After we get ready, hear the story, ask the wondering questions, and let our own spirit and creativity interact with the story, we're still not done. We need a way to tie together our time with God's story, to give an ending to our special time together and prepare to take it with us as we go. What can we do to make this happen?
Routines give structure, security, and a feeling of tradition. Here are our closing routines that we try to keep:
1. Read the story from the Bible. Children who would like to read volunteer to read a verse at a time. Sometimes we read the entire story and sometimes just a couple verses from it. At this time we also talk about where it is found in the Bible, Old or New Testament, which category the book falls into, etc. This is when we use the Bible boards I described in "Learning to Use the Bible."
2. We change the calendar to the next block. This could be done at the beginning of the hour, but we make it part of the closing. (This is partly a strategic move to delay the children's discussion about whose turn it is to change the calendar and the light.) We might mention what season we're in (ordinary time, Lent, Advent, etc)
3. We take prayer requests and write them down. This could be done on a white board with a dry erase marker. Then children who might worry about forgetting others' requests might feel more comfortable. Then we pray. We always ask the children if someone would like to pray. If an adult prays, it is nice for the adult to thank God for each individual child, calling each by name. This becomes sort of a personal blessing to each child and is a wonderful way to close.
4. We give one child a turn at "changing the light" and the teacher reminds the children what this signifies. I describe this in the section called "The Light."
5. We ask the children as they leave the circle to one by one approach the teacher and give her a handshake, a hug or a high five, whichever they prefer.
Children then join their parents at the door. Another Godly Play session has been enjoyed!