Download from the Church Times website (or send link) and email the 3 July 2020 ‘Is the Church of England racist?’ article by Chine McDonald (and another more recent relevant article to the group if appropriate). Request that the group read it before the first session.
• Opening Prayer (3 to 5 mins)
• Welcome (3 to 5 mins)
• Establish Group Covenant (10 mins)
• Lectio Divina (5 mins to explain the first time + 10 mins to do lectio)
• Biblical Reflection Video No. 1 - Revelation 7.9 (about 8 mins)
• Moment of Silence
• Reactions to Biblical Reflection Video (5 mins)
• Lived Experiences: Jacqueline Stober Video (about 12 mins)
• Small group discussion followed by plenary (15 mins)
• Confession and Anti-racism Liturgy (5 mins)
• Close and Prayer (2 mins)
What you will need:
• A Candle (and matches)
• Bibles (or biblical verses printed to give participants) for Revelation 7.9
• The Collect for this week (the one from last Sunday)
• The Prayer for Courage’ from the Corrymeela Community by Pádraig Ó Tuama (Buy the book. It is excellent!)
• Biblical Reflection Video - Revelation 7:9 (Download using link above or watch below)
• Jacqueline Stober ‘Lived Experiences’ Video (Download using link above or watch below)
• Confession and Anti-Racism Liturgy PowerPoint (Download using link above)
Feel free to use this short liturgy or open with extemporary prayer - or a combination of both.
(Whatever works best for you and your tradition).
Light a candle in the centre of the group
Keep a moment of silence
Leader: Let us start by bringing our focus onto God and recognise God’s presence among us.
May the love and desire for justice of Jesus Christ be with you.
All: And also with you.
Leader: We put aside of stresses and preoccupations of the day, we acknowledge our hopes, fears,
and anxieties as we start this session.
We ask you to be with us, Lord.
Help us to be open and vulnerable to your presence and the learning you have for us today.
We pray in Jesus’ name.
Leader may read the collect for this week
Leader: We gather together our thoughts and prayers using the prayer that Jesus taught us:
All: Our Father…
All: All pray ‘The Prayer for Courage’ from the Corrymeela Community by Pádraig Ó Tuama to close.
Today is an introduction taster session. We’re very pleased that you are joining us for this journey. (If you wish, you could share a bit of the history of the Amazing Grace course found in the introduction with the group.)
Outline the Principles of Learning Community:
• We’re here to learn
• No experts
• Be challenged by the gospel
• Be challenged by the stories and experiences of others
• Will prioritise the voices of UKME / Global Majority Christians
• We acknowledge the leading of the Holy Spirit
Explain the flow of this session (it would help to put this on PowerPoint or a White Board as well).
Create the group covenant however you wish (either giving them a completed list or building it from scratch with suggestions from the group - or somewhere in between). That said, we would recommend that the following are included:
What is ‘Lectio Divina?’
As you probably know, it literally translates as ‘Divine Reading,’ and is a traditional Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s Word.
It does not treat Scripture as a text to be studied, but as the Living Word of God. So, it is not about getting the one ‘correct’ deep theological or accurate historical answer, but about what it says to you at this exact moment.
May we suggest people get into groups of 3 or 4 with those near them. Make sure everyone has a bible or a copy of the passage. There are many variations on how to do Lectio Divina. Here’s a variation that we will use today:
Listening for God in the Word:
How God speaks to ME and what I am invited to DO:
Please note that anyone may “pass” at any time. If a person prefers to pray silently instead of sharing with the group, then simply state this aloud and conclude your silent prayer with Amen.
We are blessed to have the Revd Canon Dr Rosalyn Murphy’s biblical reflections every week. These have been a core feature of both the online courses which ran in Coventry and Derby.
She is a biblical scholar, with masters and doctoral degrees from Durham. She is currently a vicar and Chair of the Racial Equality Action Group in the Diocese of Coventry.
Take a moment of silence to consider the Bible reflection
An opportunity to share observations or reflections in partners. If time, bring some of that back to the larger group.
Part of the Amazing Grace Learning Community experience is to listen to the experiences and wisdom of those who identify as UKME or of Global Majority Christians.
The Revd Jacqueline Stober is a Vicar and Area Dean, as well as being BAME Champion available to discuss matters relating to BAME, UKME, BIPoC or Global Christian Majority concerns in the Diocese of Derby.
In groups of 3 or 4, here are some questions to consider:
Prepare to Feedback: What are the key challenges and opportunities for our church, our communities and the world as we engage in this learning process together?
Let the group know that you will email them with further material in the next couple of days to consider during the week. We know people have varying degrees of time, so we will share everything from a book to read to short videos / articles and podcasts. This is not intended to be a book group or to require you to do hours of homework between each session.
There is no guilt or pressure to engage with everything, but people are encouraged to engage with at least something (and all are invited to include this learning community in their prayers) before we meet again next week.
Say a prayer to close, committing our actions to God, inviting the Holy Spirit to enable our continued learning with courage throughout the week. Thank everyone for joining us on this learning community journey.
Biblical Reflection on Revelation 7.9
Lived Experiences: Jacqueline Stober