Praying in Color
We are excited to offer a new children’s program this summer based on Praying in Color, a book by Sybil MacBeth, published in 2009. Learn more about this new program.
Godly Play is the program we use in our Sunday Church School for children from age 4 through Grade 6. It is more than curriculum; it is a way to experience worship. Each class is led by a storyteller and a greeter, as prescribed by the Godly Play format. Questions about Godly Play can be directed to Susan Hunn, our Associate for Children and Youth at the church, or to the classroom teachers.
The goal of Godly Play is to enable children to use sacred story, parable, liturgical action and silence to become more aware of the mystery of God’s presence in their lives and in the community of children gathered for worship. Every Sunday the biblical story is followed by a time of reflection when the worshipping community of children and teachers engage in open, shared dialogue with one another about the story. The storyteller guides the dialogue. There are wondering questions asked of the children. Some examples are:
I wonder what you like best about this story.
I wonder what is the most important part of the story.
I wonder who you are in this story.
Such questions are always open-ended and allow children to participate in the reflective process without fear of right or wrong answers. Wondering together is the community’s way of remaining open to the Holy Spirit and allowing the story to become part of our lives. This kind of wondering shapes and deepens our knowledge of God and what God expects. The time of reflection is followed by a time of active response. Children choose from a variety of good quality art materials such as watercolors, clay, marker pens or colored pencils. They create their own response to the lesson. Some children prefer to hear another story or will take down a story from the shelves and work with it on their own. Teachers’ primary concern is that work is a result of the child’s own creativity.
Following their work times, the children return to the circle on the floor for a time of prayer and sharing the feast (an indirect preparation for communion). Children leave the circle one at a time so that the storyteller has an opportunity to share personal words of affirmation and blessing. Godly Play supports children as they find their own place in the Great Story and discover their unique identify as a child of God.
This method was developed by Dr. Jerome Berryman, a Montessori teacher and Episcopal priest. It is used by many churches in the United States andCanada.
When asking children about church school after class, the best question is “How was the story?”