One of our goals as Alstonville Anglicans is ministry to families with a focus on children, youth, and young adults. To this end we have developed Messy Church, a fresh expression of worship that creates a safe space for people who haven’t grown up in church to experience faith. Messy Church is a great entry point into a life of faith, but how do we further develop our discipleship of the young? Among many other tools, I have found that “Godly Play” is a wonderful gift to deepen faith. Our sacred space embodies this Godly play. Over the coming weeks, I share some thoughts and experiences about how Godly Play is used in many of our worship services. Foremost, our approach is that children, youth, and families already have an experience of the Divine. What they may lack is the language to describe and deepen these experiences. Thus, our approach is not about filling them with information about God, but to experience God and reflect on that experience themselves. Story is a foundational way to experience God. Story is the most elemental way of knowing. In Godly Play, we enter into story with as much presence and attention as we can, and discover something new. Godly play is centred on story and in entering story we play with the hide-and-seek God, a God whose presence is always accessible, but also always elusive. Stories cannot be caught, they catch us. I invite you to enter into our sacred space and prayerfully gaze on and play with our Godly Play equipment, which is now a rich aspect of our liturgical life as Alstonville Anglicans.
John 14: 23-29
23 Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. 25 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.