Fellowship Group 2019

 

Lent Groups, Fellowship Groups and the Alpha Course 

Rev Guy Hewlett. 

This year Ash Wednesday falls on the 6th March and from the following week there will be 3 Lent Groups starting in the parish, details of times are given at the end of this article! 

Last year one of the Lent Groups decided to carry on meeting as a Fellowship Group and the group then decided to do the Alpha Course material together. 

Fellowship Groups are a wonderful way to meet together in the safety of a confidential group where we can trust each other and share those things which are closest to our hearts – to pray and to ask the questions which are most important to us, and to learn and grow together with God. 

Later in this year we are hoping to run another Alpha Course. 

The group which continued to meet through last year had the following ground rules which we decided on together, and kept: 

Lent Group 2018 – Ground Rules 

Confidentiality – who says what in the group is confidential to the group 

Good listening – respect each other, be open minded, opinions are not wrong 

It is fine to be quiet 

It is fine not to read 

No question is a silly question 

No answer is a silly answer 

I asked if some of the group members would be happy to write a few words about their experience in the group. Following on below are a few of those comments. 

Feel free to chat to anyone about the groups and think about joining a group for Lent and see how it goes for you,

Yours in Christ, Guy 

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Hi Revd Guy 

To me the Fellowship group is a valued opportunity to develop my faith by discussing it in confidence, and with confidence, within a small group of fellow Christians. 

While worship on its own is a vital part of Christian life, the fellowship group enables members to determine how, as individuals, we may carry our beliefs into practical actions in the context of day-to-day life. 

Martin Jones 

 

Hello Guy 

The Alpha course answers the big questions we all need to ask about Christianity whether we are new to faith or established worshippers. 

Questions like, ‘Who is Jesus?’, ‘Why and how do I pray?’, ‘What does the Holy Spirit do?’ and ‘Why and how should I tell others?’. The structure and style of the course is easily accessible, fun and thought provoking. We begin with a short prayer, followed by a video from the Alpha course, discussion and then prayers to close. 

So what did the fellowship group and Alpha do for me? 

Over the weeks we talked and prayed together I felt a confidence given from within the group to explore ideas, gain knowledge and to grow in faith. 

Taking part in the fellowship group and Alpha has encouraged me to read the Bible with a deeper understanding and to be more purposeful in how I live life in the body of Christ. By sharing our stories and our faith I feel deeply blessed and thirsty to learn more! 

Kath (Apperley) 

*** 

Dear Guy, 

Belonging to our Fellowship Group and taking part in the Alpha Course has been brilliant in helping us on our spiritual walk with God. We can listen, ask questions, discuss issues if we wish, but without any pressure. As a result, we are feeling ever closer to God in our daily lives and strengthened by His presence. 

Ray and Denise (Whittingham) 

*** 

Dear Father Guy, 

In relation to our fellowship group it seems wonderfully appropriate that I should be writing this on 12th January, the day on which Holy Church commemorates Saint Aelred, Abbot of Rievaulx. I quote in full the introductory note and collect for the day: 

'St Aelred (1109-1167) was born at Hexham and joined the Cistercian mon-astery of Rievaulx in Yorkshire. He served as Abbot at Revesby, Lincolnshire, and Rievaulx, and became known as a preacher and writer, the “Bernard of the North”. He delighted in friendship and wrote, “ He who dwells in friendship, dwells in God and God in him.” 

O God, who endowed St Aelred, Abbot of Rievaulx, with the gift of fostering Christian friendship and the wisdom to lead others in the way of holiness, grant to your people, we pray, that same spirit of fraternal affection, so that in loving one another we may know the love of Christ and rejoice in the eternal possession of your supreme goodness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.' 

What more can be / needs to be said of the blessings arising from our fellowship group, other than that we follow in an ancient tradition! 

I think I shall leave it at that for now. 

God bless, 

John (Grosvenor) 

*** 

Dear Guy, 

'I would like to say that as our group continued to meet as a Fellowship Group after first meeting one another during Lent we have continued to grow spiritually. It has been rewarding to continue to study together using material from the Alpha Course. We have been able to share in a very trusting environment when both Guy and Jackie have been most encouraging. There has also been prayer time when we have asked for specific prayers sometimes out loud and sometimes quietly. I feel it is important that small groups meet in this way in the future for the growth of both individuals and the Church as a whole.' 

Love and God bless, Joan (Sullivan). 

 

Hi Guy 

I really enjoyed the Alpha meetings it was lovely to meet new people, to share experiences and our thoughts on faith and to grow together in a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. Thanks to you and Jackie for your warm hospitality. 

Tracey (Bate)

 

Lent Group timetable for 2019