New book: Godly Play – European Perspectives on Practice and Research
edited by Martin Steinhaeuser and Rune Oystese
This book is big work! Don’t be put off by the word ‘research’ in the title as this is a richly readable account of the huge diversity of contexts in which Godly Play is experienced and researched across Europe today. For anyone who thinks Godly Play has a only a ‘niche’ market in church circles, there is ample evidence here of its many ‘uses’ to help practitioners to delve deeper into the pedagogical, spiritual, psychological and social aspects of meeting Bible stories and God through Godly Play.
With five distinct sections, the book first offers readers snapshots of Godly Play before exploring some theoretical and methodological perspectives driving research and practice today. There follows some examples of empirical projects. I’m particularly looking forward to reading Lisa Debney’s thoughts on how Godly Play creates a safe space for silence and Trudie Morris’s examination of the use of wondering questions to investigate children’s participation in ministry.
In the third section most of the reports are from UK-based practitioners, revealing the determined creativity at large in the Godly Play community to nourish and expand the spiritual dimensions of lives young and old.
For those of us who attended the 2016 European Conference (from which much of the content of this book is drawn) there is a fascinating final chapter from Rune Øystese where he’s systematised and analysed the anecdotal stories of ‘best’ and ‘most important’ experiences that many of us sent in ahead of the conference. So, if you’re wondering where you are in this story of Godly Play in Europe today, look no further than in the pages of this comprehensive contemporary account.
A few copies are still available at the pre-publication price (£24.75 including postage and packing). You can order one here: EuropeanPerspectivesOrderForm (2)
What is Godly Play?
A creative and imaginative approach to Christian nurture, Godly Play
- is based on long established, tried and tested approaches,
- uses symbols and objects as well as words
- values process, openness and discovery
- and encourages people to make meaning for themselves
It invites listeners into stories and encourages them to connect the stories with personal experience.
- is a non-coercive way to encourage children to move into larger dimensions of belief and faith
- uses wondering questions and open-ended response time
- aims to develop a deeper understanding of stories, symbols and rites
- a way of preparing children to join in the worship and life of their faith community.
Developed originally as a resource for children, Godly Play is now being used with a wide range of age groups in a diversity of settings.
It can be used in a variety of settings – churches, schools, care settings and hospitals, and among people with and without formal religious faith.
Godly Play is one of several variations of the Montessori tradition of religious education and was developed in the United States by Dr Jerome Berryman.
The Godly Play UK Facebook page will help you to see some of what Godly Play has to offer. With well over a thousand members it offers many different experiences, opinions and testimonies. There is a chance to get advice from our 14 trainers as well as asking other users how they have done things. And you can also share your own successes, insights and findings.
Find us, Godly Play UK, and ask to join us!