Lent Study 2014: Parables and Possessions

Lent courseOur minister will lead a Lent Bible Study this year on the vexed issue of money.

We will be meeting on Wednesdays during Lent, at 7.30pm at St Stephen’s, on the following dates: 12 March, 19 March, 26 March, 2 April, 9 April.

These studies are open to anyone from any church or none.

The Bible says a lot about money. We will be looking at some of the parables of Jesus to consider how we can be in a right relationship to money, and how that can help us be in a right relationship to God.

We will be following the ecumenical Lent Course of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, entitled Parables and Possessions: on economics and a right relationship with money.

The course is inspired by the Special Commission on the Purposes of Economic Activity which reported to the Church of Scotland General Assembly in 2012. There is a link to the full report, and other information, on the Poverty and Economics page of the Church of Scotland website.

Topics include:

  • Temptation (wealth, possessions, consumerism)
  • Betrayal (where do our true values lie?)
  • Forgiveness (Church of Scotland version of the Lord’s Prayer talks about forgiving debts, not sins or trespasses)
  • Ridicule (trauma, prophetic voice, being disregarded)
  • Sacrifice (what do others give up for us, what do we give up for others?)
  • Transformation (Christ’s love active in the world, not only for ourselves but for all humankind).

Here’s an extract from the introduction to the course materials:

The Bible says more about money, economics and making a living than any other subject. It is clear, therefore, that God wants us to be in a right relationship with money and this will aid us in our quest to be in a right relationship with God.

In our daily lives we have to make lots of decisions. Many if not most of these have some dimension of money attached to them, whether the decisions we have to make are to do with our family, our community or our nation. It is vital that we make decisions which will impact for the best on those around us (including ourselves). Experience tells us that we have not always been very good at this.

In recent years, we seem to have turned our backs on some traditional ways of managing our finances in favour of others that are not always in the best interests of ourselves, our families, our communities, our nation, and even our planet. Many of us have not hesitated to get into serious debt in order to satisfy our desire for a ‘better’ life. Questions have also been asked about government expenditure decisions.

Living under the kind of financial pressures to which we have subjected ourselves can have very serious effects on our mental health as well as our economic health. A right relationship with money is necessary for healthy personal relationships to prosper.

The season of Lent has sometimes been associated with sacrifice, of giving up a luxury or taking up a new responsibility for a period. In this course you are invited to lay aside any indolence (by which we mean apathy and world-weariness) around the subject of personal economics which is sometimes the result of a sense of helplessness. You are encouraged to be more discerning about those in whom you place your trust.
You are challenged to identify the best interests of your neighbours, especially the weak and marginalised.

The course focuses on a different parable in each session. Each parable is preceded by a Lent reflection.

Each week includes a mixture of materials for reflection, commentary on one of Jesus’ parables, the occasional quote to spark a reaction, some questions and a prayer. There is also a suggestion of something to do as follow-up, a practical action expressing Christian discipleship in the world.

More information from the Minister (01463 250 802; peternimmo[a]minister.com).

The Rev Peter W Nimmo is a member of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, and is currently involved with writing a report on wealth and taxation which will come to the 2015 General Assembly.

Home groups this week

The aim of our Home Groups is to provide places to allow people to get to know others in the church better, to grow their faith, and to provide mutual support. You are welcome to join either the Tuesday or Wednesday evening group.
TUESDAY is taking a break this week, but will meet a week on Tuesday (9 October) at the home of Christine Lacey, 78 Laggan Road 7.30-9pm.
WEDNESDAY meets this week at the home of Winnie Stafford 13 Cradlehall Park, 7.30-9pm.
Please contact Peter on 01463 250 802 if you require transport, or more information, or of you would be interested in attending a group at another time.

Home Groups for Bible study and mutual support

This Bible study group are using the Poverty and Justice Bible which highlights more than 2,000 verses that spell out God's attitude to poverty and justice. Click on the image for more information.

This Bible study group are using the Poverty and Justice Bible which highlights more than 2,000 verses that spell out God’s attitude to poverty and justice. Click on the image for more information.

This week saw the first meetings of our new Home Groups.

The aim of the Home Groups is to provide places to allow people to get to know others in the church better, to grow their faith, and to provide mutual support. It is also an activity to which new members and enquirers can be directed to (alongside Christian Basics). This is based on experience of other churches, where it seems people integrate best if there is a small group they can be part of, as well as the larger Sunday gatherings

David Anderson will be the Home Groups Co-ordinator, with the groups supervised by the Minister and the Education Action Team.

2 groups will be set up initially, and adding more as required.

Groups will meet in a different home most weeks, times to be announced in the bulletin and online.

The study material to be used will be provided by the Minister. Initially this will be material from Roots based on the Lectionary for the following Sunday. David Anderson will ensure that the leaders have access to the discussion material.

Leaders of the group will lead the discussion, ensure that there is a venue week by week, and report back on progress to the Minister.

Thanks to David Anderson for agreeing to co-ordinate, and Chrissie Lacey and David Martin for agreeing to lead the first two groups. Any other volunteers to lead should contact Peter.