Sunday, June 29, 2014

Have Godly Play, Will Travel

Although most of the Godly Play training that I do is in Berlin, occasionally I get to travel to new places. Recently, I got to visit Brussels, Belgium when some friends and colleagues at an international church asked me to come and do an introductory Godly Play seminar. 

Since Godly Play is all about community and ecumenical connectedness, I immediately contacted my Godly Play colleagues in Belgium to see if they wanted to join in the fun. To my delight, Katie, a trainer in Flanders whom I knew from our Trainers' Training in Holland in 2012, agreed to come and co-lead the seminar with me. 

Our time together began on Friday evening where we wondered together about children - what we can learn from them, how they are perceived culturally, their history with the church and theologians, how to encourage their spirituality and cultivate faith, and what their role within the church could be today. Being an international church, the participants were from all over the world, so this added to the discussion.

Then, on Saturday, we got into the nuts and bolts of what Godly Play is and how to do it. In the picture below, the participants experienced a full Godly Play session with a Response Time. Katie, the Storyteller, sat near the story materials and observed. I was her Door Person (Co-Teacher) and assisted anyone who needed help. 

Katie and I told stories from the Sacred and Parable genres and then explained the theory and practicals of Godly Play. The participants will need further training at some point, should they decide to fully implement Godly Play, but our seminar was enough to get them started. 
This is Katie, my friend Kristyn who invited us to come, and me.

I also got to see a bit of Brussels! 

Kristyn and I in front of the Notre Dame du Sablon, a lovely Gothic structure. 

Doesn't this food look amazing? 

We had to see the famed statue of "Mannekin Pis", but my picture didn't turn out so well in front of the actual fountain. So I opted for this kitschy replica in front of a waffle shop. He's wearing Belgium's colors in the World Cup and holding a waffle. I have a bag of Neuhaus pralines in my hand, something that Belgium is well-known for. If you have never had real Belgian chocolate, you are missing out!
One thing I realized on this trip is how ignorant I am of Belgium's history and culture. Really, the only things I knew about Belgium were its location on the map and that French and Flemish are two official languages. It was nice on this trip to hear more about the country's history and its impact on Europe and the world. 

In talking to Katie, I learned that interestingly enough, there is no "Godly Play Belgium", so to speak, but rather "Godly Play Dutch" that includes the Flemish speakers in Belgium and the Dutch speakers in the Netherlands. As of yet, there are no French-speaking Godly Players in Belgium, and that is one reason that there is no "Godly Play Belgium".

Fortunately, I am not the only one who is not well-versed in Belgium's history. If you want a laugh, check out Jon Stewart's take on Belgium below.: )

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