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St George’s Proclaim the Gospel message

Last autumn some parishioners from St George’s in Norwich undertook to participate in a Proclaim initiative piloted in the Plymouth Diocese on Evangelization. Monica Barnham reports on progress so far.

With the help of New Evangelisation Co-ordinator Rebecca Bretherton, the St George’s Proclaim Team took part in a six-week programme where each of them individually read two chapters of the book by Sherry Weddell called Forming Intentional Disciples in each of the consecutive six weeks.

The book is about the need for evangelization within the Catholic Church. It is based on research amongst American Catholics and their relationship with God. Sherry Weddell looks at realistic ways to get people talking about their faith and breaking the silence.

During the programme undertaken in St George’s, two groups of six people met each week to share the most significant thing they had drawn from the chapters they had read individually.

This was a challenge as the participants had up to three minutes to share with the others in the group without interruption. It was not a discussion group or a book club, but after the initial challenge, members of the group felt it had helped them to learn to listen more carefully to others. Each session began with 15 minutes of Adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

At the conclusion of the six weeks, the two groups came together as the Proclaim Teamai and agreed to meet on a monthly basis to talk to each other more openly about their faith journeys and any encounters they had had in spreading the Gospel message to others.

In the course of these meetings, it was felt it would be beneficial to have an Away Day to explore more fully through prayer and reflection ways to evangelize within St George’s Parish and beyond. One of the group members, Mark Watkins and his wife, Debra undertook to put together a programme for the day.

The St George's Proclaim Team met on Saturday May 12 at Poringland and had an enjoyable and productive day. They all agreed that the benefits of meeting together had been encouraging, enabling them to talk honestly about their personal faith experiences/journeys; through listening and prayer and all members, without exception, felt that they had grown together in faith. Members of the group felt that it would be beneficial for other parishioners to take part in a similar programme of reading, listening and prayer to enable others to benefit from the extraordinary opportunities of talking openly to others about their personal relationship with God.

They all agreed that evangelization was about overcoming the barriers to sharing the good news of the gospel through prayer and action. A warm welcome for anyone attending the churches in the Parish was essential. In order to continue to grow it was important for the group to reach out to existing Parish groups and seize every opportunity to share the good news in parish life and beyond.

Please pray for the parishes who are Creating Missionary Parishes: St George’s Norwich, Sacred Heart St Ives, Our Lady of the Annunication Walsingham and St Henry Morse Diss

Pictured above is the St George Proclaim Team away day at Poringland, led by Mark and Debra Watkins.