ANVIL Journal of Theology and Mission

“Doing theology with a child in the midst” is at the heart of the Child Theology Movement (CTM We do theology this way in the hope that the theological reflection and engagement that comes from this can inform the mission and ministry of the whole church, not just work with children. This phrase is taken from Matthew 18:2 and reflects the action of Jesus in responding to his disciples’ question about who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.

CTM evolved from international conferences about children at risk; reports of these conferences can be found on our website and give an understanding of the breadth and scope

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Thatcher, Adrian. Theology and Families. Oxford, England: Blackwell Publ. Ltd, 2007.

Thatcher, Adrian. Theology and Families. Oxford, England: Blackwell Publ. Ltd, 2007.

“I am still shocked at the lack of attention this literature ( ie that dealing with family, sexuality and marriage) gives to children…. Given the teaching of Jesus about children, this hiatus is extraordinary… Elsewhere, child neglect is crime.”- Preface ix.
Opening words like these can’t help but catch the attention of anyone committed to the aims of CTM and hungry for further well-prepared food to inform and stimulate our understanding of Christian discipleship with children set by Jesus at its heart, and both the menu and the content of what I found in Adrian Thatcher, ‘Theology and Families’, has not disappointed!
From the outset I found his work clearly and logically presented. Especially helpful is an early, thoroughgoing review, of whole

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Godly Play

Godly Play – European Perspectives on Practice and Research

Ed Martin Steinhauser and Rune Oystese

Munster: Waxmann 2018

This is a wide-ranging and substantive resource for all who are interested in Christian Education in general, and Godly Play (GP) in particular.  It is a collection of papers from fifty authors most in English and some in German covering a breadth of perspectives, a range of descriptions, a variety of research and analysis, and information on how Godly Play has reached and developed in 17 countries.  The publication came out of a day conference in Riga Latvia, held in September 2016. Prospective readers will be interested to know that it contains a typically open and honest piece by Jerome Berryman, the founder of Godly Play.

Before presenting

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CTM Newsletter No 15 December 2017

As Christmas nears here is a brief digest of news over recent months.

In July 2016 the journal Transformation devoted an edition (Vol 33 No 3) to Children at Risk, guest- edited by Bill Prevette and Susan Greener.

The book Entry Point by Haddon Willmer and Keith White has been translated into Spanish, and published under the title Punto de Ingreso.  It is available in hard copy or a Kindle edition.

A two-part conversation on the future or futures of Child Theology took place in 2016.  The report of the event in London is on the website, and papers from Melbourne in hand, but a report still awaited.  Helpfully the gathering at High Leigh listed a raft of possible ideas and actions, and the new board has begun to process these.

In June this

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Children as burdens or gifts?

Christmas, the season for gifts and children, is approaching, and lately I’ve followed some discussions on social media about whether children themselves are secretly seen as burdens rather than gifts by their parents. Unlike in the Hebrew Bible where children are considered God’s gift to the Chosen People, in secularized Western communities we tend to prioritize individual freedom before family or clan. Traditionally, children are idealized in our culture and represent the innocent and good in life, are precious objects worth cherishing and protecting. On the other hand, real children demand adult time, energy and resources which creates conflicts and exhaustion, and limits the possibility of adult personal self-fulfillment. I recently re-read the anthology The Child in Christian Thought and found inspiration from previous thinkers on children as God’s gifts.


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Clifton-Soderstrom, Michelle, and David Bjorlin. Incorporating Children in Worship: Mark of the Kingdom

Review for the Child Theology Movement Web site, 21.09.2017
Clifton-Soderstrom, Michelle, and David Bjorlin. Incorporating Children in Worship: Mark of the Kingdom. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014

In his forward, the United Methodist Bishop, William H Willimon of Duke Divinity School writes:”Some of the most revolutionary, counter-cultural statements that Jesus made were about children…in the realm of God, helpless, dependent, vulnerable, of marginalized children are at the centre, the point of Incarnation.”
The authors share this unequivocal and enthusiastic conviction regarding the significance of children in our understanding and experience of church life and mission:
” God’s saving history would look radically different without children; to the point that it would not be recognizable as Christianity.”
The particular focus of their study is to address what they identify as an ecclesially debilitating lack of scholarly

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Couture, Pamela, Seeing Children, Seeing God: A Practical Theology of Children and Poverty

Review for Child Theology Movement Web page. 21.09.2017

Couture, Pamela. Seeing Children, Seeing God: A Practical Theology of Children and Poverty. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2000.

In the forward and introduction , Pamela Couture’s study is described a response to the need for “…a holistic theology and praxis that incorporates the reality of poverty and the plight of children as integral to the church’s theology and practice,” and as offering “…an ethical lens through which we can focus the general work of pastoral and practical theology.”

The opening chapter of her study sets the study in the context of a global overview of children’s poverty, helpfully discriminating between material poverty and what she terms, the poverty of tenuous connections. She argues for the importance of an appreciation of relational deprivation of children

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Allen, Rev. Dr. Amy. “Reading for Inclusion: The Girl from Galilee (Luke 8:40-56).”

Allen, Rev. Dr. Amy. “Reading for Inclusion: The Girl from Galilee (Luke 8:40-56).” Journal of Childhood and Religion 7, (2017): 1–17.

Review for CTM Web page 21.09.2017

The Girl from Galilee – or as she more paternalistically known, Jairus’ daughter- lived through an extraordinary, life-renewing, encounter with Jesus. It is this encounter, as related by Luke, that Amy Allen helps us to revisit, taking the child, rather than the adults involved, as the guiding perspective.
I found this an excellent example of how a child-grounded approach to scripture can bring fresh exegetical and interpretative insights and one that is all the more to be welcomed as it comes with open access via the free on-line Journal of Childhood and Religion, JCR:
The JCR, now in its seventh volume is an excellent source of

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