Monthly Archives: May 2016

An Alaska Teenager’s Godly Play Legacy: Honoring Joseph Balko (2000-2016)

Eaglescout5Joseph James Balko died Saturday, May 21st after he collapsed as he finished a race in the Regional Track and Field Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska. He was 15 years old. While they say “there are saints known only to God,” Joseph is a saint well-known to God and to the Fairbanks community.

Joseph left a legacy of Godly Play story materials that he lovingly made for the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks. When he was just 13 years old, Joseph identified the need for more story materials for his school’s Godly Play program. So Joseph decided to produce the materials as his Eagle Scout project. Because of this gift, Joseph’s loving, faithful spirit lives on through all who now–and all who will–work with the Godly Play story materials he produced. Continue reading

Book Reviews from the Center!

stack of books on the dark wood background. toning. selective focus on the middle bookThe Foundation is pleased to announce a series of book reviews presented by the
Center for the Theology of Childhood.

The Center’s book reviews are available here and more will be added periodically. The first book reviewed in this series is The Grace of Playing: Pedagogies for Leaning into God’s New Creation (2016) by Courtney T. Goto.

The Center for the Theology of Childhood of the Godly Play Foundation is interested in the theory, practice, and empirical research concerning children’s religious lives, their spirituality, and the theological implications of what is learned. The Center is embarking on a project to offer original book reviews of volumes related to the spiritual guidance of children. This project is aimed to serve the international Godly Play community and to draw on it for these reviews, but those generally interested in this field will find them helpful as well. Continue reading

The Grace of Playing

Courtney T. Goto, The Grace of Playing: Pedagogies for Leaning into God’s New Creation (2016)


Courtney T. Goto, The Grace of Playing: Pedagogies for Leaning into God’s New Creation (2016)Professor Goto was educated at Mills College (BA), Harvard University (MTS), and Emory University (PhD).  She is currently Assistant Professor of Religious Education and Co-Director of the Center for Practical Theology at Boston University School of Theology.  She is a third generation Japanese American, United Methodist.

Her book, she writes, “is a conversation written by a Protestant primarily for theorists, students, and practitioners (xix),” but her audience does not need to be so severely limited.  The “practitioners,” however, do need to have a taste for theory.  She also writes that, “I am interested primarily in playing as it relates to adult learning (xviii),” but this book can also be applied to children, because playing is the natural bridge between the generations.  The book sometimes sounds like it is about religious education and other times about experiential therapy, but these activities are not incompatible.    Continue reading