Monday, August 10, 2009

I National Godly Play Meeting, Madrid

Next October, the first Godly Play national meeting will be held in Madrid. It is aimed at teachers who are already practising Godly Play, a way of helping children engage imaginatively with Bible stories.

This gathering is being convened by David Pritchard, children's ministry coordinator of Scripture Union Spain and an accredited trainer of Godly Play. David started introducing this approach into Spain (with initial help from Peter Privett) in 2004, and throughout these last 5 years, churches and other groups throughout most of Spain have been offered introductory Godly Play days or taster sessions, as well as different workshops aimed at helping the participants get started in the method and training them in basic skills.

The result of this work is that Godly Play has now taken root in the educational practice of several local churches belonging to a range of denominations and languages (Spanish, Catalan & English speaking). Some churches are now using the method every week in their Sunday schools, whilst others more sporadically. In some places, dedicated Godly Play classrooms have been established. Other people have seen that Godly Play is useful to them in contexts beyond the church doors, and not only in their work with children.

As such rich and varied experiences have built up, David Pritchard believes that the time is right to make a stop along the way and to take a breather, so as to ponder and reflect on what has been learned so far and to share that with others. This is the reason behind this first national meeting.

The slogan for the gathering, '¡Ultreya!', means 'Onwards!', 'Press on!' or 'Keep on going!'. This word of encouragement comes from Latin –- ultra (beyond) and eia (an interjection for 'to move') -- and it was used by the Compostelan pilgrims whenever they met along the way to greet one another and to be encouraged to press on towards their destination. So, the purpose of this first national Godly Play meeting is precisely so that the participants can encourage one another mutually to carry on with their use of Godly Play.

As the next stage of the journey is considered, there will also be attention paid to the contents, structures and models of partnership and cooperation for the development of Godly Play in Spain over the next few years. One of the people attending the meeting will be Ulrike Labuhn, an accredited Godly Play teacher and trainer from Germany, who will give input regarding the growth and development of the method in that particular European country, so as to offer the gathering an element of comparison. It is hoped that other participants will also take responsibility for different aspects of the programme.

So, the meeting will be more of a consultation or discussion forum, rather than a 'conference' or 'training event' per se. It is intended mainly for practitioners of Godly Play in Spain.

The sessions will take place in both Spanish and English, and translation will be provided according to the needs of those attending.

For more information about the event, the brochure can be downloaded in Spanish or in English.


Anonymous said...

Hello! My name is Aldo. I am a 7th grader at College Heights Christian School in Joplin, Missouri. I am doing a project for my Bible class. I have to pray for a missionary every month, and I have picked you for one of my months. So, if you can give me about 5 things I can pray for you, I would happy do that.

Thank you and have a nice day!


David said...

Hi Aldo,

Thank you very much for choosing me for your project. Here are 5 items that concern me at the moment.

1) The Godly Play project here in Spain... For the churches using GP as their preferred Sunday school method. For higher quality training and a deepening understanding of this method. For the official setting up a 'Godly Play Spain' charitable association.

2) The development of a Bible-reading program for Spanish children aged 7-12... For volunteers to form a team with a view to planning promotional & support activities. For finding sufficient funds for a publishing program.

3) Recruitment of children's ministers... Now that I am in my 60s, I am looking for at least one young person to train and equip for the future continuity of this ministry. For commited young people. For funding.

4) The current economic recession... Spain seems to be faring worse than its European neighbours - e.g. there is massive unemployment - and this is affecting Christian ministry as the level of donations continues to fall.

5) My large family of children and grandchildren... Some of their jobs are under threat because of (4). For greater commitment to God and the cause of the Gospel, and a stronger sense of vocation.

Hope that helps. Many thanks for your prayers!