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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, October 07, 2002
    Developing in your Christian faith in contemporary Britain seems to require you take a course. There are courses from the cocktail set called 'Alpha', courses from the more thoroughly thoughtful called 'Emmaus'. And others. The question begging to be answered is around whether people may be initiated into Christian life by other means. Some must be: working alongside other Christians on social action projects, perhaps. Being mentored by the poorest on those year-out placements which can turn young people's worlds inside out, beautifully.

    Our church runs on very suburban lines so the academic model still rules. Nevertheless today I was happy to sit with a group of colleagues and dream up a new series of get-togethers for people who've only been around the church for a relatively short time. It's a course, really. But one which will be shaped by interaction with those who choose to take it up. No great prior agenda except the concern to integrate people into the life of the church and primarily into the life of God. Whatever that means for them.

    We've discovered some good material from perhaps an unlikely source - the Millennium Dome. The videos that were used in the Faith Zone of that project have been compiled by Culham College and the National Society. They're short and lively presentations on the subjects of Church in the landscape, Jesus in the UK, Worship, Healing, Education, Justice, Freedom, Mission and a final section called Beginnings, a series of quotations from children about their world, God, their feelings about their own experience. We felt they'd be ideal discussion-starters for our nascent disciples. Look forward to trying them out.