Thursday, August 16, 2007
Right now a blissful peace reigns! The grandchildren and their mums and dads have returned to their respective homes in the UK, Galicia and Madrid, after a fairly exhausting family get-together during the first fortnight in August.
The top photo shows Cilla sharing her 'siesta' time with six of our grandchildren!
It was a fantastic opportunity for cousins to relate, as some of them only see each other about once a year. As for Cilla and I, of course it was really great to have them all. But now, having cleared up the toys, books, DVDs, etc., we are enjoying the peace and quiet of an almost empty house! Must be getting old!!!
Bottom photos: (1) Andrea & Savannah; (2) Jessica & Nadine; (3) Fun at the pool; (4) Break for an ice-cream.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Our 'home' Christian congregation, Roxeth Green Free Church, have placed a nice (albeit, brief) write-up about us in the 'mission' section of their website. Click here to access the page.
It's strange, though, that they have chosen a photo of Cilla and me at Snowdon National Park to accompany the text - the photo on the left. Maybe that's where they think Spain in located?!!
Click here to watch an excellent 6-minute introductory video to Godly Play. It's presented by Linda Clapp, an accredited GP trainer from the United States
You can also access the video from the right-hand margin on this page ('Multimedia').
Friday, June 01, 2007
During this past month of May, there have been no invitations to lead Godly Play seminars or workshops. So, Cilla and I took a few days off to visit our son, John Paul, and his family at their hotel in Galicia, north-west Spain. These times always give me the chance to practise some of the Godly Play stories with my grandchildren. As soon as I arrive at their house, Danny, the youngest member of the family, always asks me if I have brought any of the wooden figures that are used in Godly Play. These children are my guinea pigs, especially for trying out what are for me new lessons. Their reactions to the stories are very helpful... and they just love Godly Play, so it's all mutually beneficial!
This time we shared the stories of 'The Good Shepherd and World Communion', 'The Holy Family', 'Jesus and the Twelve' and 'The Mystery of Pentecost'. In addition, the children took part in a crafts session to make their own set of the 'Good Shepherd' materials.
More photos HERE
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
I am writing this post at my son’s place in Galicia, north-west Spain, where John Paul and Maria Angeles run a country hotel. A few months ago, one of the inspectors for Alistair Sawday’s prestigious series of 'Special Places to Stay' guidebooks stayed at the hotel and, as a result, they now have a very positive write-up in the 2007 edition of the guide to Spain.
Here is a quote from the book:
«If you’re sporty and you don’t demand luxury, this modest hotel between Santiago and the Atlantic could be for you. The young owners are keen to promote ‘adventure tourism’ on their patch so you can fish for trout, hike, mountain bike or ride the St James’s Way, sail or, perhaps most tempting of all, swim in the Atlantic off the lovely sands at Carnota. Bedrooms are in the original stone farmhouse and are surprisingly smart considering the price, the best with their own covered galleries. All are cheerfully decorated with attractive wooden furniture and floors, and central heating in bedrooms and bathrooms, a comfort when the days turn chilly. The restaurant is just across the way, new and strictly functional, its culinary philosophy to keep things “simple and local”. Try the local specialities: stuffed peppers and empanada, the Galician equivalent of Cornish pasty. The wine list is surprisingly good. Although this is a no-frills hotel, the young owners’ kindness and hospitality has convinced us that Santa Eulalia deserves a place in this guide.»
But don’t just take their word for it… COME AND SEE FOR YOURSELF!
Saturday, May 05, 2007
On Saturday 21st April, I led a Godly Play introduction day in a town called Jumilla, in the province of Murcia. Twenty-three people from 5 churches in the region took part in the event.
Here's some of their feedback:
- "I found this method very interesting and I would like to learn more about it."
- "The day has been a great blessing because I have learned a lot about the need to reach people's heart with simplicity, the importance of silence and not to intervene too much or interrupt play in order to impose our doctrine."
- "Everything was great. It's an interesting approach for children and young people. It doesn't only teach you Bible, but other things like education."
- "It seems to me to be a special way of teaching children, and older people too, important aspects of God's word. It's clear, simple and, above all, fun."
Taking advantage of the Godly Play seminar en Jumilla, on Sunday 22nd April I was invited to use the same method in a children's class at the church. There were eight children present, plus some teachers and parents. The boys and girls responded very well to the story of Jonah, the Backward Prophet.
Besides the seminar and the children's class, the weekend also included presentations of Godly Play to two youth groups (in Jumilla and Archena), with an attendance of approximately 50 young people, and also as part of the sermon in the church's evening service.
Click here for more photos of the children's class.
A couple of days after my trip to Wales and England, I was able to spend the Easter weekend at a retreat organized by Oasis Madrid, an international church in the Spanish capital. The programme for the weekend included several sessions of Godly Play for the children who attended the retreat.
In these photos, the pastor of the church, Troy Cady, tells the Godly Play story of the 'Faces of Christ', a summary of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, from his birth to his resurrection.
At the end of this lesson, the participants are invited to bring objects from the shelves and place them on the floor in order to 'complete' the presentation. Many objects can be brought - practically everything in the Godly Play classroom is related in some way to the story of Jesus!
Click here for more photos of the Oasis Madrid Easter retreat.
Recently, Cilla and I were invited by our 'home' church near London to spend a week with them in order to get to know new church members and share at various meetings. Before that, however, we were also able to spend a few days at the B&B guesthouse, at Criccieth (North Wales), where our friend Rachel Jones lives.
So, on Sunday 25th March, we flew from Madrid to Liverpool airport, where Rachel's friends and landlords, Bob & Anne, kindly picked us up. (Unfortunately, Cilla's suitcase failed to arrive and at the date of posting this report - nearly 6 weeks later - there is still no sign of it!)
We spent a few days relaxing in Wales and enjoyed surprisingly warm and sunny weather. The B&B is right on the coastal promenade at Criccieth, and we were also able to explore Snowdonia - as well as purchasing emergency clothing and toiletries for Cilla!
I was also invited to share a Godly Play story (using sand from the local beach!) at a meeting of the local Christian fellowship.
The following Wednesday, Cilla and I took the train to Harrow (Middlesex) and that evening we attended and shared at one of Roxeth Green Free Church's cell groups. The day after, I was asked to lead a Godly Play presentation at the Thursday afternoon group which meets in the church hall. And I was also able to include a brief Godly Play story, on the Mystery of Easter, as part of my Palm Sunday sermon at Roxeth.
The big event for me, however, was the surprise 60th birthday party which the church sprung on me - with Cilla's secretive collaboration! Many family members (sister, uncle & aunt, cousins, nephew, son-in-law & grandchildren), as well as old friends took the trouble to travel sometimes long distances to be at the party. It was astonishing to see folk we had not met since our wedding day way back in 1969! A number of them gave little speeches and said kind things about me which I'm not sure are totally true! There was also a quiz on 1947, the year I was born. (I am trying hard to find time to write personally to those who attended the party. But if you were there and you read this beforehand... a BIG thankyou for being in on the secret!)
A trip to England is never complete without at least a short visit to see our daughter, Lorna, and her family in Thatcham (Berkshire). We were able to spend a couple of days with them before flying back to Madrid on Tuesday 3rd April.
Click here for more photos of our stay in Wales, and here for pictures we took of our time with Lorna, Simon and the grandchildren.
On Saturday 17th March I led a third Godly Play workshop at the Spanish seaside resort of Salou (Tarragona) - although I never get to enjoy the beach! The workshop centred on the 'Liturgical Action' genre of Godly Play, more specifically on the Advent stories. Seventeen trainees from three local churches took part in the 8-hour workshop.
Taking advantage of my stay in Salou, there were other opportunities to present Godly Play stories. On the Saturday evening, after the workshop, I led a Godly Play story with about 15 young people. And on Sunday I took a children's class with about 20 boys and girls who responded well to the Godly Play approach. Finally, in the evening service, there was a chance to present a Godly Play story as part of the sermon.
Click HERE or HERE to view more photos of the workshop.
Monday, February 26, 2007
It's been some time since I offered my readers an update on activities I've been involved in. Here's a brief overview of events since the beginning of the New Year . I'm sorry my posts have not been so frequent on this blog over the past couple of months!
New Year's Dinner
Every New Year, members of the Asociación de Educadores Evangélicos de Madrid (Madrid Christian Educators' Association) get together for a meal. This year it took place on 3rd January. Here are a couple of photos of the event.
Photos: (1) Here I am (2nd left) with some of the other participants at the meal, (2) Cilla (right) with a friend
From 9th to 19th January, I was a resident teacher at IBSTE (Instituto Bíblico y Seminario de Teología de España), at Castelldefels, near Barcelona, where I teach a course on Children's Ministry. Taking advantage of my stay there, on Saturday 13th January, the Institute organized an introductory seminar on Godly Play for local children's workers and Sunday school teachers. Eleven people attended the seminar from churches in Barcelona, Girona and Lerida.
Godly Play is an imaginative approach to engaging in Bible stories with children or older people. Since 2004, I have been promoting this method with Scripture Union in Spain. So far, a number of churches in Madrid and Barcelona are already using Godly Play regularly and many other Christian educators have expressed interest in the method.
Photos: (1) Examining Godly Play materials, (2) Students at IBSTE - creative group activity during the course in Children's Ministry
Parables in Bilbao
On 3rd February, I was in Barakaldo, near Bilbao, leading a Godly Play workshop based on Jesus' parables. Eleven children's workers and teachers took part in the practical workshop, which involved learning and practising Godly Play stories, and making their own resource materials.
Here are a few photographs of the workshop.
I flew to Barcelona for Unión Bíblica (Scripture Union Spain) committee meetings, which took place on 9th & 10th February... my 60th birthday!!!
Residential training weekend near Madrid
From 16th to 18th February, I took part in a training event for children's and youth workers, as well as the leaders of parenting courses. The venue was a Catholic retreat centre at Los Negrales, near Madrid. The weekend was organized by the Asociación de Educadores Evangélicos de Madrid.
The training for children's workers is based on a course I put together for Unión Bíblica (Scripture Union Spain) many years ago, and which continues to run through a cycle of three residential weekends. Seven participants from Madrid and Granada attended the first of these events this year.
The weekend covered subjects such as 'Jesus of Nazareth's teaching methods', 'Child theology', 'Communication', 'All-age worship and learning activities', 'Using drama in teaching' and 'Planning special events'.
Training in informal education - near León
Last weekend (23rd-25th February), I was in a small rural town called Toral de los Guzmanes, near the cathedral city of León, as one of the trainers on a course of informal education for future leaders in children's clubs, camps, etc., run by the Escuela Evangélica de Tiempo Libre Eduardo Turrall. Most of the 26 participants on the course were young people from towns and villages in the area, who were themselves not Christians or churchgoers. The course had been recommended to them by their own local town administrations! My own input to the weekend covered the areas of 'Analysis of the environment (needs assessment, etc.)' and 'Group dynamics'.
Monday, January 01, 2007
22 Valencia: Introduction to Godly Play, 'La Buena Nueva' Baptist Church, c/ Alcalde Albors 17 bajo. Contact: Julio Mengual: 652 907 589 firstname.lastname@example.org
28-30 Los Negrales (Madrid): Residential weekend training for children's workers: Working with children today, in partnership with the Asociación de Educadores Evangélicos de Madrid. Contact: Luis-Ignacio González: 696 506 551 email@example.com
5-6 Castiñeiras (A Coruña): World Weekend of Prayer for children at risk - prayer activities for children & church service, Castiñeiras-Riveira Evangelical Church.
12 Castiñeiras (A Coruña): II Godly Play Workshop - teaching children sacred stories, Castiñeiras-Riveira Evangelical Church.