Playing with Icons: The Spirituality of Recalled Childhood By John Pridmore
with foreward by Jerome Berryman 197 pp. The Center for the Theology of Childhood. $24.95
John Pridmore’s thorough and insightful book will capture the imagination of those who nurture children, especially in religious settings. Playing with Icons offers more an analysis of beautifully written case studies than a scientific survey. Pridmore, a retired Anglican priest, based his study on published autobiographies of childhood. He lists over a hundred such works in the bibliography, weaving evocative passages throughout the body of the book.
Pridmore invites the reader on an existential journey to play with and welcome the child. He likens children to icons, which when painted on wood gaze past us to behold God, even as we gaze at them and beyond them to God. Like an icon, a child’s vision of the divine lends us our own sighting. Pridmore invites us not only to pray with these icons, but to play with them and recognize this playfulness as a sort of prayer. Continue reading →
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
Focusing on a single saying of Jesus, Jerome Berryman’s latest work combines decades of research with a lifetime of practice with lively stories from the Godly Play classroom. It’s the kind of book I want to spend much more time with, before saying anything at all. Yet, I also want to share it with you as soon as possible, because I hope you will read it and share it, and we can discuss it.
Becoming Like a Child (Church Publishing, 2017) is the sort of book I’d like to study in a Sunday class or a seminary class. Although the book is in some ways about Godly Play, it is not exactly a monograph. One need not be familiar with the practice, nor even interested in children’s ministry, to read this book and be led into a deeper understanding of Christianity, of the metaphor from which it takes its name, of human nature, and of oneself. Continue reading →
Godly Play founder Jerome Berryman’s newest work, Becoming Like a Child is available at Church Publishing Incorporated (CPI) and other booksellers.
“The quality of Jerome Berryman’s scholarship, insight, and vision about childhood’s theological and spiritual nature is without equal. In this one book, the reader will find rewards and challenges that could not be provided by reading a hundred other books in this field.” — Dr. Rebecca Nye, researcher, consultant, and trainer in the field of children’s spirituality and author of Children’s Spirituality: What It Is and Why It Matters
Berryman includes many stories and examples, offering an accessible overview of Godly Play practice. In this book he also explores the theology and Christian ethos developed through a lifetime of attending to the curiosity of children.
“I have to learn how to do this.” That’s what the Rev. Cheryl V. Minor, Ph.D., freshly ordained, said after she watched a woman sit on the floor to tell a story. The storyteller, Laurel Mosteller, encouraged Minor to fly with her to Houston, where Dr. Jerome Berryman was serving as Canon Educator at Christ Church Cathedral. She attended a three day training that included every Liturgical Action story, plus modules on response time led by Thea Berryman.
Neither Minor’s ministry nor her personal spirituality have been the same since. Godly Play changed her work in the parish, her work as a parent, and who she is as a person. Continue reading →
As the academic and publishing arm of the Godly Play Foundation, the Center for the Theology of Childhood functions as a research center. It houses a library of over 4,000 books related to Godly Play. Some of the topics includes classical theology, mystical theology, philosophy (especially the existentialists), ethics, child development, Montessori, play, silence, laughter, tears, religious education, and the history of childhood. The archive houses a collection of Jerome Berryman’s publications and important historical documents related to Godly Play and the Foundation. The Center also includes a well-equipped Godly Play room nearby, hosted by St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in South Denver. Children of the parish gather there each Sunday. Continue reading →