How our families continued in their relationship with God over the Covid isolation period – Melissa Cahill
Hello to all the members of St Nicholas. I have been asked to collate some of the Home Godly Play experiences of the families from St Nics with young children during the COVID isolation. As much as we were unable to connect at Church and at Godly Play, we still continued some form of Godly Play within our families at home. We wanted to share some of the activities we did with all of you, so we can continue to feel connected as a Church Family, even though we haven’t all caught up in person yet!
Leading up to Easter, although it was quite sad knowing we would not be able to attend church, it was also a little easier to arrange Godly Play with my family, as it provides a clear platform for our readings from the bible and enacting out the stories. Our first attempt was a little disorganised, though having a bit of a perfectionist personality, was more about too high expectations! Emily and Imogen were so excited to set up our Godly Play area. We set up candles on a plate on the floor, had my laptop ready to play worship songs the girls knew from school (YouTube is great for this!). The girls grabbed barbie dolls for our enactment of the bible story. We used a children’s bible so the girls could read from it easily. We also had a cup ready with water and rice crackers to do our own little ‘feast’. We said the Lord’s Prayer and then each of us said a prayer for our family and the community. I found it easier when we had set roles, everyone wanted to do everything the first time, which was too much. So we started with having set roles for the reading, the story enactment and also the asking questions about the story. My girls loved organising the Godly Play, which included, making more appropriate clothes for their dolls, dressing Jesus and the donkey, and making props. They also relished each having a lead role in the Home Church.
We also added from Verity’s suggestions and Carol’s, lighting coloured candles, and placing the various items such as the palm cross in the centre of the plate of candles. We also included standing in a circle, placing a hand on each others’ shoulder and saying a personal prayer for that family member at the conclusion of our Godly Play. Even though it was a difficult time, it’s been lovely to see my children’s development in their understanding of God and understand how they relate to Jesus.
Other families participated in more structured Home services, such as the online Zoom church services provided by a few other churches, which meant they could see other families and share a spiritual connection via online video. The Elliott family watched a lot of online ‘Bedtime Bible Stories’ which they found entertaining and perfect for primary and older age groups.
Karen and Logan enjoyed using the children’s Examen in the ‘Pray as You Go’ app. They enjoyed incorporating the Examen at the dinner table or as part of the bedtime routine. Karen and Logan explained how they loved the simplicity of the app and found the daily reflection helped them to focus on God and how he had worked in their day. Karen expressed how ‘it had been a great springboard into other conversations about school, their needs and wants and what was important to them’. Karen included the app which you can download from the App Store or access the website https://pray-as-you-go.org/.
Karen also described ‘how they held a special blessing for their puppy ‘Jack’, the newest member of their household. They lit Logan’s baptism candle as a reminder to him of God’s light and that we are responsible for looking after God’s creation. They sprinkled water on Jack to bless him from his dog bowl to remember that water is vital for God’s creation’. Karen and Logan described this as ‘a very memorable ‘service’ and one they won’t forget as a family’.
The Lotufo family read Bible story texts and watched YouTube videos of Bible stories with a discussion afterwards as part of their Godly Play at home. Julieta provided one of the stories here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYO_382TpCc the YouTube story on The Good Shepherd which she recommended to watch and discuss.
Julieta described Levi’s two favourite stories.
- The Easter Story – the story of Jesus dying and being resurrected and what this means for us today – His great sacrifice, which shows God’s love for us. They also discussed the bread and wine and what this means and why we partake of them. Julieta explained, “Levi does not like the part in which Jesus is arrested by the soldiers, he thinks this is ‘bad’ and would like to stop them from taking Jesus. However, Levi knows that happens next and the outcome. He likes the part in the story in which the tomb is empty and understands that Jesus has risen to heaven”.
- The second favourite story is David and Goliath. Julieta expressed, “Levi has a great interest in how David was able to defeat Goliath with only the use of rocks.” She explained, “they begin the story by talking about how God looked after David and received God’s favour”. Julieta added, “I secretly think he likes the story because a giant was killed by a boy who used rocks instead of the swords that the army had. Every time we read this story he always says that if he had to fight a giant he would do the same thing – I do love how his little mind works. Only 5 years of age and such innocence.”
So as you can hear from our stories, we have all found a way to continue our relationship with God and share this with our families. It has been a wonderful time for sharing and interacting together and gaining a greater insight into how our children are building a relationship with God and learning from them.