“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
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 →
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.
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.
“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 →
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 →
As the academic and publishing arm of the Godly Play Foundation, the Center for the Theology of Childhood functions as a research center. It houses a library of over 4,000 books related to Godly Play. Some of the topics includes classical theology, mystical theology, philosophy (especially the existentialists), ethics, child development, Montessori, play, silence, laughter, tears, religious education, and the history of childhood. The archive houses a collection of Jerome Berryman’s publications and important historical documents related to Godly Play and the Foundation. The Center also includes a well-equipped Godly Play room nearby, hosted by St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in South Denver. Children of the parish gather there each Sunday. Continue reading →