Sunday Stories: Ministry Roles

by Pamela Mclean
inspired by Godly Play® by Jerome Berryman

Sunday Stories is a lectionary-based curriculum using Montessori techniques, drawing heavily on the influence of Godly Play®.

The author of Sunday Stories, Pamela Mclean, grants permission to parents, clergy and children's ministers to use, reprint, republish, adapt and distribute Sunday Stories provided that both the authorship, and the influence from Godly Play, are credited.

It is ideal if all three leaders can meet ahead of time to rehearse the story together. Wednesday night, when the church is open for prayer group, worship rehearsal, confirmation class and knitting group, is a good time to rehearse and if possible to take photos of the rehearsal for the overhead projector and the church bulletin

The Storyteller

The Storyteller uses manipulatives and visual aids, to tell the story during “Children's Chat” time in the chancel during the main church service. The stories are taken directly from the Bible, retold in the Storyteller's own words, but often utilizing direct quotes from Scripture. The Storyteller focuses attention on the story, thereby effacing himself or herself. At the end of the story, the Storyteller dismisses the children, and hands the story materials to the Wonder Leader to take into the Story room.

The Storyteller then participates normally in the adult worship. During the Prayers, the Storyteller goes to tell the Doorkeeper that the service is almost over.

Checklist for your turn as the Storyteller:

The Wonder Leader

The Wonder Leader takes the story materials out of the chancel into the Story Room. He or she places the story materials in the middle of the Circle, and takes a seat next to the focus shelves, facing the door. As each child enters the room the Wonder Leader greets them by name, and helps them choose a place in the circle to sit.

When all the children are seated, the Wonder Leader leads them in their circle-song to help them become quiet and focussed. As the song ends, the Wonder Leader directs attention to the story materials, and begins to “wonder” about them, inviting the children to join in the wondering.

When the wondering winds down, the Wonder Leader asks the children to think about what work they want to do. One by one each child is asked what work he or she wants to do and is dismissed from the circle to get, first, his rug; and second, his work materials, which may be art supplies, or story manipulatives for that day's story or for a story that they have heard previously.

When it is time to clean up, the Wonder leader welcomes the children back into the circle, and leads them in their sending song, dismissing them one by one by name to line up at the door.

Checklist for your turn as the Wonder leader:

Before Sunday worship:

The Doorkeeper

When the Storyteller dismisses the children, the Doorkeeper leads the children up the main aisle of the nave to the centre doors, and around to the long hallway to the Story Room. At the door to the story room the Doorkeeper reminds the children to “get ready” by being calm and quiet. As each child becomes calm, the Doorkeeper invites him or her by name to enter the story room, and then waits until that child is greeted by the Wonder Leader and finds a seat, before inviting the next child to enter. When all the children have entered, the Doorkeeper takes a seat quietly just inside the closed door, waiting to help as needed. The Doorkeeper may take a child to the washroom, help a child find his art materials, invite a child to sit next to him or her if the child cannot settle down in the circle. When notified by the Storyteller, the Doorkeeper tells the children that it is time to clean up and may help them put their work away. When the children are dismissed by the Wonder leader, the Doorkeeper leads them back to the main doors of the nave, and reminds them to enter the nave quietly without disturbing the worship there.

Checklist for your turn as Doorkeeper: