1 A Christian Basics Course for Estate Churches. I have never been convinced that a Christian Basics Course is the best way to introduce working class people (or anyone come to that) to the Christian faith. However there are moments when there is a desire to consolidate what has been learned, such as before
- being baptised,
- admission to communion,
- admission to membership
- or being confirmed.
At such moments it is sometimes helpful ‘do a course’ and what follows, I hope, might do the trick. My research into what working class Christians resonate with is summarised in Mind, Body and Estates (See Theoretical Considerations). The physicality of Jesus the man is the centre of the first four modules.
- Session1 : Jesus the man
- Session2: What Jesus does
- Session3: What Jesus says
- Session4: The Cross and the empty tomb
The elements that working class folk point out as the most connecting features of worship accounts for the next three.
- Session5: Baptism and Forgiveness
- Session6: Holy Communion
- Session7: Church as a praying community
Finally I was persuaded that a lot of working class women identify with Session8: ‘Mary as an example for the church.’
A physical way into the subject matter has determined the content rather than any tradition or denominational emphasis. However my Anglican roots may need to be adapted to other denominational setting. (If you want to end the course by turning the material into a book you can click here for:
2. Barriers to Learning I want to draw attention to two of the barriers to learning that I have found common to working class communities. Memories of School. Within any working class community there are often people who have had a negative experience of school. They can associate learning, and courses, with being put down and being set up to fail. How this material is used needs to take this into account. It is also important to remember that this is not true for everyone. I have taken the view that the transmission of information is the most neutral approach. Too much discussion and too much activity can be counter-productive. Having to read Within many working class communities there will be a number of people who find reading difficult. Some will have limited literacy skills and other will suffer from eye complaints. The way the material is used needs to free people from the demand to read. I have provided line drawings with minimal words to be used with an overhead projector, or its modern equivalent. The text is not exactly poetry but has a rhythm that I hope makes it easy on the ear when read aloud.
3. Using this course. I have offered eight sessions that I have indicated will be 20 –25 minutes in length and have adhered to this very strictly. I have given each person a copy of the ‘input’ sheet. I have displayed the appropriate line drawing. (These are intended to be stark and energetic but they could be substituted by alternatives.) I have then read from the input sheet. Discussion is short and should not be forced. Then I have given the next ‘input’ sheet and repeated the process There are up to four input sheets for each session. There needs to be an opportunity for a cup of tea after the session when more discussion sometimes takes place than in the session