Christian initiation of a different kind!
When I was in West Yorkshire we had a Godly Play Group which met weekly in the local council Primary School. It had been running for some time when a parent spoke to me after a Godly Play session and asked if I could help her. She said that neither she nor her husband was religious but they realised that what the Godly Play sessions were doing for their little girl, Isabel (of about 7 years) was very good and was there some way they could affirm this? I said I was sure there was and arranged to go and meet with them and Isabel one evening in their home.
I took with me an outline of a baptism service, a thanksgiving service and a service of blessing from an Iona liturgy book.
We talked and looked through the various resources I had brought and together they decided they wanted the service of blessing with at its centre a Godly Play Presentation. I asked Isabel to think about which one she would like. I sort of hoped she would choose The Good Shepherd or one of the parables. However when I got in touch a few days later I found she had chosen the one ‘about Egypt’ – ‘The Exodus’. It would not have been my choice but I was rather stuck with it!
On a Sunday afternoon we gathered in church – in an open carpeted area at the back of church with pews and seats in a large open semi-circle (around the font). There were about 45 family and friends of little Isabel.
We began the liturgy and then went into the Godly Play presentation of the Exodus which uses the desert bag. Adults and children responded to the wondering in a wonderful way. At the end of this story the matzo bread was passed round and people were invited to take a piece and taste the story. We then continued the liturgy.
At the end Isabel came and asked if she could have the matzo bread and basket. As people were chatting and drinks were being taken round I suddenly caught sight of Isabel going round to all her guests taking the matzo bread and saying to each person ‘taste the story’. This certainly felt a Eucharistic Feast. At that point I realised that Isabel had certainly chosen the right story for that occasion.
The liturgy I had used was from: The Pattern of Our Days: Liturgies and Resources for Worship – Edited by Kathy Galloway The lona Community