Trainings & Programs

People at a "Learning in the Light" Friends School Training

Faith & Play™ stories are best shared by teachers, parents, and other adult mentors who have attended a training workshop. Many Friends describe their experience of attending a training as “spiritual retreat” as well as a workshop for learning new skills. Trainings are an opportunity to gather with a community of practitioners, deepen your practice, and gain clarity about the “hows and whys” of the method used with both Godly Play® and Faith & Play stories.

Training is scheduled through Faith & Play Stories, which works with a local meeting, yearly meeting, Friends school or Quaker conference center to schedule and host the event. Training is usually held over a weekend. The schedule will reflect the needs of the host group as well as the requirements of training.

Training is available for Friends in local meetings and teachers in Friends schools who wish to use Godly Play and Faith & Play in religious education or Quaker studies programs. Participants learn and practice skills to help children listen, wonder, and play in spiritual community through core stories from the Bible, and Quaker faith and practice. All trainings are led by an experienced, certified Godly Play trainer who is a Friend deeply familiar with Faith & Play stories.

Introduction to Faith & Play

Faith & Play Stories offers a 90-minute in-person or online introductory event that includes a story session, introduces the development of Faith & Play, and explores the key elements of the Godly Play method. Available on request at no cost.

Playing in the Light

Training for Friends using Faith & Play and Godly Play in religious education settings. Models include a weekend retreat-style workshop (our basic format) and a commuter workshop over three sessions.

Learning in the Light

Training developed for Friends school educators interested in Faith & Play stories. The workshop is scheduled to support the needs of the school and teacher availability. Friends Council on Education also hosts this training occasionally.

Materials-Making

A materials-making workshop led by the Faith & Play Leadership Group is available on request, during or after a Playing in the Light training. Participants will make one set of story materials for each genre of stories covered in the training. There is an additional cost for materials, which are provided.

Journeying in the Light

A gathering for experienced practitioners of Faith & Play and Godly Play. It’s an opportunity to go deeper, explore new stories and share with other practitioners. Discussions in trainings include:

  • Exploring the spirituality of children
  • Considering the “unspoken” lessons of the teaching space and classroom structure
  • Supporting the circle of children and working with multi-age groups and diverse needs; using stories in multigenerational settings
  • Weaving Godly Play/Faith & Play stories into a children’s program with other religious education resources available to Friends

Learn More About Training

To learn more about training workshops and how you might benefit, please contact us!

Friends using Faith & Play and Godly Play stories have found that this ministry is a work in progress. Whether new to this work or a veteran teacher, we benefit from a community of practice where we can listen to one another and share ideas and experiences. The Faith & Play Facebook page is a place for this kind of sharing.

I remember with gratitude our weekend “Playing in the Light” training. I think all of us experienced that as a grace filled time with much deep sharing and many openings that are continuing.
"Playing in the Light" participant

I had taught on the kindergarten, elementary and college level, and had experience teaching First Day School and leading workshops. I was an experienced teacher. After participating in two or three Godly Play® lessons at an ecumenical teachers’ event, I was deeply moved and inspired by the experience. Feeling I had a good grasp of the concept and an adequate understanding of the basic technique I began experimenting with Godly Play®, even telling the stories in Quaker workshops. It was not until several years later, when I received training and was certified as a Godly Play® teacher, that I realized I had not, in fact, adequately understood the hows and whys and whens of Godly Play® during those years of experimentation. Only after that weekend training was I able to write the drafts that, after diligent testing and editing with other trained storytellers, became some of the first Faith & Play stories in publication.
Michael Gibson

co-author, Faith & Play

I have used the stories a lot in my meeting. It has been a wonderful tool for me. I think back to the workshop as a really deep time of learning and growing.
"Playing in the Light" participant

Trainers

Caryl Menkhus Creswell
Caryl, a member of West Hills Friends Meeting in Portland, Oregon, is a recorded as a minister by Sierra-Cascades Yearly Meeting and a Godly Play trainer since 2000. She was part of the early dreaming of Faith & Play and has witnessed and accompanied its growth and development especially through an ongoing soul connection with Melinda Wenner Bradley over the years. She has led trainings nationally and internationally and as a Spanish speaker has taken Godly Play and Faith & Play to Quaker Meetings in Cuba, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Mexico. She has trained Godly Play trainers in Uruguay, Spain, and the United States. An ongoing interest is adapting Godly Play and Faith & Play to Latin American programmed meetings often with limited resources. Children’s spirituality and narrative are particular interests. She has been in a weekly circle with children for the past twenty years. Caryl is also a Courage & Renewal® facilitator, a program based on the work of Parker Palmer. Caryl and her spouse, Jeff Creswell, an accredited Godly Play trainer since 2012, frequently co-facilitate trainings, workshops, and retreats.

Caryl Menkhus Creswell

Melinda Wenner Bradley
Since 2010, Melinda has led more than 50 trainings in the US and shared Faith & Play and Godly Play stories in children’s religious education programs, multigenerational worship, school classrooms, teacher workshops, and international gatherings of Quakers in Peru, England, and Kenya. She is a co-author and editor of Faith & Play: Quaker Stories for Friends Trained in the Godly Play Method, and is the Director of Communications and Training for Faith & Play Stories, Inc. Melinda currently serves as a trainer liaison on the Education Committee of the Godly Play Foundation Board and on the Foundation’s Anti-Racism Task Force. She is a member of West Chester (PA) Meeting and serves as staff for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting as the Youth Religious Life Coordinator. She was a Friends school educator for twenty years, and her ministry weaves together interests in children’s spiritual lives, program development, and support for parents and teachers in Quaker meetings and Friends schools. Her three teenage children were raised on Godly Play and Faith & Play stories, and what she most enjoys is being in a circle on the floor with children, wondering together.

Melinda Wenner Bradley