What they're saying about Godly Play

The biggest new initiative around here since bringing back the choir got launched this past Sunday, and I was not here to witness it. God’s just got a funny sense of humor that way.

No, I was a thousand miles away on Sunday morning, relaxing with old friends in a cabin by a river near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It was a much-appreciated Sabbath time for me. But if I could have been in two places, I most certainly WOULD have been here too, watching as we began our experiment with Godly Play for All Ages.

I can’t give you a first-hand report of what went on, but I invited others who took part to share their observations and reflections. Here’s what they said.

“I loved it,” said Carol Cozart. “In fact I woke up this morning (Monday morning) thinking about it. If somebody had done that story for me that way as a child, I would never have forgotten it. I will never forget it, being as old as I am now. It was a wonderful way to do that story. I’d recommend it to anybody.”

“I liked the way they structured it,” said Sharon Kestrel. “I liked the sacred circle, creating that sacred space. The story telling was fantastic. Slow and measured. It’s so obvious that this has been very carefully thought out. I was really impressed.”

I liked the presentation, which was very calming,” said Pearl Oppliger. It drew you in to really listen. The story was simple, and I can see how it can work with both adults and children. Afterward, we made a little craft thing about our feelings, and everybody seemed to enjoy that. I think adults don’t play enough, so this was very good overall. I hate to say it, but this is probably the first time I’ve really sat and listened to a story from the Bible. I was just drawn in to the story. I will definitely be there for the other classes.”

Here is Rose Applegate’sdescription: “It’s different. It draws you in, especially the way Tracy did it. Her voice was quiet, and you got involved in what she was saying. To me, I think it’s going to be a good thing for the adults. It will teach us all. I really liked it, and I think I’m going to learn a lot from it.”

And Ginny McColm’s: “t was lovely. I’d seen it before, at St. Joe’s, but this was a little bit different. It’s a refreshing way to do Sunday school. I liked it.”

This from the Rev. Deb Angell: “Everyone was really engaged. I think the holy thing with Godly Play is that it forces you to slow down to be in a sacred space. And I think people enjoyed the art time. That’s something most adults don’t get to do. My best takeaway was just the opportunity to slow down and focus on something that’s not real complicated. Those of us who did that lesson will think about the creation story in a different way, and I think that’s very helpful.”

And this from Bev Thomas, our parish administrator, who raced over from her own church Sunday morning just so she could witness our first Godly Play session: “I was very impressed. The story teller was excellent and had a very soft and calming voice as she told the story of “Creation.” There were 13 adults, including the story teller and her husband, and a 2-year-old. All appeared to be very engaged during the story telling and questions asked of them. Because the story was told in a very slow pace it was easy to feel very relaxed and able to take in the story.  I believe that this type of storytelling will be remembered and not forgotten.”

If you didn’t make it to Godly Play last Sunday, please consider coming this Sunday. Storyteller Tracy Methe and her husband, James, will be back, and this Sunday we’ll be hearing the story of the flood. There are a lot of ways to tell that story, and a lot of ways to think about that story. 

Come see what the buzz is about. Better still, see if you can’t lay your hands on a child or two and bring them along. This could be a transformative step for our parish, but it will require the efforts of every one of us to make that happen. So if you’re one of our “dashers” – folks who dash off before coffee hour, or who have time for coffee hour but not for Christian formation – let me urge you to reconsider and make some time in your schedule for this. It’s important. I don’t think you’ll consider it time wasted.