St. Peter's Community, Hinckley
Have I got Good News for you?
A programme of Formation in Faith 2012
In recent months, the Pope has spoken repeatedly of what he calls the "new evangelisation'' and there is a synod bishops due to take place on this topic this year. In an increasingly secular world the need has finally been perceived for a new preaching of the Word of God, a new explanation of who Jesus is and what believing in Him might mean, rather as took place in the first days of the Church. It is almost as if we are having to 'start again' in telling people the message of Jesus and inviting them to honour Him. But we must be careful. What appears to be the approach 'from above' is not necessarily appropriate and betrays a church that may becoming out of touch with where people are: more centralisation, clericalisation, re-imposition of old practices, translation of the texts of our prayer into complicated language, with the resulting perception that we are 'going backwards', as very many people have commented just lately. There is also an approach within some Christian evangelical communities of 'selling' the message of Our Lord as 'something that will be good for you' in a marketing strategy that can turn us inwards rather than looking outwards at Him and others, and ignore our propensity to weakness and sin which needs God's grace and mercy continually.
We remind ourselves of course of the words of St. Augustine: "the evidence for God from someone else is not what that person says but what, believing in God, he uniquely is". If we want people to believe in God and Jesus Christ and if we want His message to be 'Good News' for them, then it must be 'Good News' for us, first, and be reflected in the manner in which we live our lives. So what do we believe and who do we believe in? Do we know the answers to these questions or do we presume that we do? What can we honestly tell our children to explain why we do what we do? How can we encourage them to be outward-looking, generous and cheerful rather than introspective, self-seeking and moody?
We would like to propose four ways of 'telling the Good News' through group conversations with each other, wherein we can all contribute from our own experience as believers and share it with each other:
a) A fortnightly gathering for retired people on Tuesday afternoons at 2.00pm. Many parishioners have not long retired and this does not mean that they have removed their brains! Now there is more time for reflection, study and prayer as well as the grandparently duties that seem to come your way all too frequently! These sessions will be led by Valerie Mason with some of our pastoral team and will end with tea.
b) Sunday evening gatherings every fortnight for anyone interested in our faith, whether they profess it or not, from 5.00-6.00pm with Fr. Frank
c) Young people's monthly evenings for those recently confirmed and anyone aged 13-18 on Friday evenings from 7.00pm, including supper
d) A specialised programme of formation for SPANNED undertaken by the Sunshine Club as well as the other SPANNED groups for the next year.
In this way we hope to be able to encourage each other and help each other by sharing our experiences, doubts, highs and lows. This is not something that we should think about casually; it is, in the Pope's words, the most urgent need in the Christian Church at the moment, before we run ‘out of fuel'
Below is a list of the dates and times of all the sessions between now and July.