Columbia, SC — Steve Morrison was an important man who served on significant boards and fought valiantly for the disenfranchised in many courtrooms, but what you may not know about Steve is a humbler story.
For many years, Steve could be found on Sunday mornings teaching Sunday school or leading Children’s Chapel at St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, where he had been a member since 1993.
During Children’s Chapel, this magnificent teddy bear of a man would sit in the middle of a room full of children and tell the day’s Bible story. Steve taught using Godly Play, a Montessori-like curriculum in which storytellers tell the story by heart and use lovely wooden storytelling pieces to further involve the children.
I can still see Steve holding court with what we call the desert box. This is a box of sand used to illustrate stories that took place in that “dark and dangerous place” called the desert. “No one goes to the desert unless they absolutely have to. It takes courage to go there.” In finishing up the story of the “The Great Family” and God’s promise to Abraham that he would father a great family, Steve would gently bend down and scoop up a handful of sand and say, as the lesson instructs, “Now you are a part of that great family which has become as many as the stars in the sky and the grains of sand in the desert.”
Every time Steve told the story, he had a twinkle in his eye. Children loved when he was the storyteller.
What the children do not know is what it took for Steve to arrange to be there. His administrative assistant and I would go back and forth via email to find dates when Steve would be in town. He volunteered in this way up until just a year or two ago, when our storytelling ranks expanded and his travel schedule picked up.
The children — and maybe many others — also do not know that Steve was largely responsible for why St. Martin’s has such an extensive library of the beautiful Godly Play lessons.
When Steve was first exposed to the curriculum, he purchased a complete set for St. Martin’s. That was no small gift, and generations of children who never had a chance to hear his storytelling or see that twinkle in his eye will benefit from his gift for years to come.
Associate for Communication and Programs
St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church