Children as storytellers Sacred Canopy recognizes that children provide a playful, un-auditioned embodiment of the story . This offers an opportunity for the audience to let down their guard and be caught off-guard by the story.
Metaphors in art Sacred Canopy resources recognize the power of visual symbols to move the audience beyond cognitive, either/or thinking into a unitive/paradoxical level of spiritual awareness.
Archetypal storylines Sacred Canopy resources approach the stories of the Bible as archetypes of the human experience. This is to say the stories of Adam & Eve, Abraham & Sarah, Noah, Moses, Miriam, Job, King David, Jesus, Mary and Paul are as much about ourselves as about them – who we are, our deepest struggles, our longing for wholeness and inclusion, and the pathway through suffering and loss that we are invited to walk.
A relational universe The Sacred Canopy resources encourage participants to trust the relational goodness of the Ground of all Being, however that might be named (God, Jesus, Divine Love etc.) . In the context of the Christian tradition the materials emphasize a relational Jesus, human in every way yet with a grounding in God/Spirit that makes his presence safe as a place to seek refuge and undergo conversion and spiritual growth.
Liminal space Sacred Canopy resources understand liminal space as the unseen dimension where Divine Presence is found – between stage and audience, teller and listener, longing and despair -and is considered essential part of how our stories are told. We recognize that children in the context of sacred space (church sanctuary etc) are uniquely gifted in leading an audience into liminal space.
Peacemaking Sacred Canopy resources look for truth that is confirmed by other religious and philosophical traditions, human experience, psychology and science. “For something to be true anywhere it must be true everywhere.” Sacred Canopy stories are presented not as exclusive or competitive but as a means of bridging religious divides in order to share varied interpretations of creation, humanity, suffering, hope, love and God.
Stewarding the tradition Sacred Canopy stories are not originals. They have been stewarded and passed down from one generation to the next for millennia. Our work is to care for the heart of the story while at the same time making it relevant for the times in which we live.
Jesus as an alternative narrative Sacred Canopy resources view Jesus’ as the visible sign of the unitive (God/human) presence at the centre of all things. This is a new narrative that challenges the sacred/profane dichotomy advanced by most religious systems. As the fully awakened way-finder Jesus embodies the cruciform nature of reality, i.e. the ever deepening death/resurrection cycle. When Jesus emerges on the other side of death without becoming a victim or creating victims he charts a new path and alternative narrative for the human story.
Spiritual practises (eg. mindfulness and prayer) that nurture a relational connection to Jesus and an awakening to the universal Christ are important elements of Sacred Canopy resources.
Whole-body curriculum Sacred Canopy insists on the integrated learning of a young person’s mind, body and emotional life. (“Nothing is in the intellect that didn’t come through the senses.”). Our storytelling approach understands movement as the default setting for how kids grow and learn to navigate the world. We keep kids moving with body movement, choreography, drama games, music, dance, and theatre skills.
Community Sacred Canopy resources view friendships between participants as essential to the work of sacred storytelling and, to that end, nurture community-building experiences such as shared meals, personal story-sharing, supervised sleepovers etc. We also draw on the remarkable gift that an intergenerational community of faith can offer children and youth and draw adults and elders in whenever the opportunity presents itself.