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Christianity Explored Course

Christianity Explored Course

This autumn saw the return of the annual Christianity Explored Course at St Clare’s hosted by staff and volunteers for clients as an opportunity to ask questions about the Christian Faith. The evenings began with a meal and a time to chat and catch up with each other followed by a short video to introduce the week’s topic. Topics included ‘Who is Jesus’ ‘Why did Jesus come?’ and ‘How can God accept us?’ All pretty hefty topics! We had smaller numbers of attendees than in previous years but still had great discussions and it was a fantastic opportunity to sit down and talk about some of the things that can be tricky to talk about or ask at other times.

For me personally the course was eye opening and at times challenging. The first question asked in the first week is ‘What would you ask Jesus if you met him?’ I’m sure we all have ideas about what we would ask our creator if we met him some serious and some not so serious. The questions the group came up with that week really hit home with me how vulnerable our clients are and how crucial it is that there are groups in our community to support them. Three of the guys round the table had experienced abuse from a family member as children and their questions and the following discussion was around this. I was initially anticipating some anger or perhaps some blame towards God, or the idea of God, but was surprised and warmed to not see or hear any of that. The guys I was talking to had experienced awful neglect and persecution from other people during their childhood but they weren’t blaming anyone, they wanted to know how they could deal with it and even shared some of their own experiences of praying about things or having people pray for them and what that had felt like. The people had come to the group for some peace, admittedly to enjoy a good meal, and to be with people in a safe and secure environment.

At Turning Tides the work the staff do really shows God’s love, not always overtly but through adopting a non-judgmental, welcoming approach where people can come for second, third, fourth or one hundredth chance. St Clare’s Day Centre has been described as ‘a lifeline in a lonely world’ by clients previously and through all of the groups offered – music, art and games, pre tenancy, cake decorating, outreach cafe – and the intensive one to one work with the key workers there is an opportunity for people to engage in something positive in a safe environment and enjoy some peace, some acceptance for the person that they are and an opportunity to make changes in their lives so they can move forward.

Rachel Blair
Senior Community Fundraiser