Sand, wooden figures, felt and gold boxes might seem unlikely materials for spiritual accompaniment but along with space and silence these are the tools of Godly Play.
Godly Play is the original work of the US theologian, Jerome Berryman. Since its inception in the 1970s, it has been used worldwide with children in schools and churches and adults in many contexts, including care homes, prisons, all age services, hospitals and theological colleges. With origins in Montessori education, Berryman was looking for an approach that capitalised on children's imaginative and spiritual nature.
GP stories consist of Old Testament stories, Parables, and Presentations that help children recognise and engage with their denominational traditions. In the spring of 2013 Dr. Rebecca Nye, a researcher in children's spirituality, who introduced GP to the UK in the 1990s, suggested that we might begin a process to write our own stories about SA practice. The outcome is three stories:
- The Flag and Ceremonies in the Life of a Salvationist
- The Mercy Seat and Salvation Presentation
- Social Action: Here to Help
The Flag is a moving presentation that explores how at all times we belong to God and how the Flag is present at special times in our lives.
The Mercy Seat presentation draws on the Parable of the Good Shepherd and is a lesson in demonstrating that whenever and whyever we come to the Mercy Seat God is there for us.
The Social Action story demonstrates how the Salvation Army goes out working incarnationally wherever there is a need. It takes place in a desert setting.
These resources are now ready to be used and we would like to offer you the opportunity to see them and gain experience in the Godly Play story-telling method. We envisage many contexts where these stories could be used with children and adults but we would like you to discover them for yourselves!
To enable this we are running training days across the territory in 2015/16:
Clevedon Corps, June 3rd
Northern Division, October 18th
Central South Division, INVEST Training Day, November 7th
West Scotland, November 28th
There is also three day Core Training events:
St Mark's Audley End, September 23rd-25th & March 8th-10th March
Coatbridge, Scotland, February 23rd-25th 2016
The Salvation Army Godly Play stories and scripts are only available on the completion of training as outlined in the diagram here.
Facilitating Territories may send two people to the UK for a 3 day Salvation Army Godly Play Core training course run by Children's Ministries Unit.
Alternatively, they may request that CMU run a training course in their territory. In either scenario, the UK territory will not be able to provide funding for travel, training or accommodation.
Implementing Territories that are grant-aided may send two people to the UK for a 3 day Salvation Army Godly Play Core training course run by Children's Ministries Unit.
Alternatively, they may request that CMU run a training course in their territory. Possible support can be sought from CMU. Please contact Major Denise Cooper, the Territorial Children’s Ministries Officer, for details.
Please note: potential delegates outside the UK must follow established protocols, in turn initially contacting their Zonal Department at IHQ, in turn, contact Children’s Ministries Unit at UKI THQ.