What is Godly Play?
Godly Play offers a creative, child-honoring way of entering into and experiencing biblical stories and saints’ stories. In Godly Play we play with the language of God and God’s People: our sacred stories, parables, liturgical actions and silence. Through this powerful language, our wondering, and the community of players gathered together, we hear the deepest invitation of all: an invitation to come and play with God.
Who participates and when?
Godly Play takes place in the sanctuary on Youth Sundays (1st Sundays), when Rev. Rebecca presents a Godly Play lesson for the congregation with the help of the children.
The Godly Play classroom is for pre-school-ready children up to about 6th grade. Godly Play takes place in the classroom on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and occasional 5th Sundays of the month September through May. Children hear and see the story for the day, participate in The Wondering, and respond to the story through art or play before re-joining their families at the distribution of Holy Communion.
What if I’m an adult and I want to do Godly Play?
The Godly Play classroom is designed to be sacred place set aside for our children. The room is set up so that everything is accessible to them, with everything at a child’s eye level and organized in a logical, chronological, and liturgical order. The room is usually locked when not in use, to maintain the order of the materials, which are arranged with a focal shelf featuring the nativity surrounded by stories of the birth and death of Jesus. The remainder of the room is circled with materials that tell the stories of the Old Testament, the Parables and the lives of Saints, in that order.
If you aren’t aged 3-12 and you want to explore: Open Houses are held during the year for curious parents and parishioners, and adults are always needed to tell Godly Play stories and help with classroom management.
On Sunday, children should hang their coats and any distractions (noisy toys, etc.) and visit the restroom before walking down the hallway to the Godly Play classroom. Line up for Godly Play begins at 9:45 am in the hallway, and the story begins at 10:00 am, so it’s best if you say goodbye in the main hallway. The Doorkeeper will be waiting to greet your child, welcome them to the room, and help them get ready.
Getting Ready is a major part of the Godly Play process for our children. Just as we adults center ourselves and get ready to experience God as we enter the sanctuary, our children are learning and practicing how to get ready when they quiet their voices and bodies before they listen to the Sacred Stories, Parables, and Stories of Liturgical Action. They have an innate knowledge of God’s presence, and through Godly Play learn the religious language they need to explore their faith. We recommend arriving to St. Timothy’s at 9:50am to allow yourself and your children time to decompress from the hectic morning before approaching either the Godly Play Classroom or the Sanctuary. If you are running late, please do not rush your child. While we do have a specific number of minutes in which to present the story and do art response, we like to say that “we have all the time we need in Godly Play.” The Doorkeeper will be waiting to help your child get ready to enter into the classroom and the story without disrupting the other children.
Preschool parents: If your child is not yet potty trained, or is still experiencing major separation anxiety, you are welcome to join them in the classroom, but we ask that you be a “silent partner” on the rug.
New Parents or Parents of Kids who are New to Godly Play should review our Ten Best Ways for Parents and Beginning the Godly Play Year at St. Timothy’s, both available on this website. These documents explain in more depth what goes on in the classroom.