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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.”

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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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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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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