Children and Godly Play

All Are Welcome

St Mary's offers a very warm welcome to families with children of all ages. We take children seriously as enquiring Christians and aim to support parents and carers in nurturing their children's faith. If you bring children to worship, no-one will 'shush' your children and our congregation is used to children being children – and not small adults! – so if they make some noise, it's fine. There is also a safe reserved space with toys in the vestry at the back of the church for any child who might need to let off some steam. Adults can see and hear the service here too.

Our programme of Christian Education for children on a Sunday is based around a method of learning through play and exploration. Godly Play is a story-telling approach to sharing and understanding the Christian Faith. Children gather in a sacred space, and in quietness and open questions, explore a bible theme or story. This is followed by their own time to express their own response to what they have heard through various methods of play and activity. Godly Play takes place during the 11am service, begin with children together with adults in the main worship space. After a short talk from one of the clergy or a prayer, the children go to the Godly Play space in the Crypt, and return in time to receive a blessing at Holy Communion, or the Sacrament if they have been admitted to Holy Communion.

Godly Play at St Mary’s

Four years ago, St Mary’s started using Godly Play in place of the traditional “Sunday School” model of Christian education and nurture for children. At the heart of the vision of Godly Play are four principles:

  • Creating Sacred Space
  • Building & Working in Community
  • Learning Religious Language
  • Using Religious Language to Make Meaning

A typical godly play session involves time to:

  • Get ready
  • Tell a story using objects and artefacts
  • Explore the story with open questions and wondering
  • Respond with a free choice using materials such as art, craft, silence, play, writing
  • Enjoy a simple feast

Our children have found it a wonderful way of being together with God and one another and our leaders love it too. To find out more contact: Cal Alphonse [email protected].

Godly Play takes place during the 11am service, except on the First Sunday of the month, when the Family@Church service takes place (see below). Children leave with a prayer from one of the clergy and return for a blessing at Holy Communion.



Our new service at 9.30am on the First Sunday of the month is aimed at those who find an 11am service is not ideal for a family with many commitments, or who prefer a shorter, more child-friendly act of worship. It is led by a small team and lasts for 45 minutes. Contact one of the clergy for more details.

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