent’s love for children, Lee suggested launching a Godly Play program.

He says, “Godly Play is the best the church has to offer for formation for young people. I also knew that it provides deep formation for the storytellers.” Continue reading

All Saints and All Souls

This Holy Family is for You

As we celebrate All Saints and All Souls, I find myself reflecting on the community of holy people whose handiwork brought Godly Play to the parishes of which I have belonged. My previous parish is a small, rural Episcopal church who brought Godly Play to their community some twenty or more years ago. If collective memory is correct, a cohort of lay and ordained traveled to be trained by Jerome Berryman himself as they began the enterprise to share the stories in Young Children and Worship with the children of the parish. Creating the Godly Play space was truly a community effort.

I find myself recalling the woman who created and painted the ceramic nativity set that the children still use. Roberta died several years ago, but her presence and faith lives on in the art that she created for the children. “This Holy Family is for you,” says the Godly Play script. Continue reading