Making connections

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  Newsletter 31 May 2020  
 
  Dear Visitor,

Welcome to April’s MeetPrayLove newsletter.

I remember once driving out to a Methodist chapel at Sandness on the Mainland of the Shetland Islands. As I drove over the hill I saw a bit of land and then the forever sea. I glimpsed dragons at the ends of the ocean. An amazing place – one of our many remote spots where communities continue to flourish but the presence of the established church is reducing.

In my community we face similar challenges. Strathbraan, once declining, is on the up – and we have gone from the decision to close the village school fifteen years ago to having two full minibuses of children travelling to the primary school in Dunkeld. However, the future of the church at the top of the Strath is very uncertain. It is hard to conclude much else than what is on offer is no longer what people want. So what is? Is MeetPrayLove one possible response?

Up in Inverness, Roger, a Methodist minister, is about to embark on a trip around the Highlands and Islands meeting people connected in some way to Methodism. One thing I am hoping he will ask them is what they think about meeting in small groups as a way of supporting each other. Can a small group become Church? If so, what could we do to support these small groups and ensure they feel part of the wider MeetPrayLove community? I will see if I can persuade Roger to share his findings with us as he goes along.

If we believe that God is out and about in our communities, how then do we support each other in joining in with His work? I know I find it difficult – however I know that meeting and talking with other people helps keep me sane when times get tough.

Please see below two perspectives on MeetPrayLove from two members, one in Glasgow and the other in Banchory. I’d love to hear from you about what your small group is up to if you have a spare moment to drop me a few lines. There is also a request for advice from a group ... I wonder if you can help?

With all best wishes

Sally Robertson

MeetPrayLove Editor

editor@meetpraylove.co.uk

MeetPrayLove is part of the Methodist Church and is open to all.

 

Request for help.

One of our small groups has sent in the following question:

“We also are looking for recommendations of study material that we can use to discuss the Independence Referendum. Do you know of any good stuff produced by the Churches for small groups to consider?” Please send suggestions to editor@meetpraylove.co.uk. (Also see New Small Group Resources, below.)

Thoughts from Bob in Banchory .....

Hello everyone, I'm Bob from Banchory. The Christian Small Group scene is rich in this area, and I have found you can join in with any denomination as well ecumenical groups. Anything from the Christian Men's Breakfast Group to early morning communion and a brief Bible Study – more a thought for the day, really – but traditional Bible studies there are to be joined in.

There are a number of approaches taken by the small groups I have experienced, and it largely depends upon the group make-up as to how it's conducted. For a Lent study, we are looking at the circumstances around Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and The Day of Resurrection by trying to place ourselves as individuals within these scenes in a contemplative fashion. Taking our time, we try reading the relevant passages aloud a couple of times. Different voices and different translations help here. We then singly and in silence try to picture the whole scene from outside, based on what we have heard. We then try to silently place ourselves as one of those present at the scene, listening to what's happening.  Gently coming back to the present, we write down anything significant that's come to mind, finishing up by saying the Lord's Prayer, or any centring prayer, to ourselves. We then quietly share our experiences. It can be very moving.

For a more outgoing group, it can work to tell the story or passage in the form of a film script, collectively developing the screenplay, casting the actors who could take the parts (that's a way of getting at the characters), and generally looking at the scenes and scenery needed.

It's an amazing experience not to meet in a church hall, too. Could be someone's home, or a tea shop, or even a pub!

Thoughts from Gordon in Glasgow .....

Hello, I’m wanting to start some small groups. When we start it is my intention to try out the ‘Life on the Frontline’ resource from the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity www.licc.org.uk/resources/2012/04/08/life-on-the-frontline. I chose this resource because it explores faith in the context outside of the church. We spend most of our time outside the church so what does it mean to be a Christian in our everyday contexts? I am excited about this six week course and I will let you know how it goes in the future.

New Small Group Resources

Table Talk for Scotland offers conversation starters in the form of lots of cards with questions. www.table-talk.org. Table Talk for Scotland explores some of the big questions of this great nation. Compiled by Paul Griffiths, with an introduction written by John and Olive Drane, it asks conversation starters such as:

Independence: Should Scotland be an independent country?

Celebration: What inspires you most about Scotland?

National identity: What does it mean to be Scottish?

Highlands and Lowlands: Does our landscape shape us?

Local Community: Which story defines your community?

Soapbox: What would you say?

Getting personal: Who are you really?

If you have tried TableTalk for Scotland please send MeetPrayLove your thoughts on how helpful it is for small groups. Helen and Sally have copies if you want a sneak peek!

 
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