Come Play at Church of the Ascension

Can play really be a meaningful way for children to encounter God?

The staff of the Church of the Ascension think it can. Along with three other parishes in its diocese, the church has found that Godly Play, a Montessori-based approach to spiritual development for children, offers a way to experience God’s love in a safe and creative context.

The church currently uses Godly Play with its two younger Sunday school classes (ages 3 to 5 and 6 to 8).

In Godly Play, a trained adult tells a story from the Bible, using wooden figures, sand, three-dimensional scenes and many touchable, tangible pieces to make the stories come alive. The children are then invited to think about how the characters might have felt and what the story might mean to them.

There are no ‘right answers.’ Adults and children wonder together about the story. Using this approach, they acknowledge that adults sometimes need to get out of the way and remember that everyone, especially children, can sense God directly.

The materials (most of them hand-made by gifted parishioners) are simple and beautiful.  Everything is child-sized. Children can take out any of the materials after the initial telling to re-tell the stories to themselves. This is a means of play that engages the imagination, invites curiosity and opens the door to both wonder and encounter. It is also a compelling way for children to slow down, breathe and listen to their hearts as they engage with the story, one another… and God.

The church found this approach works well with the two younger classes, and in intergenerational services. It also has two other Sunday school classes for older children and youth, using biblical stories, spiritual practices, dialogue, song,and the arts to explore social and ethical implications of faith.

If you are interested in learning more about Godly Play or our other programs for children and youth, please contact Ashley Russell, Director of Children and Youth Ministries, at ashley.g.russell@gmail.com, or visit the church website at http://www.churchoftheascension.ca.

Better yet, why not experience it first hand with your children by visiting us on a Sunday morning? We’re right next to Immaculata High School, facing the canal at 253 Echo Drive. Our service begins at 10:00 am.

Ascension is a diverse and inclusive community that welcomes all. We look forward to seeing you.

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