In response to the many inquiries we have received given the widespread closures and cancellations resulting from COVID-19, The Godly Play Foundation and its publisher, Church Publishing Incorporated, have agreed that churches may minister to their children and families remotely by creating and sharing videos of Godly Play Storytellers telling stories using Godly Play’s materials. We encourage this activity as a way to let children see a familiar face, allowing them to engage more deeply. Godly Play and Church Publishing Incorporated reserve all rights in the intellectual property contained in the Godly Play materials.
We ask that anyone creating or sharing a video abide by the following:
1. At the beginning of the video recording, please state the name of the story and the publisher in the video and note that the material is under copyright and owned by Godly Play.
2. Limit the audience in some way. For example, if you use YouTube, please follow these instructions to designate your video as “Unlisted” and only share the link with a limited audience. If you use Facebook Live, please only share within a private group or church page.
3. Please remove each video after a three-week period.
When we look back and tell the story of COVID-19, I wonder what your favorite part might be. I wonder what will be most important of this unfolding story. I wonder what parts we will all want to leave out. Today, it feels like the over-anxious response we sometimes hear in our circles, “ALL OF IT!” might be the answer.
It is our hope that we will look back and recall acts of courage and kindness that, like Rebekah’s offer of water, move us deeply. And, it is our hope that the compelling need to find new ways to share stories and be in community during this time might help us learn more about how best to bring Godly Play into the digital age.
At the same time, we are already particularly equipped to nurture and equip others with the tools they need to make meaning during this challenging time. Stories of God at Home and the accompanying materials provide a way for families to come together to tell stories– the stories of God and the stories of their own families– and practice make meaning together as the story of their family and its values interact and intersect with the story of God’s redeeming love.
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.
Vacation Bible School news! Every year many congregations offer a Vacation Bible School during the summer months or during other school vacation times. The length and time (day, evening) vary from place to place, but most purchase a Vacation Bible School kit from a publisher that includes lessons, posters for advertising, music, and more. We are excited to share with our Godly Play community some ideas for using Godly Play during VBS instead of one of these kits. We had a post on our Facebook page asking for people who have used Godly Play as part of VBS we got lots of good ideas. We now have a tab on the Godly Play Resources website filled with ideas to get your creative juices flowing. We would love to add more ideas, so keep them coming! Here are just a few of the ideas that were mentioned…
The short answer is that your gift to the Godly Play Foundation goes directly to the work of bringing quality Godly Play to children of all ages throughout the world—directly to our vision of enlarging our circle to include every child of God. See a sampling below of how we have stewarded last year’s gifts. I wonder where this year’s gifts will go?
HOW DO WE SPREAD GODLY PLAY ACROSS THE GLOBE?
We do it together!
Over the last couple of years we have been:
Increasing our scholarships for training and materials to support churches who have the time and talent but are lacking the treasure to launch or expand their Godly Play program
Revising and expanding the Old Testament Extension stories published in The Complete Guide to Godly Play, Volume 6—similar to the work completed on Volumes 2, 3, and 4—so these stories can be shared more easily throughout the world
Collectively throughout the world, we have been working toward these goals and have many accomplishments. We also have many exciting projects in line for 2020, including the U.S. Training of Trainers to be held in Ft. Worth in the spring!
Please join us in building the Kingdom of God through the Godly Play Method!