Godly Play España - website

For up-to-date-information about Godly Play España - association, training events, articles, blog, etc. - please visit our website at godlyplay.es.


Godly Play National Annual Lecture & AGM

Parable, poetry... and Godly Play

University College 'Archbishop Fonseca'
"The exegesis of the Gospel parables has passed through five easily recognized stages. Throughout these stages these parables have been interpreted in different ways: at times as allegories and symbols, at other times as metaphors or as moral tales. In more recent times, the methods of modern literary critique have been applied to the study of the parables, and from this application have arisen new readings and interpretations. This latter line of analysis includes the hermeneutical approach of affirming the aesthetic value of the parables and their autonomy as literary works." (translation of A. J. Levoratti http://www.revistabiblica.org.ar/articulos/rb59_45.pdf)

This latter approach is the one that has been adopted by Charles W. Hedrick (Parables as Poetic Fictions. The Creative Voice of Jesus, Peabody, Massachusetts; Hendrickson Publishers: 1994), where he analyses the parables as 'poetic fictions'. He highlights their languaje as 'aesthetic objects' and thus the figures of speech that are found in them: assonance, consonance, euphony, etc.

Alfredo Pérez Alencart
What's the relationship between parable and poetry? Godly Play Spain's annual lecture for 2013 is by ALFREDO PÉREZ ALENCART, a Peruvian-Salamancan poet, a lecturer at Salamanca University, and a member of the Castilian-Leonese Academy of Poetry. His poems have been translated into German, English, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Rumanian, Indonesian, Bulgarian, Estonian, Hebrew, Serbian, Korean and Vietnamese.

DATE: Saturday 2 March 2013

PLACE: Evangelical Church in Salamanca, Paseo de la Estación 32 (http://www.iglesiaevangelica.net/) + Auditorium at the Salamanca University College of Archbishop Fonseca (http://campus.usal.es/~residen/Fonseca/index4.html).

-- The lecture 'Parable and Poetry' is free and open to the public.
-- For the whole day's programme (registration, conference folder, workshops, Godly Play session, coffee/tea, lunch and afternoon snack all included), there is a fee of 30 euro.

PROVISIONAL PROGRAMME: (all sessions will be in Spanish!)
10:00 Welcome & Godly Play session (Evangelical Church, Paseo de la Estación)
11:30 Guided walk through the Medieval heart of Salamanca (Plaza Mayor, etc.)
12:30 Public lecture + discussion (Auditorium, University College of Archbishop Fonseca)
13:30 Display of Godly Play books & materials + information about the Godly Play Spain national association (Auditorium, 'Fonseca')
14:00 Lunch (Restaurant, 'Fonseca')
15:00 Guided visit to a Godly Play classroom (Evangelical Church, Paseo de la Estación)
16:00 Workshops (options):
(a) 'The poetic language of Godly Play' (the verbal language, scripts and translation issues)
(b) 'Beginning Godly Play' (for those who are new to the method)
(c) 'Godly Play materials' (how to create your own materials)
17:30 Farewell ceremony + afternoon snack
18:00 AGM of the Godly Play Spain national association (1st call)
18:30 AGM (2nd call)
20:00 Farewell

For participants visiting Salamanca and who need accommodation (and who may wish to extend their visit in order to explore the city), we recommend thel Hotel Emperatriz (http://www.emperatrizhotel.com/) for its centrality and economic rates.

Please contact...
--Dori Alonso Santamaría... teléfono: 653683021; correo-e: joseydori [at] hotmail.com, or...
-- Arantxa Urrue Anttila... teléfono: 600417470; correo-e: atxanttila [at] hotmail.com


Programme about Godly Play on Spanish TV

Here's a link to a video about Godly Play, broadcast on Sunday, 18 March 2012, on channel 2 of the national Spanish television network, TVE. It was produced by the Protestant programme 'Buenas Noticias TV'. Focusing on the experience of the 'El Shaddai' Evangelical Church, in Madrid, this particular presentation contains scenes from a Godly Play class, comments by teachers and church leaders, and also testimonies from young people who used to take part in Godly Play classes when they were children.


National Godly Play Day

Speaker, Ulrike Labuhn (Photo: Jacqueline Alencar)
Our National Godly Play Day took place last Saturday, March 3, in Castiñeiras (La Coruña). It was attended by a couple of dozen Godly Play teachers and people interested in the method, plus a small group of children and young people. They came from different regions in Spain, such as Aragon, Catalonia, Castille-Leon, Galicia and Madrid.

This year, the gathering took place at the Evangelical Church in Castiñeiras, where there are two Godly Play classrooms as well as the space usually dedicated to services.

The main speaker was Ulrike Labuhn, a Godly Play trainer from Germany and a teacher & specialist in early years education. Ulrike spoke on the subject of 'Opening up spaces for young children's curiosity' and challenged us to take the spirituality of under 3s seriously and to use some of the Godly Play stories with them from such a tender age. Basing her main points on her own experience and research with young children in Protestant kindergartens in Potsdam and Berlin, she declared that even (or specially!) tinies are able to wonder philosophically and theologically on existential matters. "The aim of theological reflection with very young children is not to produce a final result", she stated, "but to help them practise an attitude of ongoing seeking after God. The roots of this are in early infancy and accompany us throughout the rest of our lives," 

The day's programme also included a full Godly Play session, lunch together, the AGM for the Godly Play España association and two practical afternoon workshops ('The importance of the Godly Play environment' and 'When children draw near to God'). Aditionally, there were times for worship, music, meditation and discussion.

An important aspect of the members' meeting of the association was to appoint the first Board of Directors for Godly Play España. The elected board members were: David Pritchard (president), Laura Rísquez (secretary), Maribel Flores (treasurer), Celia Paterson (member) y Raquel Souto (member).

More photos HERE


4th European Godly Play Conference - Germany 2012

The 4th European Godly Play Conference will take place September 20-24 2012 at Burg Bodenstein, a castle in the centre of Germany.

The theme of the conference is Playful Mentoring. Godly Play supports children's spiritual nurture and one of its chief features is acknowleging the contribution that play makes to a child's spiritual development. But how do Godly Play practitioners -- in their roles of storytellers and door persons (welcomers) -- understand and support this specific link between play and spiritual growth?

Certainly, much of what takes place in the Godly Play process depends to a large extent on the attitudes of the adults in the room. Therefore, this conference focuses on the role of Godly Play teachers as mentors. What do they need to do to encourage playfulness in children? How do they encounter their own needs to (re)connect spiritual experience, knowledge and community with play? What are the limits and opportunities to evaluate the Godly Play process when it is characterized by this quality of playfulness and joy? The conference programme has been designed with the aim of helping participants address these questions. There will be times to discover and to wonder, to share thoughts and to enjoy silence, to celebrate and to be surprised by the unknown.

The main language for the conference is English. However, there will be times built into the programme for work in different language groups.

'Burg Bodenstein'is a small XI century castle in the heart of today's united Germany, just a few miles from the old border ('iron curtain') separating East and West, and near the medieval city of Mühlhausen, whose cathedral the young Bach was organ master.

More information
Godly Play Germany's website contains more info in English, as well as a number of photos.
· Conference flyer
· Registration info
· Conference programme
· Children welcome
· Travel instructions
Organizing group: Hilde Delin (Norway),
Peter Privett (UK), Martin
Steinhäuser (Germany), David Pritchard
(Spain), Juha Luodeslampi (Finland),
Evamaria Simon (Germany), Rune Oystese
(Norway), Ulrike Labuhn (Germany) y
Uwe Huchthausen (Germany), who
took the photo.


Advance notice of the next Godly Play day in Spain

We now have a date for our next national Godly Play day. It will take place in Castiñeiras (in the Galician province of A Coruña) on Saturday, 3 March 2012.

The programme will include a talk/lecture, workshops and the AGM of our new Godly Play Spain association, in which we hope to elect the first board of directors, as well as agree to projects for this first stage of this new structure.

The invited speaker is Ulrike Labuhn, a Godly Play teacher trainer in Germany, a specialist in the spiritual mentoring of young children, and a recent author.

We will soon post more details about the event and the programme. Meanwhile, please note the date in your diary!

Photo: Ulrike Labuhn


Greetings from the Founder of Godly Play

The following greeting was especially written for and delivered to the delegates at the II National Godly Play Conference by the Founder of the method, Jerome Berryman. We are very grateful to Jerome for this generous and evident display of companionship with regards to the ongoing process of developing Godly Play in Spain. The greeting focuses on the theme of the conference, A Safe Space.
Welcome to the second national conference for Godly Play in Spain. It is wonderful to be able to greet you on behalf of Godly Play everywhere, but “wonder” is hard to translate. Let’s pause for just a minute, as we begin, to ask why.

Put your hands on your heart and close your teeth and lips very tight. Then gradually move your hands out as far as your arms will allow and at the same time begin to smile. Slowly, slowly show your teeth, not to snarl or bite, but to laugh. Then, laughing, fold your arms around your neighbor with a hearty hug. The embrace makes a small, circle of safety out of wonder’s expansive opening. This provides the way for the creative process to come out of hiding and begin to play. It is important for our creativity to come out of hiding, for we were created in the image of The Creator. This is why Godly Play is full of wonder.

“Wonder” is difficult to translate, because it is so fundamental to whom we are, especially as Christians. Its meaning is carried more in our bodies and expanding spirits than in our minds, which distance us from God by abstractions, analysis and logic. Wonder is the special gift of children who show us how to be open to the very tiny, such as flowers and pebbles as well as to the very large, such as a sunrise turning the mountains pink or to the metallic, gray light of an angry sky over the ocean. In such pervasive wonder God’s laughing embrace can circle us around to complete us.

Children are drawn to the larger safety of God’s embrace, but it is also strange and scary. This is why they need the smaller safety of the Godly Play circle to try it out and test it, as they learn the language that both helps them identify this experience and gives them the means to express, share, and evaluate such experiences. This is also why they need guides who are not afraid to let go of trivial safety to move with them towards the Kingdom of ultimate safety.

My prayers go with you on this journey.

Jerome Berryman (Founder of Godly Play)

A note for those who might be interested at a later time:

To know God -- beyond, beside, and within -- one needs to be able to be open to what Rudolf Otto called in 1917 “The Holy” (Das Heilige). The Holy is not just full of mystery (numinous)but is at the same time terrifying (tremendum) and fascinating (fascinans). This is why we desperately try at times to control or reduce The Holy to some kind of artificial safety, but God’s safety, a paradox of fresh springs in the desert and the solid rock of Mount Zion goes beyond space and time.
A slightly different version of this same article can be found here