Saturday, September 29, 2012

European Godly Play Conference 2012

Last week I attended the European Godly Play Conference 2012 at Burg-Bodenstein in Thuringia, Germany. The theme was "Playful Mentoring" and there were a lot of interesting topics to discuss, but the most fun thing was the people! Who knew that here was someone telling Godly Play stories in Welsh? The languages and countries represented were amazing!

In addition to all of my German friends like Markus and Ulrike, it was exciting to meet people like David Pritchard of Spain, whom I had only previously known on-line. The Finns present knew Storyteller and were excited that I had contact with her. Helen and Anita, whom I was with in Belarus, were there as well. I also enjoyed meeting Caryl, Jeff and Rebecca from the USA. I also had lots of good conversations with some great Norwegians, Canadians, Belgians, Brits and Australians.

We also premiered the English translation of the "Was ist Godly Play?" film. I recruited David and Helen to help with the voiceovers. Soon we will have it somewhere on-line for you to look at. Many of the people in the film were in the room and found it interesting to suddenly hear themselves in English.: )

The two main plenary sessions that I heard were about "Mentoring in Playing" with Rüdiger Maschwitz of Germany (I got recruited to translate for him! I haven't translated very many philosophical lectures in German, so that was a bit challenging.) and "The Role of Smile in Spiritual Development" by Juha from Finland. Both had some great thoughts that I will blog about later. 

Another very helpful session was about getting GP started in other countries. Helen and I attended this as we are interested in how GP will take root in the Russian-speaking world. Basically, what we discovered listening to other people's stories is that GP found its way into natural academic circles in Europe where theology and spirituality are serious topics of research and discussion. However, in the US and Canada, because the academic world is largely uninterested in these things, the spread of GP was more of a grassroots movement. I hope to blog more on this later as well.

I was having way too much fun to remember to take pictures, but here are few highlights and impressions:

We lodged at the beautiful, medieval castle, Burg-Bodenstein, in Thuringia.

Being shown around the castle grounds by a local.

Hiking around the castle.

It wouldn't be a conference in Germany
without "Kaffee und Kuchen" (coffee and cake)!

Beginning our worship service on Sunday in front of the chapel.
Heidi holds a golden parable box. I wonder what's inside.

Another interesting thing was seeing the workmanship of Godly Play carpentry shops in Europe. St. Michael's Workshop in England, Godly Play Finland, and our own Diakonie Leipzig in Germany gave workshops on making your own materials.

A nativity crafted by Johanna of Finland.

Saint figures for Godly Play: Volume 7 from
St. Michael's Workshop in England.

My favorite: Johanna's lovely 3-D wooden boards
for the story, Paul's Discovery.

I have been told that the next Godly Play European Conference will be four years from now. If you are ever able to attend, it is definitely worth it to meet so many interesting people and learn more!

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