Wednesday 16 January 2008


Well, I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've used that word.

A time of transitions. For Cambridge ordinands, term began last week, and I have now completed two 'Federation Intensives,' namely Race Awareness (excuse the dated sounding name) and Godly Play.

Having worked in the Caribbean, and been had similar corporate training, my expectations for this course that is compulsory for all at some stage were a little mixed. The issue of racism is clearly a live one, but it is all too easy to end up with a less than useful guilt-fest, exposing authentic and imagined guilt.

In fact I both enjoyed and, I believe, benefited from this course, given a light touch but in no way superficially treated by Bev Thomas. What did I learn? Probably the most valuable outcome for me was finding a few new ways into understanding the issues from a more rounded perspective than I have had access to before.

One piece of that was the well-known-to-many-but-not-me "Blue eyes/brown eyes" exercise. If you know it, read on. If not, grab this link:

Next came Godly Play, looking at and working with a specific system of religious education - OK, that makes it sound deadly, which it wasn't - and introducing the topic of spiritual development in children. This topic seems to stir up strong feelings one way or another, although because the term sounds rather generic it's hard to know how directly people have experienced what we saw, which was an environment, methods and resources (related to the Montessori tradition), not simply a way of telling stories.

We were led by Rebecca Nye, an academic turned practitioner who first brought Godly Play here, and had a great time, mostly at floor level getting a child's eye view of the process.

I could go on, but I'm more inclined to direct you to the Godly Play UK website, and do a little more reading and reflecting myself. I will say that I was impressed by what I saw, and the approach made sense of some of the joys and the frustrations from my own experience working with younger children in a church context.

(Oh, and frustratingly I used some response time in our complete session to start a poem on journeys, but I think I must have left it behind, bah, I need to go ahead of the admittedly weak - sorry! - 'Turkey.')

This blog also proves that my 'new' laptop seems to work. The old one has a serious problem with its screen, and it turned out that a second hand laptop was more viable than a repair. This one came via eBay, and I confess to a little nervousness, but so far so good...

The normal teaching timetable starts tomorrow, so this is the calm before the storm. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more...

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It's great to get comments - a good way to encourage, challenge and help me! Thank you. Jeremy