Sunday, 21 September 2008

'Under the Tree of Life'

Last Monday, 12 of us - 9 from the Reading and Silchester Circuit and 3 from the Slough Circuit - began the 34-week Disciple 4 study course entitled 'Under the Tree of Life'. There was a buzz of excitement as we old friends from the earlier Disciple courses met together again. After a year off we are ready to get stuck into our studies again and grow in faith and fellowship once more.

This course will concentrate on the Writings - Ruth, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations and Daniel - and, in the New Testament, the Gospel of John, 1,2,3 John, James, Jude, and Revelation. Each week we begin with a video that introduces the week's subject and explains its background, and then we discuss our homework, which comes under 3 headings - Fruit from the Tree of Life, Marks of Faithful Community and The Radical Disciple - and there is extra reading to be done each week.

This week we have an easy introductory week because we are studying the lovely, human story of Ruth, but in the next two weeks we are set the task of studying the 65chapters of Chronicles 1 and 2! So don't be surprised if I find that my time for blogging is very limited. It also coincides with a host of church meetings that expect me to be present and it's the apple-picking season! I have 5 apple trees and, though I will get help with the picking, it takes time for me to sort them out and store them properly.

Questions to be discussed this week include -

What threatens relationships of lovingkindness in families?

How does your experience of faithful community strengthen or weaken your family's cohesiveness?

What determines the effort and/or the sacrifice you are willing to make to maintain connections with extended family?

Identify some of the inconveniences that keep us from including the outsider in our family life?

What actions and attitudes overcome barriers of inconvenience?


Sally said...

sounds like a great course, I pray that you will al grow in love and grace as you study together

Olive Morgan said...

Thanks, Sally. We have enjoyed the first three Disciple courses, though Disciple 2 was my favourite. These courses require discipline to complete them but you get so much out of them. They are best when all the participants are from the same church and its Minister preaches on it each week. One of our churches did this with great effect.

Amy said...

Hi Olive! So happy to be in touch with you now that we have confirmed the connections! I was introduced to your blog before we even arrived in England by Will Grady and did my best to keep up in the midst of transition. I am now a bit more regular again with my reading.

I am so pleased to knonw that Brits are experiencing Disciple Bible Study in exciting ways. I facilitated and completed Disciple I for the first time last year, and it was quite a journey!Actually, the same group at my previous church will now soon complete Disciple II. We found that the short term studies were very useful as well because there were always people unable or unwilling to commit for 34 weeks. In fact, the short term studies got my group interested in doing Disciple I at all. I hope that you continue in the exciting discoveries that come with exploring scripture and faith!!

Let's not delay on meeting very soon!!

Olive Morgan said...

Welcome again, Amy! Yes, we live so close to each other that it would be silly to delay our meeting for too long.

It's good to know that you facilitated Disciple I in your previous church and I hope you can do the same in Thatcham. We were not aware that there was/is a short course and it may be that we can encourage churches/people in our Circuit to take the short course, for there were a number who felt that 34 weeks was too much of a commitment. Also, if you decide to run Disciple courses in Thatcham, you might like to make up any shortage in numbers by working across boundaries and advertising in the Reading and Silchester Circuit.

Yes, Will told me that he had mentioned my blog. I met him at the UK Methodist bloggers' weekend in Birmingham in January.

I'm looking forward to meeting you and Tim and following your Ministry in these two circuits!