Adult Education Series: Catholic Evangelism
Our discussions for this series will be based around the work of the current Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, who wrote a book Catholic Evangelism for the Affirming Catholicism book series. Cottrell’s work focuses on how churches can create a culture of evangelism while remaining open, affirming, and Anglo-Catholic.
Dec. 5th: We’ll begin our series by focusing on the initial section of Catholic Evangelism that defines and explores the meaning of evangelism, evangelization, and mission. It will be helpful for our discussion if you can reflect ahead of time on two topics. First, what role do we think discipleship and making disciples plays in our parish? Second, what part does our own spirituality play in the work of evangelism? Do we pray for new people? How does our spirituality manifest itself (or not) in our lives?
Dec. 12th: The reading will remain the same from last week, but our discussion will be about our own lives of discipleship as something we are inviting people into as a church. We will be able to talk about the practices that sustain our own journey in the faith as well as what are some potential hindrances to sharing that faith with others. Please take some time to reflect before our time together on prayers and practices that fill your heart and help you strive to lead the Sermon on the Mount life we talked about last week.
Dec. 19th & 26th: Our focus this week will be on the purpose of the church and its mission. To get our discussion going please take some time to complete the sentence ‘The reason we have a church here is…’ If you need some help to think about this prompt try asking yourself what would be missing if Christ Church wasn’t here or what sort of church you think Jesus wants us to be. There are no wrong answers! Your replies will help us get our discussion going as we think about our own approach to evangelism here at Christ Church.
Jan. 2nd: We will continue our discussion of Catholic Evangelism with some assistance from our very own bishop. Bishop Cole will join us to reflect on the first part of the book. I am hoping we will be able to pick up some of the discussion from this past week on the statements about what we have a church for here at Christ Church. Taking time to think through this shared vision is important ahead of the next section in the book on the kind of evangelism we can pursue. It is important to know what we are inviting people into before we start to invite them.
Jan. 9th: Our journey continues this week as we move into the next chapter of our book (pgs 19-30). The focus of this chapter is on understanding evangelism as journeying alongside other people in their journey of faith. We will discuss this way of accompaniment as it leads into a growth spiral for ourselves and for others. A helpful exercise before our discussion will be for you to think some about opportunities at Christ Church and other churches where you have experienced the kind of growth Cottrell talks about in this chapter.
Jan. 16th & 23rd: We will continue to look at the same reading from last week. Our focus this week will be on the spiritual growth diagram on page 26. Looking at this diagram, and talking through it, will allow us to share how our own faith journeys have progressed along the circle as well as how we might invite others into the journey. I especially want us to spend some time before our meeting reflecting on how Christ Church has served to move us along on our faith journey or even how it has not met that need as of now. Hopefully this session will be a time for us to share some stories and to look to the future.
Jan. 30th: This week we are moving into the final sections of Stephen Cottrell’s book on Catholic Evangelism. We will be reading the chapters that describe the shifts in involvement in the parish community. We will try to get a better sense of what those changes from seekers into travelers into pilgrims mean for others and for ourselves, as well as try to think through some of the practical aspects of making those changes. Our question for this week and the next will be “What does it look like for Christ Church to be a missionary church?”
Feb. 6th: We are wrapping up our study of Stephen Cottrell’s Catholic Evangelism. Picking up on last week’s conversation about what we find life-giving in our parish, we will turn to think about how we are listening to those outside the church. One key aspect of evangelism is learning to listen to those around us.
Sunday mornings at 9:15, you can access our meeting by any of the following methods: