Godly Play Foundation Missioners

Ashley Bond

Ashley Bond is the Director of Children’s and Family Ministries for Trinity Episcopal Church and a Godly Play Missioner. She helps churches and schools in New Orleans figure out the best way to offer Godly Play to their communities. Trinity offers four Sunday Godly Play classes to children ages 24 months to 5th grade and integrates Godly Play into EFM classes, Adult Bible Studies, and youth confirmation classes. Ashley is currently focused on growing Godly Play outside the church walls and into clinical settings and retirement communities. She has 3 daughters, a husband, 2 cats and loves yoga and reading.

Melinda Wenner Bradley ">

Melinda Wenner Bradley serves as the Youth Religious Life Coordinator for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). She is a Godly Play US Trainer and the Director of Communications for Faith & Play Stories, Inc. Melinda is co-author and editor of “Faith & Play: Quaker Stories for Friends Trained in the Godly Play Method” (QuakerPress), a collection of stories about Quaker faith and practice. Her ministry among Friends weaves together interests in children’s spiritual lives, program development, and support for families and teachers in faith communities and schools. Since 2010, she has led more than forty core trainings for Quaker meetings and schools, and shared Godly Play and Faith & Play stories in children’s religious education programs, multigenerational worship, school classrooms, teacher workshops, international gatherings of Friends in England, Kenya, and Peru, and at home with her own three children, who have been her most beloved circle.

Sabrina Evans "> 

Sabrina serves as the Director of Christian Formation for the Diocese of Oklahoma. She has been in Oklahoma for 9 ½ years. Sabrina’s work has been with 70+ congregations across the entire state, and helping them implement Godly Play. As the majority of our churches outside of Oklahoma City and Tulsa are small in average Sunday attendance, it has been a struggle for them. Godly Play is a viable option for them to use if not weekly, at least once a month or seasonally. The diocese works to help provide resources and education in room set up and lesson planning. Sabrina has been blessed with individuals from other denominations coming to our trainings, and is looking forward to offer three commuter trainings in the summer of 2019.

The Reverend Ebony Grisom ">

"> The Reverend Ebony Grisom is a Bronx, New York, native who earned a Bachelor of Arts in African-American and African Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a Master of Arts in American History at Providence College, and a Master of Divinity with a Concentration in Christian Education, and a Certificate in Gender, Theology, and Ministry, from The Divinity School at Duke University. She walked into her first Godly Play classroom at Duke University Chapel, but she wondered around North Carolina, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. When she is not in a Circle, you can find her reading, traveling, enjoying her friends and family, or advocating on Capitol Hill. Ordained in the American Baptist Churches, USA, Ebony is thrilled to be a Godly Play Missioner while serving in ministry at an anti-poverty non-profit.

Cynthia Inkso ">

Cynthia Insko is an ordained clergy person in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. She has served as campus minister to several colleges and universities, and in various roles with youth, children, and spiritual formation in local congregations. Cynthia fell in love with Godly Play when she began using it in 2012 with her church’s 3 year olds through 5th graders. She was amazed at how Godly Play transformed the whole church, inviting them to listen with wonder to the stories of God. Cynthia enjoys sharing the stories and the language of Godly Play with adults of all ages in retreats, nursing homes, classrooms, and worship settings. Cynthia is married to Lee and is mom to three almost grown children. She delights in cooking, reading, spending time outdoors and playing with her grand baby.

Mary Hunter Maxwell

Mary Hunter Maxwell served as Director of Children’s Ministries and then Canon for Education at the Cathedral of St. Philip for ten years. During her tenure there, she also served as an adjunct instructor of Christian Formation in the School of Theology at the University of the South.  From there, she went on to teach Godly Play as part of the religion curriculum at St. Martin’s Episcopal School. She is currently the Director of the Preschool at Second-Ponce in Atlanta. A practitioner of Godly Play since 2006, Mary Hunter loves to tell stories to children of all ages and is passionate about nurturing and sustaining Godly Play mentors and programs.

Kat Mercer ">

Kat Mercer has more than thirty years’ experience in faith formation leadership. She has worked with programs for children, youth, families and adults at the congregational, diocesan and provincial level, and is an enthusiastic advocate for intergenerational formation and supporting families in faith formation at home. Kat has a passion for the liturgy of the Episcopal church, which is reflected in the worship experiences she creates for children. Kat completed the Certificate in Leadership in Lifelong Christian Formation in 2018. She currently serves as chaplain at St. Luke’s Nursing Center, a ministry of Grace Episcopal Church in Carthage, MO, where she incorporates Godly Play into her ministry, and provides consultation and support in children’s ministry for congregations.

Teresa Phares ">

Teresa lives in Pensacola FL with her husband, Nick, and their three children. She has an MA in Curriculum & Instruction from Spring Arbor University, as well as an MA in Theology from the University of the South. She is an active storyteller at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, where Nick serves as Associate Rector. Teresa has been instrumental in helping to start several new Godly Play programs in the gulf coast region. Teresa also works for the Foundation as US Training Operations Manager and Director of Membership.

Charissa Simmons ">

Charissa Simmons is the Family Ministries Coordinator for Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon where she supports programming and care for children and their families. She is especially passionate about helping children to articulate their innate sense of God’s presence, and loves to create opportunities for children and adults to experience and wonder about God together. Charissa holds a BA in biology from Pacific Lutheran University, a certificate in Christian Formation from the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest, and has completed Education for Ministry. Charissa is mother to two adult children, enjoys working and relaxing in her large backyard, and is always on the lookout for a good novel.

Jana Sundin ">

Jana Sundin is a social worker, lay minister, clergy spouse, parent of three sons, and Godly Play enthusiast. Jana has been practicing Godly Play since 2005 and much of her theology and ministry have been shaped by this beautiful method of children’s formation. Currently a seminarian at Church Divinity School of the Pacific and the Canon for Children’s Ministries in the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona, Jana works to support new and existing Godly Play practitioners and programs throughout the state.

Joy Studer ">

Joy was introduced to Godly Play in a stunning church in Portland, Oregon only 4 years ago. Although she is considered new to the world of Godly Play, she ran with it. Overcome with emotion after seeing the sand slide through the fingers of trainer Caryl Creswell, Joy knew this program would “save the world”. Since this time she has traveled to share Godly Play as far south as Guatemala and as far north as Ferndale, Washington. Her passion for nurturing spirituality through Godly Play is so contagious she has assisted in kicking off well over 10 programs in the United States in such a short period of time. Currently Joy resides in Lake Stevens, Washington and is working with synods, preschools, and even the local Food Bank. Joy is looking forward to traveling to the Midwest this summer to continue planting the seed of Godly Play with many churches in that region.

Alison Talley ">

Alison Talley lives in Juneau, a community of about 32,500 in Southeast Alaska. She is the parish administrator at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, and has been teaching Godly Play since about 2002. All three of her children attended a public school Montessori program and all three are now accomplished young adults. In addition to teaching and talking about Godly Play, she loves Spanish, reading, crocheting, playing her flute, and boating with her husband on the beautiful waters of the Inside Passage.

Anna Thomas ">

Anna lives in Boca Raton, is the mother to 5 beautifully wild children, and is married to Ben who serves as Assistant Rector at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church where they regularly build circles together with children of all ages, including our monthly family services and new comer’s classes. She loves novels, children’s books, her greyhounds, traveling, and good thunderstorms. Anna also works for the Foundation helping with their communications.

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