Friday, November 18, 2016

Godly Play European Conference September 2016

This post is long overdue, but better late than never . . . 

In September Godly Players from all over Europe gathered in Jurmala, Latvia (near Riga) to talk, laugh, play, worship and contemplate together. 

The beautiful beach at Jurmala.
The theme of the conference was "The Best Gift"? What is our best gift to children? What is the best gift in our lives? What is the best gift that we have received through Godly Play? 

Photo credit: Alesya Asievich

As you can imagine, there was lots of Wondering. Here, David Pritchard from Spain helps us wonder about the Good Shepherd and the Worldwide Communion. 

Photo credit: Alesya Asievich
Each morning began with stories in different languages. One of my favourite things is to listen to a story in a language that I don't know. Something about the steady rhythm of the unintelligible sounds help me to focus on the gestures and experience a familiar story in a new way. 

Here Evalina from Sweden shares the Parable of the Sower. 

And Florence from Geneva shared the Great Family in French. 

Our speakers included our own Martin Steinhäuser from Germany, Rune Øystese and Henrik Syse, both from Norway. Henrik, who is a philosopher from the Peace Insitute of Oslo, spoke to us about carefully building structures where it is acceptable to question and give constructive criticism as Godly Play grows worldwide. Interestingly enough, Henrik was on the most recent Nobel Prize Committee. Although he wouldn't let us in on the Committee's decisions, I should have guessed Bob Dylan, since he quoted Dylan's songs several times during his lecture. : )

The Best Gift for me are the friendships that I have made through Godly Play. I love seeing old friends and meeting new ones!  Here I am with Tanya and Alesya from Minsk and my dear friend, Helen, with whom I have shared adventures in Belarus. 

Photo credit: Alesya Asievich
And finally, after all these years, I finally got to meet Storyteller and Vandriver from Wonderful in an Easter Kind of Way!! (By the way, she has some great posts on her site about the conference as well.) We've encouraged and been an inspiration to one other on-line for so long, and it was wonderful to find out that Storyteller is even more amazing in person. 

There were many workshops during the conference. Here, I am helping the group to wonder about the new story in "Godly Play style" about Martin Luther. We also brainstormed ideas together about a second Reformation story. 

Our time ended with a Taize service in a beautiful, old church. 

There was even enough time to see a bit of Riga. I was overwhelmed by the brightly coloured flowers and the creativity of the city!

With Ruth and Karin from Germany
at the "Dandelion Cafe" in Riga. 


  1. Better late than never! 😀
    By the way, it should be Florence from Geneva, not "Genevieve from Switzerland"! Ha! Ha!

  2. It was a great time that we all had in Latvia. By the way, Bob Dylan won the Nobel prize for Literature, not Peace!!

  3. Hi Sheila, missed your post so much; it is always so informative and vibrant! Blog more please!!