Godly Play is an approach to faith formation based on Montessori principles. It was developed in the USAby Jerome Berryman for children, but the method has a lot to commend it to adults. The structure of a session – with a welcome and greeting, story, response time, prayer, feast and dismissal mirrors the liturgical pattern of the Eucharist.
There is an emphasis within Godly Play method on relationships and building community as a secure base from which individuals can explore and ponder the deep questions of life and faith. After the gathering the group explores the word of God together. They listen and watch as the person telling the story uses figures and materials to tell the Bible story and then wonder what the story meant to them. In a sense we are opening the scriptures so that children and adults can find meaning in them.
The story is presented in a way that asks questions:
- I wonder which bit of the story you liked best?
- I wonder which is the most important bit?
- I wonder which bit you could leave out and still have all the story you need?
- I wonder which bit of the story relates most to you?
The listeners are invited into the story and are encouraged to connect it with their own life experiences. After the group wondering and questioning time individuals can respond using art materials in response to the story. Finally the group are brought together to have a time of prayer and biscuits and drinks.
Godly Play will be used at Young Saints and at times with adults perhaps with our Nurture courses at All Saints.
For further information about Godly Play see the Godly Play website.