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If you have enjoyed Bridges and Tangents over the last few years, please visit the new Pause for Faith YouTube channel, for live streaming with Fr Stephen Wang and a video library of his talks and homilies.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE SITE and then you can SUBSCRIBE via the red button to receive notifications of coming streams and videos.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbrIxeH2TSwEc8eVwwMGv8w

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PAUSE FOR FAITH: CATHOLIC LIFE, CONVERSATION AND PRAYER

Join Fr Stephen Wang each day as he live streams on the new YouTube channel “Pause for Faith”. You can explore and subscribe to the channel here.

It’s an informal conversation about living the Christian faith, with some Catholic history, the lives of the saints, Christian teaching, spiritual traditions, practical tips for everyday life, contemporary issues facing the Church and the world, some Q&A and interviews.

Don’t be alone! The whole point of live streaming is that you can join a community of viewers who are watching and praying together.

Provisional streaming times: 11am and 8pm UK time.

 

Please subscribe/like/follow/share etc on these social media sites

YouTube: Pause for Faith

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbrIxeH2TSwEc8eVwwMGv8w

Facebook: @pauseforfaith

https://www.facebook.com/pauseforfaith

Twitter: @pauseforfaith

https://twitter.com/pauseforfaith

Instagram: pauseforfaith

https://www.instagram.com/pauseforfaith/

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From St Peter and the Apostles to the Catholic Church today

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The heroism and love of Franz and Fani Jägerstätter. A homily by Fr Stephen Wang

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Looking at the topic of love in human experience and connecting this with some reflections on love from philosophers, the bible and the Christian tradition. With reference to St John Paul II, Pope Benedict, Pope Francis and CS Lewis and the teaching of Jesus.

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The transforming power of baptism. A homily by Fr Stephen Wang

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If you are looking for resources to use in your parish or chaplaincy this Lent, check out the Sycamore Lent Course. It takes you through some of the great themes of Christian faith, and gives you a simple way of doing some faith-formation for your community. It can also be used as a tool for outreach and evangelisation, giving a gentle introduction to Christianity for those who are curious. Click here to see the topics.

Don’t be daunted – you can run the course very easily! Just choose your venue and starting date (e.g. sometime in the week of 24th Feb, so you finish before Palm Sunday); advertise to the parish or chaplaincy; ask people to come for themselves and also to bring friends; buy some nice cakes and some good coffee; show the films; have some great discussion.

For more information about Sycamore please visit the website.

The six-session Lent “pathway” is explained here.

All of planning and training information is in the Leaders’ section here.

This can be a great form of parish renewal, and it can also serve as a taster-course for the parish, to learn about Sycamore and think about how you could use it in your autumn courses.

When you take out a subscription on behalf of your parish or community this will give you access not just to the 6 week Lent course but to all the Sycamore materials for the next 12 months. It will therefore allow you to run whatever courses you wish within your community over the coming year. Click here to subscribe.

You don’t have to cook, but if you do – make sure you do it with enthusiasm and energy!! [See the photo below from the Newman House University Chaplaincy group]

TESTIMONIES

In case you missed the testimonies from Sycamore leaders that we shared last month:

Suni Perera, Osterley Parish, West London: “We finished washing up and putting away the chairs after a very successful Sycamore advent course at about 10pm yesterday and even after the hard work, we felt enlivened and energised. I am naming this “the Sycamore effect”. Having been part of every possible type of programme before, I have to say I was a sceptic. But having run Sycamore and seen the impact, we are converted. It’s a dynamic, classic and yet contemporary course that really works by building on lived experience. Eating together allowed people to become more comfortable with each other and really made the small group discussions flow. The quality of the films and the inclusivity of the materials made the sessions flow with ease. There was a good age range from people in their 30s to 80s, and parishioners were able to make new friendships and forge connections. We are already being asked when the next pathway will be run. All being well we want to use some of the resources to strengthen our confirmation programme in 2020 which starts in just a few weeks’ time. Thank you to the entire Sycamore team!”

Fr Paul Grogan, South Bradford: “We had a splendid evening – the launch of our 10-part Sycamore programme (five sessions before Christmas and five afterwards). The level of engagement in the discussion from participants was a joy to experience. We covered so much. The evening gave us all permission to share and a safe environment in which to do this. Thank you Sycamore for creating this marvellous resource.”

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From hearing to seeing to believing. A homily by Fr Stephen Wang

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Sycamore Testimonies

HAPPY NEW YEAR from all us on the Sycamore team. Many leaders have been sharing their experiences of running Sycamore over the autumn period. We have copied below two testimonies from parishes in London and Bradford. If you want to find out more about running Sycamore in your own parish, school or chaplaincy then visit the main website here: https://www.sycamore.fm/

Suni Perera, Osterley Parish, West London: “We finished washing up and putting away the chairs after a very successful Sycamore advent course at about 10pm yesterday and even after the hard work, we felt enlivened and energised. I am naming this “the Sycamore effect”. Having been part of every possible type of programme before, I have to say I was a sceptic. But having run Sycamore and seen the impact, we are converted. It’s a dynamic, classic and yet contemporary course that really works by building on lived experience. Eating together allowed people to become more comfortable with each other and really made the small group discussions flow. The quality of the films and the inclusivity of the materials made the sessions flow with ease. There was a good age range from people in their 30s to 80s, and parishioners were able to make new friendships and forge connections. We are already being asked when the next pathway will be run. All being well we want to use some of the resources to strengthen our confirmation programme in 2020 which starts in just a few weeks’ time. Thank you to the entire Sycamore team!”

Fr Paul Grogan, South Bradford: “We had a splendid evening – the launch of our 10-part Sycamore programme (five sessions before Christmas and five afterwards). The level of engagement in the discussion from participants was a joy to experience. We covered so much. The evening gave us all permission to share and a safe environment in which to do this. Thank you Sycamore for creating this marvellous resource.”

HOW TO PLAN A GROUP
If you are still unsure about whether to start a Sycamore group or how to get things going at the very beginning, remember to look at the PLANNING RESOURCES on the Sycamore website here.
The first three sections discuss:
  • Key ingredients of Sycamore
  • First steps for your team
  • Basic timetable for an enquiry session

 

 

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EVANGELISATION 2020
A new decade! A new zeal for evangelisation! A new desire to reach out to others in your local community: to family, friends, colleagues, neighbours…
Many parishes and chaplaincies have been thinking about using the Sycamore resources, and January is an ideal time to run an evangelisation course for your community.
See the main website here for more information: https://www.sycamore.fm/
See especially the “First steps for your team” page here: https://www.sycamore.fm/leaders/sycamore-planning/first-steps-for-your-team/
And for information about taking out a Sycamore subscription for your community visit here: https://www.sycamore.fm/about-sycamore/how-the-subscription-works/
Don’t be afraid of starting something new, even if you are not perfectly prepared. Remember that “the perfect is the enemy of the good”: a desire for perfection can actually get in the way of doing the ordinary, simple good things that you (and God) are capable of doing.
And remember that Facebook meme: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough”.

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Justice, truth, conscience – oh, and there is a general election this Thursday… A homily by Fr Stephen Wang

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“I felt like the world had been lifted off my shoulders”. Come to confession this Advent! A homily by Fr Stephen Wang

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Would you take an immortality pill? The Christian understanding of death. A homily by Fr Stephen Wang (From Sunday 10th November)

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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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The power of prayer and how to actually start. A homily by Fr Stephen Wang

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Sometimes prayer is just hard work! But that’s OK… A homily by Fr Stephen Wang

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Cardinal Newman: saint, scholar, and Ninja Warrior of the high-tech start-up. A homily by Fr Stephen Wang

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Carpe diem. Seize the day. Living each day as if it were your last, but also your first. Fr Stephen Wang

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From the sofa to the stranger: the biblical call to step outside yourself

A homily by Fr Stephen Wang

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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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How your faithfulness in little things prepares you for very big things ahead. A homily by Fr Stephen Wang

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Swipe left or swipe right? How does God approach us and how do we approach the stranger?

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From poker to faith: the necessity of going “all-in” for Jesus Christ. A homily by Fr Stephen Wang

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You don’t need to be ready, you just need to be open: to God and to his plans. A homily by Fr Stephen Wang

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So many Christians long to share there faith but are unsure how to start. It’s hard to do alone, so why not get together with one or two others from your parish or community and start a small evangelisation team? Don’t be daunted! You only need to take one step at a time.
To see how Sycamore could help your team, visit here:
https://www.sycamore.fm/about-sycamore/why-start-a-group/
For practical advice about how to move forward see the Sycamore planning materials here:
https://www.sycamore.fm/leaders/sycamore-planning/

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Christians don’t need more doctrine they need more moral courage. A homily by Fr Stephen Wang

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The heart of the priesthood: a life of love and service. A homily by Fr Stephen Wang at the Silver Jubilee Mass of Fr Paul Grogan.

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A Trinitarian God. A God of the impossible. A God of miracles. A homily by Fr Stephen Wang

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From the Word of God to a mysticism of the heart. A homily by Fr Stephen Wang

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The many seasons of marriage: from high romance to everyday faithfulness. A homily by Fr Stephen Wang from the wedding of Michal and Ala in Poland, June 2019, with simultaneous translation by Agata.

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