With infinite gratitude we want to acknowledge the many gifts of Godly Play Trainer and mentor Barbara Sears as she moves into her retirement. Barbara began her work with Godly Play and Jerome Berryman in Houston in 1992, and officially became a trainer in 2000 working with Christ Church in Covington, Louisiana, and Christ Episcopal School.
Many recall her introduction of the “Psychic Sniff” into trainings, gathering everyone outside to wake up the body and cleanse the mind to be able to go back to the circle with renewed energy and focus – Barbara seemed to know how to incorporate play in just the right way at just the right time.
Godly Play Missioner, Ashley Bond, had this to say of Barbara, “So much of my excitement for and deep connection to the practice of Godly Play is due in part to the way in which Barbara modeled for me so beautifully the art of Godly Play. She drew me in the way all good teachers do. To this day, she is the one I go to for guidance, support, clarity, wisdom and encouragement in my work as a Godly Play mentor. Godly Play is a gift and sharing it with others the way Barbara shared it with me is life-giving.”
Barbara’s friend and colleague, Gayle Croxton, reflected, “Barbara has generously shared her love of Godly Play and her deep and abiding respect for children in so many ways and for so many years. It has been a real pleasure and a privilege to learn from her and to work by her side. She teaches me something, without perhaps intending to do so, each time we work together. I am often struck by her ability to be both strong and soft, especially when leading a training, but also with children. She does not shy away from challenges and difficult issues and somehow manages to address them both directly and gently. She is also someone who never stops wondering, reflecting and learning which keeps her spirit and her practice fresh. What a joy it is to call her friend and mentor! I feel very sad to consider sitting in a training circle without her. We will miss her greatly!”
Barbara and her husband of more than 40 years, Steve, plan to spend more time with their children and grandchildren of which Barbara said, “The grandchildren will be my circle for storytelling for the coming years, and what a joy that will bring.”
Like a pebble tossed into a pond, one can only wonder about just how many lives Barbara has touched in more than 30 years of work as a mentor but we can picture the ripples of circles expanding even past her retirement.