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SYCAMORE ADVENT COURSE

SYCAMORE ADVENT COURSE

A great way to use the Sycamore resources is to run a four-week Advent course in your parish, school or chaplaincy. This doesn’t need to be a full-blown evangelisation programme: you could aim it at your regular parishioners or parents or teachers, to offer them some faith-formation. It’s a great way to help people reflect on some of the Advent/Christmas themes, and to get to know each other in small groups.

We have chosen four sessions that connect with some of the liturgical themes of Advent: The Search for God (Film 1), A God Who Speaks (Film 3), The Bible (Film 6), and The Power of Prayer (Film 8). You can give people the full “Sycamore experience” and invite them to a delicious meal and have an evening together. Or you can keep things much simpler and shorter, and just have some coffee and cake as you watch the films and move into the discussion groups. We suggest that you start in the week of 25 November so you don’t run into Christmas.

A short course like this is a great way of introducing Sycamore to your community: it will help them appreciate the beauty of the resources and the simplicity of the methodology. Hopefully some of the participants will become excited about using Sycamore in other ways in the new year.

For the Advent course itself, you don’t need a great deal of training or preparation if you are running it “in house”. You just need plan the venue and times, create a welcoming environment, and have the films ready to show. The discussion questions are built into the films to make things as easy as possible for leaders.

If you take out a subscription now for your parish, school or chaplaincy, this gives you 12 months’ access to all the Sycamore resources, so you can use Sycamore to help with your evangelisation or catechesis in the new year. We also have a six-week Lent course as a follow up to the Advent course. There are many different ways of using the resources in your community.

See the main Sycamore site here for general information about the programme: www.sycamore.fm

Information about how to subscribe is here: www.sycamore.fm/plans/register

All of the planning and training information you need is in the Leaders’ section here: www.sycamore.fm/leaders

The four-session Advent “pathway” is explained here: www.sycamore.fm/leaders/pathways

And if you are not sure about the benefits of Sycamore then see the “Why Start a Group?” section here: www.sycamore.fm/about-sycamore/why-start-a-group

 

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SYCAMORE: A NEW PROGRAMME OF EVANGELISATION, CATECHESIS, AND FAITH FORMATION

https://www.sycamore.fm/ 

Sycamore has launched! Visit our website to see how you could use the resources in your parish, school, chaplaincy and beyond.

WHAT IS SYCAMORE?

Sycamore is an informal course about the Christian faith and its relevance for life today. It gives people space to meet others, share ideas, explore their beliefs, and think about questions that really matter.

Each Sycamore session involves a short film and time for discussion. There’s no pressure and no commitment. People can be themselves without any fear of being judged. There’s a real sense of community, a spirit of friendship, some great conversation, and often some delicious food. Everyone is welcome.

The high-quality films are engaging, thought-provoking, and accessible to those with little or no religious background. They explore the richness of the Christian tradition from a Catholic perspective, connecting the core Christian message with a vision of the sacramental and moral life. They also appeal to people from different Christian traditions and backgrounds. The films are presented by Fr Stephen Wang, a Catholic priest in London with much experience in teaching and media work, and they include Christian testimonies and street interviews about the challenges of believing today.

Sycamore has been created for parishes, schools, university chaplaincies, prisons and beyond. It develops leaders, builds community, creates genuine friendships, and helps the wider Christian community to become more open and welcoming. Discussion questions are built into the films so that the sessions can be run very easily.

Why the name “Sycamore”? In the bible, Jesus comes to the town of Jericho. A man called Zacchaeus is so curious about Jesus that he climbs a Sycamore tree to get a better view. When he finally meets him, they begin a conversation, and his life is changed forever.

The films, supplementary resources and training materials for group leaders are all available online. You can register, free of charge, as a leader, which gives you access to all the planning and training materials. You can then take out a subscription on behalf of your community which allows you to view and download the films and publicity materials. See especially these online pages: What makes Sycamore different?, Key ingredients of Sycamore, and Testimonials from Leaders.

Sycamore is a UK Charity (“Sycamore Roman Catholic Charity”, CIO Number 1182843). You can contact us via the website.

 

FEEDBACK FROM THOSE WHO HAVE USED IT

One parish catechist gave this testimony about her experience:

“Sycamore has been an overwhelming joy for many people, it has enabled them to open their hearts and to share their faith in ways they never imagined possible.

Many people who were reluctant to speak about faith openly, have gained confidence and trust through participation in the discussion topics, and have been amazed at the difference it makes to their prayer life, to their understanding of scripture, and to their desire to develop a personal relationship with Jesus.

This is for us a grace filled and blessed moment in the life of our parish, the foundations go very deep in these groups and friendships develop and grow each year, and it’s wonderful to witness people’s growth in faith and commitment to the Lord” (Pauline from Oxford)

Praise for the programme from Christian leaders:

“A magnificent piece of work!” (Fr Chris Vipers, Director of Evangelisation, Diocese of Westminster).

“A great gift of God and just what the Church needs right now” (Fr Charlie Fox, Spiritual Director to the St Paul Street Evangelisation Movement).

“Really needed and timely. The fact that this is a British production is vital for the UK Church and the Church internationally” (Olivia Raw, Catholic Chaplain at SOAS University and School Counsellor).

“An invaluable contribution to contemporary evangelisation” (Fr Thomas White, Director of the Aquinas Institute, Rome).

“Fully comprehensive, systematically Catholic, very adaptable, and offers something dynamic, interactive and high quality” (Fr Jon Bielawski, Director of Evangelisation, Plymouth Diocese).

 

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