Godly Play Outside the Box

2015 North American Godly Play Conference

July 29 – August 1, 2015
Sewanee, Tennessee

Keynote Speakers
For Your Visit

Godly Play Outside the Box

1978 with Cavalletti at Houston CourseMore than fifty years ago, Jerome Berryman began thinking outside the box when considering the best way to prepare children for a life of faith. What if children are not empty vessels and blank slates to be filled with information about God and the Christian faith? What if children are like parables, filled with mystery and wonder, being readied to speak a word of grace to a world of longing? What if children are, in fact, sacraments—the very embodiment of the faith? Indeed, what if we are all invited to be like children, to come and play outside the box?

This radical thinking became the foundation for a worldwide movement: the Godly Play method of spiritual guidance and practice. For more than forty years, a growing community of Godly Players has been gathering in circles to play with boxes, to tell the stories of the Bible, and to wonder together. We discover how to be with children, and we encounter the child within. It is in our DNA to think and play outside the box. It is in our nature to wonder where the Spirit might lead us into the future. IMG_8511 - credit Luke Roberts

This adventure continues to pull us forward, drawing us out of ourselves and into a larger realm; Godly Play is flourishing outside the box! Godly Play is in hospitals and nursing homes, in homes and orphanages, in Education for Ministry groups and spiritual direction sessions. Quakers from Cuba and Christians from India have gathered and played—Jewish circles in Boston are nurturing Torah Play. Come explore where Godly Play has been and imagine where it will take us in the future.

Godly Play provokes us to consider new settings and new opportunities to invite others to wonder. Not only are we inviting you to come and see new ways of adapting Godly Play outside the box of traditional church settings, but also to share your own experiences. Come and play with us.

The Very Rev. Rebecca L. McClain
Vice President, Godly Play Foundation Board of Directors

Our Hosts

sewanee all saints frontThe Beecken Center of The School of Theology at the University of the South has graciously agreed to host our 2015 North American Conference. A leader in Christian formation, The Beecken Center houses highly acclaimed programs such as Education for Ministry (EfM), founded in 1975, and the Lilly Grant endowed Living in the Green program.


Like a Godly Play session, the conference schedule has been designed intentionally to offer times of silence, the opportunity for a walk out to the cross or around campus or embark on a more rigorous hike, and the space to connect with others in the conference circle. Also look for Affinity Group sign ups–self-directed times and places for gatherings focused on a particular aspect of Godly Play! I wonder what your work will be . . . ?

Wednesday, July 29th
4:30p – 6:00p Registration and Reception
6:00p – 6:30p Welcome
6:30p – 8:30p Keynote Speaker The Rev. Dr. Jerome Berryman, “Children’s Spirituality and the Laughter of Delight”

Thursday, July 30th
7:00a – 8:00a Optional Breakfast (separate registration)
8:00a – 8:45a Godly Play Session
8:45a – 9:00a Break
9:00a – 10:00a Workshops
10:00a – 10:15a Break
10:15a – 11:15a Workshops
11:15a – 11:30a Break
11:30a – 12:30p Workshops
12:30p – 1:00p Boxed Lunches Available
Afternoon Work Time
3:00p – 5:00p Keynote Speaker Dr. Robert Whitaker “Children’s Spirituality and Health”
5:00p – 6:00p Reception
[6:30p – 9:00p Gathering for International Godly Play Trainers]

Friday, July 31st
7:00a – 8:00a Optional Breakfast (separate registration)
8:00a – 8:45a Godly Play Session
8:45a – 9:00a Break
9:00a – 10:00a Workshops
10:00a – 10:15a Break
10:15a – 11:15a Workshops
11:15a – 11:30a Break
11:30a – 12:30p Workshops
12:30p – 1:00p Boxed Lunches Available
Afternoon Work Time
3:00p – 5:00p Keynote Speaker Professor Marcia Bunge, “Children’s Spirituality in a Global Perspective”
Evening Break
6:30p – 9:00p Banquet Supper

Saturday, August 1st
7:00a – 8:00a Optional Breakfast (separate registration)
8:00a – 9:00a Book Sales + Signing
9:15 – 10:15a Godly Play Resources Presentation
10:30a – 12:00p Worship & Mutual Blessings

Keynote Speakers

marciaMarcia J. Bunge, PHD
Professor of Religion
Bernhardson Distinguished Chair of Lutheran Studies
Department of Religion
Gustavus Adolphus College
Saint Peter, Minnesota

Professor Bunge is widely recognized as the leading voice in the area of the religious understandings of children and childhood. Her books include The Child in Christian Thought (Eerdmans 2001), The Child in the Bible (Eerdmans 2008); Children and Childhood in World Religions: Primary Sources and Texts (Rutgers 2009); Children, Adults, and Shared Responsibilities: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives (Cambridge University Press 2012).

bio-whitakerRobert C. Whitaker, MD, MPH
Professor of Public Health and Pediatrics
Temple University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Dr. Whitaker is a pediatrician who teaches at Temple University School of Medicine. He is widely respected as a pediatrician and for his work in public health, but more recently he has become recognized for his interest in children’s spirituality and health. He is the author of numerous articles and director of important studies in medicine and public health.

JeromeJerome W. Berryman MDIV, JD, DMIN, DD, DD
Senior Fellow, Center for the Theology of Childhood
Denver, Colorado

The Rev. Dr. Berryman is an Episcopal Priest and the founder of Godly Play. His publications include Life Maps: Conversations on the Journey of Faith with James W. Fowler and Sam Keen (1978, second edition 1985); Young Children and Worship with Sonja M. Stewart (Westminister/John Knox, 1989); Godly Play: A Way of Religious Education (HarperSanFrancisco, 1991); The Complete Guide to Godly Play in 8 volumes (Morehouse Education Resources, 2002-2012); Teaching Godly Play: How to Mentor the Spiritual Development of Children (Morehouse Education Resources 2009); Children and the Theologians: Clearing the Way for Grace (Morehouse Publishing, 2009); The Search for a Theology of Childhood: Essays by Jerome W. Berryman from 1978-2009, edited by Brendan Hyde (Connor Court Publishing, 2013), The Spiritual Guidance of Children: Montessori, Godly Play, and the Future (Morehouse Publishing, 2013).


Thursday and Friday mornings will feature a series of workshops. Full Conference attendees will choose which workshops to attend at the time of the workshops based on availability as participants find their morning work.

Workshop Schedule

Thursday, July 30th 8:00a
Parable of the Good Shepherd in Swahili – Vithalis Sunzu – The Pit (Hargrove)
Parable of the Deep Well in Finnish – Tuula Valkonen – COTA (chapel)

Thursday, July 30th 9:00a
Graceful Nurture: Faith Formation for Adults Ready to Be Born Again – Rebecca McClain – HH 234
The Art of Facilitating: EfM Practice Informing Godly Play – Elsa Bakkum – HH 239
A Family Pathway to Children’s Spirituality – Julie Pomerleau – HH 240
Torah Play: A Jewish Approach to the Godly Play Method – Michael Shire – The Pit (Hargrove)
Baptismal Preparation with Godly Play – Kim McPherson – Lower Cravens

Thursday, July 30th 10:15a
Balancing the Spiral: Coordinating Godly Play – Mary Hunter Rouse – HH 234
The Art of Facilitating: EfM Practice Informing Godly Play – Elsa Bakkum – HH 239
Godly Play Congregation – Andrew Sheldon – HH 240
Expanded Wondering: Offering Mature Circles More – Kay Flores + Zoe Cole – The Pit (Hargrove)
Deep Talk: An Honoring of Godly Play – Tuula Valkonen – Lower Cravens

Thursday, July 30th 11:30a
All the Time We Need: Godly Play VBS – Christen Erskine – HH 223
Graceful Nurture: Faith Formation for Adults Ready to Be Born Again – Rebecca McClain – HH 234
Godly Play Congregation – Andrew Sheldon – HH 240
Baptismal Preparation with Godly Play – Kim McPherson – Lower Cravens
Nurturing Children’s Spirituality: 6 General Principles – Cheryl Minor – COTA (Chapel)

Friday, July 31st 8:00a
Second Creation: “The Falling Apart” in Spanish – Toni Daniels – The Pit (Hargrove)
The Great Family in Norwegian – Rune Oytese – COTA (chapel)

Friday, July 31st 9:00a
Expressing Purpose + Meaning: Godly Play with Patients – Ryan Campbell – HH 223
Graceful Nurture: Faith Formation for Adults Ready to Be Born Again – Rebecca McClain – HH 234
Faith + Play: The Godly Play Journey Among Quaker Friends – Sita Diehl – HH 239
Godly Play Congregation – Andrew Sheldon – HH 240
Torah Play: A Jewish Approach to the Godly Play Method – Michael Shire – The Pit (Hargrove)

Friday, July 31st 10:15a
All the Time We Need: Godly Play VBS – Christen Erskine – HH 223
Faith + Play: The Godly Play Journey Among Quaker Friends – Sita Diehl – HH 239
A Family Pathway to Children’s Spirituality – Julie Pomerleau- HH 240
Expanded Wondering: Offering Mature Circles More – Kay Flores + Zoe Cole – The Pit (Hargrove)
Deep Talk: An Honoring of Godly Play – Tuula Valkonen – Lower Cravens

Friday, July 31st 11:30a
Expressing Purpose + Meaning: Godly Play with Patients – Ryan Campbell – HH 223
Balancing the Spiral: Coordinating Godly Play – Mary Hunter Rouse – HH 234
The Art of Facilitating: EfM Practice Informing Godly Play – Elsa Bakkum – HH 239
Expanded Wondering: Offering Mature Circles More – Kay Flores + Zoe Cole – The Pit (Hargrove)
Nurturing Children’s Spirituality: 6 General Principles – Cheryl Minor – COTA (chapel)

Affinity Group Conversations will be held in the Reading Room (HH 111) and the Comfy Chair Room (HH 238).

Workshop Descriptions

All the Time We Need: Godly Play VBS
Ms. Christen Erskine, Godly Play US Trainer, Director for Children’s Formation at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, GA

Vacation Bible School offers the gift of time; faith formation over multiple days. Learn how important this time can be. We’ll review Maria Montessori’s research and findings on the three hour work cycle and the increased depth of learning. Come see how the structure of a Godly Play session can successfully work for Vacation Bible School or a camp offering. Considerations for VBS programs of various sizes will be presented. Themes, time tables, special materials, and other considerations will be discussed so one can begin to plan next year’s VBS!

Balancing the Spiral: Coordinating Godly Play
Canon Mary Hunter Rouse
, Visiting Instructor for Christian Education at The School of Theology at The University of the South, Canon for Education at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, GA.

Oversight of multiple Godly Play rooms for children from three through twelve years of age supports the spiritual growth of children in a faith community. Supporting leaders, coordinating story schedules, and making space for discovery learning are keys to balancing the spiral curriculum of Godly Play. Together we will explore the practicalities of children journeying through the complete spiral of stories over several years.

The Art of Facilitating: EfM Practice Informing Godly Play
Ms. Elsa Bakkum, Education for Ministry (EfM) Assistant Director of Training in Sewanee, TN

Group or Community Formation is central to the effective functioning of small groups that hope to accomplish a task and/or to support one another. In this experiential workshop we will focus on elements that we in EfM have learned contribute to forming meaningful small groups. In addition, we will consider together the role, skills and competencies of facilitators in guiding rich conversations and compare and contrast the worlds of EfM and Godly Play.

Baptismal Preparation with Godly Play
Ms. Kim McPherson, Godly Play US Trainer, Director of Religious Education at St. John’s Cathedral in Denver, CO

Parents often come to us knowing something of God but little about what Baptism means! This is a way to introduce them to Godly Play using the Baptism story, seeing and referencing other stories and naming their own deepest hopes for their child. As many of us have discovered when presenting these stories to adults, their hearts and minds are opened to God in this new way.

Session attendees will experience the Baptism Preparation as it is presented to parents and Godparents (at Saint John’s in Denver), followed by conversation about how this works and what might work in other congregations. We have found that this preparation often solidifies parents’ decision to bring their child to the Cathedral, and that adults find meaning and new insights that often trigger a return to their spiritual journey.

Deep Talk: An Honoring of Godly Play
Ms. Tuula Valkonen, Deep Talk Trainer, Godly Play Finland Trainer

A brief introduction about Deep Talk; its history, theory, and practice in schools, companies, communities, and government studies. Hear from Tuula Valkonen, a Godly Play Foundation Trainer in Finland, how Deep Talk honors the practice of Godly Play. This process provides a spiritual path within the community that can result in community empowerment when each employee learns by listening to one’s inner self. Time will be set aside for questions.

Expressing Purpose & Meaning: Godly Play with Patients
Chaplain Ryan Campbell, Godly Play US Trainer, Board Certified Catholic Chaplain serving Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, TX, Program Manager for the hospital’s Center for the Spirituality of Children

Each week, a chaplain presents a Godly Play story to the two Purpose and Meaning groups in our inpatient psych unit. One day, the group will consist of children aged 6-12. On another day, the group will be comprised of adolescents aged 13-17. This presentation will look at the similarities, and differences, in how purpose and meaning are expressed through wondering, imagination, play and art among these different age groups. Using actual examples of images and poems created by children in these age groups, we will notice together aspects of Kieran Egan’s “kinds of knowing,” as well as the dynamics of Rebecca Nye’s “relational consciousness” that are present in these art responses. We will also seek to recognize these elements of spirituality in ourselves, and explore how we might utilize them in our ministry with school-age children in non-congregational settings.

Faith & Play: The Godly Play Journey Among Quaker Friends
Ms. Sita Diehl, MA, MSSW, Godly Play for Friends Working Group of Friends General Conference Member, Director of State Policy and Advocacy for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Nashville, TN

In Godly Play we make space for silence, for the continued revealing of Truth; we seek to nurture the innate spiritual lives of all children. For Quakers, this deeply resonates with our faith and practice. Faith & Play: Quaker Stories for Friends Trained in the Godly Play Method was first published in 2008, and the story of Quakers and Godly Play reaches back further and goes forward today. Come and experience a story from the Faith & Play collection, learn more about the work to create companion stories for Friends, and hear how Godly Play has become a movement in Quaker religious education.

A Family Pathway to Children’s Spirituality
Julie Pomerleau, PhD Candidate at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH

Many people intuit that the spirituality of the family is key for the spiritual development of children. Scientific evidence that shows parents cannot avoid influencing their children’s spiritual identities. Children are very likely to imitate their parents’ spirituality, even if parents do not intend to be powerful role models. Ideas for how to use Godly Play to deepen one’s own spiritual life so one can intentionally guide children’s spiritual development in a creative, responsible and constructive manner, without being rigid or coercive. Come explore why Godly Play could be a wonder-filled pathway to deepen the spiritual closeness between a parent and child. In short, the goal of this workshop is to encourage parents to feel more confident and equipped to manage their unavoidable impact on their children’s spirituality.

Godly Play Congregation
The Rev. Canon Dr. Andrew Sheldon, Godly Play Canada Trainer, Godly Play Foundation Board of Directors Member, Godly Play International Council Chair, University of Toronto’s Trinity College Faculty Member, Parish Priest at All Saints Kingsway Anglican Church in Toronto, Canada

When a congregation really invests in the practice of Godly Play, Godly Play infiltrates and informs much of our communal life. Hear about congregations that Godly Play inspired liturgy, Godly Play as faith formation for all ages, Godly Play in pastoral care, preaching with a Godly Play lens, and more. I wonder if your congregation is ready to become a Godly Play congregation.

Graceful Nurture: Faith Formation for Adults Ready to Be Born Again
The Very Rev. Rebecca McClain, Godly Play Foundation Board of Directors Vice-President

After thirty years of working with adults who are entering or returning to church, I have come to believe that Godly Play is the most graceful way to nurture children of God of every age. This workshop offers a sampling of lesson plans to be used with adults in retreat settings, short courses, and preparation for baptism, confirmation and reception. We will also discuss the challenges of creating safe spaces for adults, a way of issuing the invitation to become like children that also acknowledges their years and experiences. Our discussion will include current thinking on creativity, gleanings from the neurosciences and exploration of our social nature. Ultimately our goal is the same for all ages: fluency in the language of the Christian people. This is the beginning of a conversation that has wondrous implications for the future of the church.

Nurturing Children’s Spirituality: 6 General Principles
The Rev. Cheryl Minor, PhD, Godly Play US Trainer, Godly Play Resources Materials Consultant, Contributing Editor for Jerome Berryman, Co-Rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Belmont, MA

Come experience a Godly Play-style presentation (complete with teaching artifacts, wondering, and work) that presents the six general principles Rebecca Nye proposes are key for the nurture of children’s spirituality in her book, Children’s Spirituality: What it is and why it matters. Participants will be invited to respond to the presentation by working in small groups around one of the six principles and a story from the corpus of Godly Play lessons. Insights from the small groups will be shared with the larger group of workshop attendees.

Expanded Wondering: Offering Mature Circles More
The Rev. Kay Flores, Godly Play US Trainer, Education for Ministry (EfM) Mentor Trainer, Youth and Young Adult Minister/Region 6 Ministry Developer for the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming
Ms. Zoe Cole, Municipal Court Judge, Graduate Student working on a PhD in law and theology, Godly Play Storyteller in Denver, CO

People sometimes call Godly Play EfM for children. Kay Flores and Zoe Cole are experienced Education for Ministry mentors and Godly Play Storytellers. Flores is also an EfM Mentor trainer and Godly Play Foundation Trainer. Together the two will use the EfM method of theological reflection (based on David Tracy’s reflective method outlined in Blessed Rage for Order) to demonstrate how to expand and apply the wondering following a Godly Play presentation in their day to day lives. This presentation will facilitate participants’ skills in expanding the use of Godly Play with older children, teens, and adults, empowering congregations to develop the mature spirituality necessary to meet the needs of the changing religious landscape. The use of these two methods together also fosters participant understanding of the value of lifelong religious education/formation.

Torah Godly Play: A Jewish Approach to the Godly Play Method
Rabbi Michael Shire, Founder and Director of Torah Godly Play, Dean and Professor of Jewish Education at Hebrew College in Boston, MA

For the past four years Jewish educators in Boston have been working to create Torah Godly Play for Jewish schools and synagogues. We have been privileged to work with Jerome Berryman on thinking through our liturgical language, conceptions of Torah play and story scripts aligned with our liturgical cycle and theology. We have also created new scripts developed for Jewish Festivals and rabbinics readings of Torah. We will introduce you to this ongoing work and share our stories of faith and liturgy.

For Your Visit

Work Time
Food + Beverage
Liquor, Grocery + Pharmacy

sewanee campusSewanee is a quaint town of 2,500 people located “on The Mountain” in SE Tennessee between Chattanooga and Nashville. Home to the University of the South, which includes The School of Theology, Sewanee is situated within the 13,000 acres of the University Domain and features the amenities of both a mountain retreat and a college town. From the Perimeter Trail to Abbo’s Alley, the Domain offers access to renowned hiking trails for all levels of experience. A handful of beloved restaurants and shops dot University Avenue in “The Village.” Another helpful resource to peruse is the University’s Visitor’s Guide.


Work Time

Grab a picnic spread and your lunch to go and sit out on the field by the School of Theology, meander back to campus to find a spot under a tree next to the stone buildings, or try one of these short walks . . . and find a naptime or meditation place along the way!

6 Great Afternoon Walks or Drives

The best part about walking around Sewanee is that everything is a circle, so you don’t get lost for long. Follow the below suggestions or meander in any direction–and ask anyone for help if you’re not sure what direction to head next!

A Stroll through the Village – Cruise down Tennessee Avenue from the School of Theology toward main campus and turn right on Sada Elliott Place and then right onto University Avenue. After a few blocks of stunning Southern homes, you’ll come to Sewanee Elementary School and Otey Memorial Parish. Just beyond that are a handful of beloved shops and restaurants, also feature below in Food + Drink and Gifts. It will take you about 15-minutes to walk to the Village.

Memorial Cross – From the School of Theology, continue down the Tennessee Avenue path away from main campus. The Cross overlook is less than a 20-minute walk from the School of Theology and offers a stunning view along with a magnificent cross that can be seen driving up from Cowan. Parking is plentiful at The Cross and is only a few minutes away by car, so whatever you do, don’t miss this sight!

Abbo’s Alley – This cultivated nature walk complete with bridges and a hidden labyrinth is not to be missed! We suggest starting at the gazebo on South Carolina Avenue (a short walk after crossing University at All Saints’ Chapel), however, you’ll find entrances on University just past Georgia Avenue or Texas Avenue behind Fowler Athletic Center. Named for a former English professor, Abbott Martin, who labored for years with Sewanee students to construct the trails and transplant the flowering shrubs, wildflowers, and plants that would bloom in Sewanee’s latitude into the ravine.

Morgan’s Steep – Directly across Tennessee Avenue from COTA is Mikell Lane. Head down Mikell–or down South Carolina Avenue across from All Saints Chapel–to Laurel Drive or Morgan’s Steep Road. At the bottom of the Laurel/Morgan’s Steep loop is a gorgeous view of the valley and a stairway down to the cool stream and waterfall below. The walk is about 15-minutes from the School of Theology, and the Perimeter Trail hike can be as short or as long as you want!

Greensview – Find Greensview Road next to the Sewanee Inn (down University Avenue toward Monteagle) and follow it past the tennis courts, past the golf course, right down to the end. A sunset favorite, you can bring a picnic or just come to enjoy the grandeur of the sweeping valley below.

Mountain Goat Trail – What happens when you pave over an old railroad line? A amazing walking/biking trail! The Mountain Goat Trail follows the rail line all the way from Sewanee–pick it up at The Hair Depot where University ends at the highway–to Monteagle. Stop by Mooney’s for fresh juice along the way!

There’s a Big Swing

I would just like to mention here that while there are many surprises all over town–hidden lakes and forest trails that lead right into town, playful art, an equestrian center, and a university farm–one of my personal favorites is the giant oak tree swing on Georgia Avenue. It is across the street from the library, right in front of Bishop Commons . . . if you get to Stirling’s Coffee House, you’ve gone too far, but definitely stop there after your swing!

Robert Dobbs Fowler Sport and Fitness Center

Your Conference fee also includes access to Sewanee’s athletic center! Although the pool is closed for renovation, Fowler will be open Monday-Friday 6a to 9p and Saturday 10a to 7p. Facilities include:

  • Indoor running/walking track
  • 3-court multi-purpose recreation area
  • Fitness room
  • Free weight room
  • Indoor tennis courts
  • Squash and raquetball courts
  • Bouldering wall
  • Locker rooms

Sewanee Writers’ Conference

While not afternoon worktime, if you are here a day early or a bit longer, check out The Sewanee Writers’ Conference readings! The complete listing of readings is here.

Backed by the Walter E. Dakin Memorial Fund established through the estate of the late Tennessee Williams, the Conference will gather a distinguished faculty to provide instruction and criticism through workshops and craft lectures in fiction, poetry, and playwriting. Although workshops are limited to program participants, the following lectures and readings are open to the public. These events will be held in the Cushman Room of the Bairnwick Women’s Center on Mississippi Avenue, one block south of University Avenue, on the campus of Sewanee: The University of the South. Authors’ books are available at the University Book & Supply Store.

Food + Beverage

Blue Chair Café, Bakery + Tavern (10% off with nametag)41 University Avenue, Sewanee TN 37375
The place to be night or morning. Gourmet coffee, breakfast, lunch, and bakery by day; Jackalope craft beer in white wicker chairs by night. Wednesday is BOGO beer night!

Shenanigans (10% off with nametag)12595 Sollace M. Freeman Hwy, Sewanee TN 37375
A monument to Sewanee undergrads throughout the ages, sit out on the front porch or rooftop deck and enjoy great beer on tap, sandwiches, quiche, burgers, fried things, and daily specials.

Julia’s Fine Foods24 University Avenue, Sewanee TN 37375
Eclectic bistro with amazing local, organic fare. Homemade specials. Lunch only.

Crossroads Café38 Ball Park Road, Sewanee TN 37375
Fresh, incredibly delicious Singaporean food; don’t miss the dumplings! Closed Thurs night.

Sewanee Inn1235 University Avenue, Sewanee TN 37375
Fabulous full bar and upscale nosh. Sit out back and enjoy the evening in posh surroundings!

Crust12569 Sollace M. Freeman Hwy, Sewanee TN 37375
Where we eat pizza. Thin-crust pizzas as well as pasta and salad selections.

Stirling’s Coffee House241 Georgia Avenue, Sewanee TN 37375
Soups, salads, and sandwiches in addition to a wide selection of coffee, tea, and specialty drinks.

Mooney’s1265 W. Main Street, Monteagle TN 37356
Darling little juice bar behind the market with fresh, organic kale, rice and soup. Lunch only.

IvyWild36 Ball Park Road, Sewanee TN 37375 – 931-598-9000
Seasonally inspired elegant New American cuisine; reservations a must. Open Thurs–Sun nights.

High Point224 E. Main Street, Monteagle TN 37356 – 931-924-4600
Steakhouse in a beautiful mansion that was once Al Capone’s hide-out. Reservations are good.

Dave’s Modern Tavern38 W. Main Street Monteagle TN 37356
Laid back and swanky fare with full bar. Open Wed-Fri: 11a-2p + 4:30p-9p; Sat 11a-9p

Mountain Goat Market109 Main Street, Monteagle TN 37356
Fabulous sandwiches made to order with a handful of health-food groceries and local gifts.

Liquor, Grocery + Pharmacy

Village Wine and Spirits (10% off)813 W. Main Street, Monteagle TN 37356
Wine and liquor at the best prices in town.

Mooney’s1265 W. Main Street, Monteagle TN 37356
The place in town for organic and health foods!

Sewanee Market28 Lake O’Donnell Road, Sewanee TN 37375
For your beer run—or snack food needs. Generally closes around 9p at night.

Piggly Wiggly754 W. Main Street, Monteagle TN 37356
The Mountain’s grocery store owned by local residents.

CVS340 Main Street, Monteagle TN 37356

Fred’s829 W. Main Street, Monteagle TN 37356


Godly Play ResourcesConvocation Hall
Order materials with your Conference discount!

CokesburyConvocation Hall
Books by Jerome Berryman and Marcia Bunge to get you ready for Saturday’s book signing.

University Bookstore604 University Avenue, Sewanee TN 37375
A Barnes + Noble bookstore with lots of University of the South goods!

The Lemon Fair60 University Avenue, Sewanee TN 37375
Home of Sewanee Angel gear and local goods as well as our Thistle Farms retailer.

Taylor’s Mercantile10 University Avenue, Sewanee TN 37375
Local florist with gifts and flowers galore!


Groome Transportation – 800-896-9928
Transportation from ATL, BNA and CHA to the Smoke House Lodge in Monteagle, TN. Our in-town shuttle can assist you from there.

InShuttle Nashville – 615-255-3519
Chartered shuttles from BNA to Sewanee.

Grand Avenue – 615.714.5466
Private sedans and limousines from BNA to Sewanee are available.

In-Town Sewanee Shuttle – 931-636-1466
From Tuesday through Saturday an in-town shuttle will be available to our Conference and Training participants! Hop on when you see it or call for a pickup. Tips greatly appreciated!


the-grand-ole-opryThe Nashville (BNA) and Chattanooga (CHA) airports are closest to Sewanee. Some may opt to fly into the Atlanta (ATL) airport; while the drive is a little longer, you may be able to fly nonstop to Atlanta and thus shorten your travel time.

Driving Distances:

Chattanooga (CHA) – 1 hour
Nashville (BNA) – 1.5 hours
Atlanta (ATL) – 2.5 hours


Sewanee is a much-loved vacation destination. However, because we are atop a mountain, lodging is limited. We suggest making lodging reservations as soon as possible. We have compiled a list of wonderful options that should accommodate all budgets.

St. Mary’s Sewanee: The Ayres Center for Spiritual Development

st marysSt. Mary’s Sewanee: The Ayres Center for Spiritual Development, which is part of the Sisters of St. Mary’s Episcopal convent is about a 3 minute drive from the conference location at the University. St. Mary’s is set on the edge of a bluff and offers a stunning view and peaceful setting. A long porch with rocking chairs overlooks the bluff, and the grounds have many stone benches and a labyrinth under the trees. The Foundation has 25 rooms on hold for July 29 – August 1, 2015. Breakfast is included all three mornings, and their fantastic chef prepares food from local sources.

Twenty of the rooms are in their new building; these rooms feature nice, retreat-style furniture, two single beds, air conditioning, and private bathrooms. The rooms in the new building are $105/night + tax for a single and $155/night + tax for a double ($77.50 + tax per person). The remaining five are St. Mary’s Hall Dorm Rooms and are located in the main building. These five are slightly more rustic and are not air-conditioned, although they are on the first floor and adjacent to the main building which is air-conditioned. They allow for all the amenities of St. Mary’s and privacy of a single at a much lower rate of $65/night + tax for a single and $95/night + tax for a double ($47.50 + tax per person).

The rooms at St. Mary’s may be reserved by contacting St. Mary’s at or 931-598-5342 and will likely go fast!

Edgeworth Innedgeworth inn

A short 10 minute drive to campus, the Edgeworth Inn in Monteagle is a lovely bed and breakfast. The Edgeworth is situated in the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly—a Chautauqua established in 1882—and has an assortment of lovely rooms with breakfast included! At last inquiry, all the rooms in the house were available, and they have offered us a discounted rate of $129/night + Assembly fees (~$19/day). Reservations can be made by calling 931-924-4000. Mention the “Godly Play Conference” to secure the discounted rate.

Private Rental Houses

rental houseConference attendees may choose to rent a house on campus, perhaps with friends who are attending the conference. While it may sound more complicated, this is a highly recommended option—and often the route taken by visiting Sewanee parents and alumni. Sewanee rental houses are not always as posh as vacation houses, but they are usually well-equipped, within walking or biking distance of everything on campus, and offer the opportunity to settle into a Sewanee life in the woods. Outdoor dining tables, porch chairs, fire pits, and breakfast at home are often amenities available when renting a house. If you are flexible about the specifics of your accommodations and want to stay together with a group or your family, definitely explore this short-list of rental houses with confirmed availability as well as the University Alumni office’s full listing of accommodations.

Super 8

super 8The Super 8 in Monteagle provides clean, modern accommodations just ten minutes from campus. Rates are $59.99 plus tax for one occupant, and $65.99 plus tax for two. The Super 8 offers a large outdoor sitting area, free WiFi, and a large continental breakfast at no additional cost. For an additional $10, your pet can join you.

University of the South Dorm Rooms

quintardFor those on a tight budget, we have secured a very rustic, shared bathroom dormitory option. The dorm is right next to The School of Theology, and thus will also be the most convenient location. Those staying the dorms will likely want to register for Breakfast at the Seminary as well. Breakfast will be served at Cravens Hall, a short two-minute walk from the dormitory.