Theresa and Curtis Allen have been members of Christ Church for over six years. Curtis joyfully expresses his faith through music as a member of the Chancel Choir, while Theresa volunteers in the Children and Families ministry as a Godly Play teacher. According to Theresa, serving God in this way has transformed the couple’s experience of “church” into an even greater sense of community.
The Godly Play curriculum uses storytelling, reflection and play to explore the mystery of God’s presence in our lives. It teaches young children to listen for God and to form authentic and creative responses to God’s call in our lives.
Like Godly Play founder Jerome Berryman, Theresa is a credentialed Montessori teacher. She began serving as a children’s formation teacher here about four years ago, when a friend whose children attended the classes suggested she might enjoy it.
“I believe children learn when they experience something first through play. Godly Play offers children the opportunity to experience our faith through story, wonder, and play. As a Godly play teacher, I’ve grown to love the wonder part above all” Theresa says.
Our Godly Play program makes its home in the new Formation + Arts building. As you cross the threshold into the sacred space of a Godly Play classroom, you sense that this is a place of worship, of important work. The materials used to facilitate storytelling are beautiful, uncluttered, and treated with reverence.
Unlike traditional “Sunday School” lessons, which teach “to/at” children, Godly Play involves the children in the process, teaching – and learning – WITH them. “In Godly Play I always feel like we are learning or experiencing the story together. I’m not a teacher, I am simply a guide” says Theresa.
“I absolutely love the ‘wonderings’ the children have, and how they find themselves in the story” Theresa adds. A recent session featured the story of Ruth. During the wondering time, a young boy thoughtfully expressed that an important part of the story is that “even if you lose family, there is always more family for you.”
“He was referring to Ruth’s response to Naomi” Theresa explains. ‘Where you go, I will go; where you live, I will live; your people [family] will be my people [family] and your God will be my God.’
“This is another reason I love Godly Play. Children can share something that helps me–that I didn’t see. It’s called Children’s Formation, but for me, it’s often Adult Formation” Theresa adds.
Godly Play and all of our children’s Christian formation offerings are a vital aspect of A New Day at Christ Church. Your gifts of time, talent and treasure help to ensure that we can continue to deliver excellent Christian educational and spiritual experiences for children today and for generations to come.