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A Bible based challenge to build a community

by Michael Ford last modified 26 Jan, 2022 08:54 PM

The past two years have not been easy on anybody. The Revd Caroline Husband of Holy Trinity Dilton Marsh found herself wondering how best to rebuild her community. Struggling to find inspirational material to guide her, she is holding a series of conversations based and listened to her congregation instead. This led to the priorities: Being energised by faith, and seeking God's will and carrying it out.

As they celebrated Bible Sunday we launched the the idea of reading the Bible in a year, together. Caroline shares more: 
"We've got some little discussion groups that are running alongside the readings. One thing that came out of the conversations was that people lacked confidence in sharing their faith. Even though they'd grown up with it all their lives, they struggled to articulate that to their friends and to share what inspires them. So, we set up small groups that meet twice a month.  

"The discussions in the group are simple: What's inspired you over the last couple of weeks when you've been reading the Bible? What have you struggled with? If you could ask some questions to God, what would you like to ask? 
"We’ve only just started so the groups have only met  a couple of times. We haven't called them study groups or anything, or installed any 'leaders'. They will take turns sharing the leadership of the group, trying to encourage new leaders within the church, as well as people's confidence about the Bible and why they do what they do." 
Already Caroline has seen hosts start to go away and research their own questions, and she has made sure she's available for 1-1s for anyone who wants to talk more deeply whilst going through the Bible in a year. It's a brilliant initiative to unite people over scripture whilst seeing growth in faith, confidence, and numbers. Caroline continues: 
"It might be that the groups increase in size, in which case, then we can look at splitting it and creating new groups, and my hope is that we'll have lots of little groups. Last year we had a number of new members join the church, so it's also a way of integrating everybody together. We are focussing on building relationships across the church as this is a key thing that has been impacted by the pandemic." 

Another key to making this initiative accessible has been not overcomplicating the structure or asking too much of people's time: 
"Meetings are maximum one hour, and we're not trying to make it highbrow or expecting anyone to have all the answers. My hope for the year is that we'll learn together how to live with a sense of mystery of not having all the answers, and that we will develop a sense of God’s Presence with us as we read the Bible together and on our own." 

Revd Caroline hasn't just set her eyes on building relationships within the church, but has also made moves to connect with the wider community. One brilliantly unique idea has been Lego Church: 
"At the moment, we don't have very much contact with young families, so we're trying to show families that they're particularly wanted and welcome. It's still very new, and we're still finding our feet again, but it's wonderful. The children just love it. We share a Bible story, we pray together, the children talk about it and they make Lego models in response to the story. Through this they tell the story in their own words and show us what they thought was important and why." 
Holy Trinity Church are embarking on a fantastic journey to faith, community, and confidence building, all based and inspired by God's word. 

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