The eight volumes of Godly Play invite children from ages 3 to 12 (and beyond) to enter into a deeper and more spontaneous and playful relationship with God. Based on the Montessori method, Godly Play uses a purposeful telling of lessons and stories, engaging storytelling materials and the community of children themselves to encourage participants to seek and find their own answers to their faith questions.
This unique approach to religious education invites children to wonder about themselves, God and the world in a way that is both playful and meaningful. Godly Play is really a practice of spiritual guidance because it respects the innate spirituality of children and encourages them to use their own curiosity and imagination to experience deeply the joy and mystery of God.
Volume 8 of The Complete Guide to Godly Play includes the following new lessons:
- The Greatest Parable
- Jesus and Jerusalem: The Story of Holy Week
- Mary, the Mother of Jesus
- Knowing Jesus in a New Way
- The Church
- The Liturgical Synthesis
It also includes a wealth of capstone insights gleaned from decades of research and practice, as well as an appendix summarizing the foundational literature and describing the entirety of the Godly Play spiral curriculum as it exists today.
"Forty years of Jerome Berryman's thought and wisdom are reflected in this long-awaited Volume 8, the capstone of The Complete Guide to Godly Play series. Containing both core and enrichment presentations, Volume 8 fills in some gaps and connects the entire scope of Godly Play materials in ways that will intrigue Godly Play learners of all ages. The presentations are complemented by the succinct introductory materials and a robust appendix including a helpful overview of the spiral curriculum to date."
—Barbara Tensen Ross, Missioner for Lifelong Christian Formation, Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, Portland, Oregon
The children I teach will be excited about these new stories, which will answer some of their frequent questions and deepen their connection with Jesus. Many parents and other adults will also benefit from the discoveries waiting between these covers. A brilliant and beautiful addition to the Godly Play “canon”!
—The Rev. Dr. Rosemary Beales, Chaplain to the Lower School, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School, Alexandria, Virginia, and Accredited Godly Play Trainer
Volume 8 weaves together many story strands from the previous volumes, revealing the rich texture of Godly Play. Key stories form The Greatest Parable and the impressionistic Faces of Easter are brought into sharp focus in Knowing Jesus in a New Way. This final synthesis represents the culmination of a lifetime's work by Jerome Berryman and reveals the Montessori roots and the mature depth of the Godly Play curriculum. Adults and children will be blessed by playfully wondering about these stories. —Pastor Judyth Roberts, Godly Play Project Consultant, Synod of NSW and the ACT, Uniting Church in Australia (Sydney)
This volume is a worthy capstone to the Godly Play curriculum series. It combines the deep theological grounding and complex thought we have come to expect from Godly Play, presented within accessible and deceptively simple forms. The inclusion of materials on Holy Week and Easter will be particularly welcome to teachers. The lessons here provide excellent frameworks for teaching and learning, particularly for older children ready for the challenge of serious theological reflection.
—The Reverend Susanna Singer, PhD, Associate Professor of Ministry Development, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, CA.
Once again, Jerome Berryman has employed his extensive experience with children to develop stories that will engage them and help make meaning of life and faith. This volume focuses on the stories of people who encountered Jesus before and after his resurrection, and invites today's hearers to encounter Jesus in their own time and place. Using verbal and non-verbal language, The Greatest Parable invites hearers to become part of the story of Jesus, the "Parable Maker." Knowing Jesus in a New Way allows hearers to consider the many ways that Jesus has been known throughout time and can be known to us in our time. The Complete Guide to Godly Play Volume 8 integrates and extends all of the stories and materials in Godly Play and allows participants to integrate their own lives with the stories of the Christian faith.
—Amy Crawford, Godly Play Storyteller and Trainer, Director of Godly Play Canada. Program Minister, Children and Youth with The United Church of Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
One of the most exciting things about Godly Play is the way that it draws us deeper into the mystery of God with us. The presentations in Volume 8 continue to do this, creating complex connections across the scriptural and liturgical stories, inviting children to wonder deeply as to where they find themselves within them. Again we are reminded that Godly Play is not simply storytelling, but a way of immersing ourselves within the story that God continues to write amongst his people – the story of which we are a part. —National Children's Adviser, Archbishops’ Council, Church House, London, England
This is a significant addition to Jerome’s work and an invaluable lifelong formation guide. Children and adults in all developmental stages will benefit from the simplicity of the stories. Personally, my own spiritual formation has developed deeply due to Godly Play. Storytellers will appreciate the flexibility and flow of The Greatest Parable.
—Jamie Martin Currie, Missioner for Christian Education, The Episcopal Diocese of Texas, Houston, Texas
Godly Play volumes may be easy-to-read and use, but behind that ease is a world of open-minded theology that changes our thinking and opens us up to “wonder.” Volume 8 introduces a new era of such wondering. Even those of us long experienced in the use of Godly play will find ourselves wondering with Jesus in a New Way.
—Juha Luodeslampi is Senior Lecturer in the Finnish Institute for Religious Education