Sycamore is an informal course with films about the Christian faith and its relevance for life today. It was devised in 2014 by a group of Catholic students from Newman House chaplaincy in central London led by Fr Stephen Wang, who wanted to make their faith more accessible to their fellow students. It's since been used by parishes and schools across the UK - and resonates not just with young adults but with people of every age.
Sycamore now offers a four-week Advent course that can be used in your parish, school or chaplaincy. This doesn't need to be a full-blown evangelisation programme:it can be for regular parishioners or parents or teachers, to offer them some faith-formation - great way to help people reflect on some of the Advent/Christmas themes, and to get to know each other in small groups.
Four sessions have been chosen 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/pathways/
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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