Continuing Home

The ongoing saga of a Continuing Anglican church home, as seen by a member of the laity.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Epiphanytide Evangelism Class

Tonight was the first of the next series of classes on Anglican Evangelism, held on Wednesday evenings through January 23rd. Matt was quite delighted to see the parking lot holding so many cars when he arrived -- although to be sure, a few of us came from situations dictating that family members arrived separately. Still, our numbers were up from the "Evangelism for Anglicans" class held last summer.

We began with a light supper during which I enjoyed conversation with Chris, who has recently started attending and who right off decided he'd join this class. It was quite interesting for me, the oldest computer geek ("geezer geek") and engineer here, exchanging views and experiences with one much the same but so many years younger. I've always wondered what things look like to the younger engineers. (In my day... but no, this blog is about St. Bartholomew's so I'll drop that line.)

Eventually Fr. Daniel was able to herd this clowder of cats post-supper for the class. He began with a little history of last summer's class, which began with Matt's question about evangelism followed by a remark from another parishioner that he'd found online and saved a course curriculum designed for American Anglicans (whose usual method of evangelism, as Fr. Daniel somewhat accurately quoted to us, consists of placing a fishbowl by the ocean and waiting for fish to jump in).

But then it got serious, starting with the first two chapters of John Stott's "Why I am a Christian." Most just received the book tonight, so they hadn't had opportunity to read those chapters in advance, but Matt led an excellent discussion starting with "The Hound of Heaven" by Francis Thompson, and others who's been "hounded" into belief, particularly Saul, Augustine, Malcolm Muggeridge and "the dejected and reluctant convert" C.S. Lewis.

Our class clearly has a broad range of experiences, many of whom "fell away" mostly during their late teen years and returned, some of whom came from other churches with different practices and expectations, and at least one who never quite "fell away" in practice but had times of uncertainty.

The second chapter was on the claims of Jesus -- was he lunatic, liar or savior? We had discussed this, I'm certain, in last summer's class but several folks brought new aspects to the discussion.

We closed with Compline, the Parish Hall dark but for hand-held candles. I wonder if those driving by on Avondale Way wondered at seeing the Nave upstairs illuminated but empty, while the downstairs was dark with folks holding candles.

And at Fr. Daniel's suggestion regarding monk's practice of Compline, we all left quietly. And I have probably violated the request by posting this report, albeit without speaking a single word.

This is the only one of the three classes of which I can report. I will be away the next two Wednesdays.


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