All the story you need
Ela reflects on the Great Family
The first time I heard the Great Family story, I was mesmerized. In the course of my training as a biblical scholar, the charm of the narratives from chapters 12-15, 24 of Genesis became replaced with a critical distance. At the Godly Play session, they returned to me as, well, a story: a deeply satisfying sense-giving arrangement of events, set in a vividly depicted scenery, populated with characters to whom I could relate. However, the conclusion (“This went on for thousands and thousands of years until your grandmothers and grandfathers had children… Now you are part of that great family which has become as many as the stars in the sky and the grains of sand in the desert”) left me with a sense that something crucial was left out, that I didn’t have all the story I needed. I spent the entire creative response time filling this gap.
Josh finds contentfulness, freedom and trust
I’m Josh, a member of the Holywell Community, an Anglican ‘new monastic’ community in the spirit of the Rule of St Benedict based at St Mary’s Priory in Abergavenny, Wales.
Recently, I was supported by the Anglican congregations of Abergavenny, and by Godly Play UK, to attend the three-day core training at Llantarnam Abbey in Cwmbran. It was a spiritually rewarding time and I am looking forward to putting what I’ve learned into practice in both in Abergavenny and when I return to my native New Zealand. I’m very grateful to everyone who contributed anything towards allowing me to attend the training!
Three things stuck out to me about the Godly Play approach:
- its contentfulness,
- the freedom it provides to its participants,
- and the trust in the power of the Christian tradition that it embodies.
I’ll briefly expand on each of these features of Godly Play in this short reflection.