Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Leadership Training Seminar - Spanish Women's Missionary Baptist Union

Last weekend (24-26 March), I took part in the 7th Leadership Training Seminar, organized by the Spanish Women's Baptist Missionary Union (UMMBE). The seminar was held in the beautiful surroundings of Guadarrama, near the snow-capped mountains to the northwest of the city of Madrid.

This year, there were two separate parallel programmes: (i) talks on leadership and discipleship matters, as well as on domestic violence; and (ii) work with children and young people. Within this latter track, I was able to present Godly Play in three separate sessions. In all, about 70 people attended (mainly women), from many different parts of Spain, and approximately half that number participated in each of the two programmes.

After observing and actively taking part in a Godly Play story, the participants were given the opportunity to respond individually.

Some chose to do so through reading or creative writing...

...whilst others used the various art materials available.

Following this response time, we celebrated the 'feast', during which the participants freely shared their impressions about the Godly Play method.

After that... even more stories and wondering!

On the whole, the commentaries were very positive:
  • "I really believe this method is a channel of blessing. May God multiply the workers."
  • "It seems to me that Godly Play is a great method as it specifically addresses the child's spiritual dimension. I like the fact that the children are blessed individually at the end of each session."
  • "I'm so glad that this method has reached the church in Spain."
  • "This has really been helpful and a great blessing to me personally. I find it very practical and straightforward."
  • "It would be great to encourage the training of teachers so as to develop our use of this method."
  • "My approach to working with children is very similar to what you have presented, but up to now I have not seen the implications for spiritual direction. I have focussed only on personal, social and intellectual development, and not the spiritual. So, now I feel quite enthusiastic about putting it into practice. Thank you."
  • "Working with children is such a great challenge."
  • "Up to now, there seems to have been little work on children's spiritual development. Of course, there have been Bible stories and verses, but not much work on drawing out personal applications."
  • "This has been such a great blessing for my own life!"

Some of the participants have asked for Godly Play taster days and workshops in their own towns and cities. I guess I shall not be short of work for a while, as this will be on top of all the invitations I already have - just take a look at my Agenda in the right-hand column!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Weekend in Salou

Last weekend (17-20 March) was a 'puente' (bridge) - i.e. a long bank holiday weekend - in a number of Spanish regions, as Fathers' Day this year fell on a Sunday. Anyway, as I had been invited to lead various events at the Salou Protestant Church, in the province of Tarragona - and also at the seaside! - Cilla was also able to accompany me.

I was able to tell several Godly Play stories, and thus demonstrate the method, at:
· a prayer meeting on the Friday evening,
· the evening service on Sunday, and
· a special Sunday School event in the morning, for a group of about 20 children and teens.

Besides all of that, most of Saturday was spent leading a Godly Play workshop on the theme of parables. While I was involved in the workshop, Cilla managed a stroll along the beach... however, it rained most of the time! Still, an enjoyable weekend!