Candi recently attended our 'Uncover' course & very kindly wrote a blog post to tell us about her experience...
"If you’re anything like me, you may well be wondering what you can expect from an evening course on Christianity… Do you need to be a full-on Christian or is it OK if you aren’t sure what you believe? Will they expect a lot of background knowledge of the Bible or can you learn as you go? Is there an expectation of regular Church attendance once you’ve been on the course? I can’t pretend I wasn’t a bit nervous before my first session, especially as I’d missed week one because of a work trip!
It turns out that the simple answer to all of those questions (along with any others you may have) is that there’s no expectation at all… There were only three of us taking the course when I attended, and Pete didn’t seem at all bothered by the fact none of us was what you’d describe as a ‘solid’ Christian. Each of us had our own reasons for attending, for example wanting to understand the beliefs of close friends/family or simply a deep interest in the subject of Christianity.
For me it was both of these. A close friend of mine is a member of Christ Church Walkley, and talks often and openly about her faith. In return I bug her with random Christianity questions on a fairly regular basis and at some very random times of day! She mentioned that this course was about to start, and it seemed like a nice opportunity to learn more. The other thing was, despite attending Church every Sunday for most of my childhood I don’t know exactly what I believe and to what extent. I know that I have some belief in God, but in the words of one of our group I’ve never been ‘zapped’ with that sudden and absolute certainty of faith that some people experience. I also don’t feel like I ever really explored what the bible has to say. I can quote various Biblical stories, but I’ve never really thought in any detail about what they actually mean and what message they’re trying to get across. The Uncover course seemed like a nice chance to revisit these stories with a more critical mind.
So what does it actually involve? The basic format was to show up and read through a short passage from Luke’s gospel, before working through a set of structured discussion points. Pete did a really great job of making sure we completed the week’s task but also allowing room for us to go off on a tangent when one of us had questions. I got the impression the three of us taking the course were all quite similar in that we could easily be put off if even one small detail didn’t make sense, so being able to bring up questions when we had them really helped.
Pete’s knowledge and understanding not just of the Biblical stuff, but of its historical context as well, made a real difference to my enjoyment and understanding of the passages we covered. Who else would be able to explain that a grown man running was likely to be a subject of ridicule, or why a curtain ripping in a temple was such a big deal? Certainly for me his breadth of knowledge really helped bring the passages to life much more than simply reading them.
In terms of practicality there was also very little time commitment (I think we were scheduled for an hour and a half per week for six weeks), which was reassuring at the start – no fear of letting people down if it turned out not to be for me! (Having said that, all three of us have already signed up for whatever comes next, so you may find yourself hooked once you start). There was also no ‘homework’ as such, so you could read around the subject more if you wanted, but with no pressure to do so.
Hopefully that gives you some idea of what to expect if you sign up for this or a similar course… If it’s something you’re considering, I’d say just give it a go – at worst you have a good chat and something sweet to eat (did I mention that the regular Church folk sent homemade cakes and biscuits to each session?!) and at best you’ll discover the urge to keep on finding out more!"