What Is A Small Church Community (SCC)? A group of 8-12 individuals who get together at least twice a month for 2 hours or so to share their life experiences and to grow in their faith while getting to know group members. Often, programs are used in the early stages of group development to allow for members to get acquainted and to establish ground rules for listening and sharing in a group. A trained leader facilitates the group. The main components of an SCC are reflection and education, mutual support and caring, prayer and worship, Scripture and service to one another, to the parish and to others. Small Church Communities help us to discover and honor our own life experiences and to connect them to our faith through sharing on the scriptures. Who Is Invited To Join An SCC? You are invited! Anyone who would enjoy the benefits of belonging to an SCC, some of which are: participating in a personal, supportive environment with a sense of belonging • having the opportunity to be listened to in a trusting and non-judgmental atmosphere • sharing your life and faith experiences • deepening your own sense of the connection of life and faith • being able to meet people from the parish • having your abilities and talents encouraged and appreciated • feeling supported during trying times and sharing joys during happy times “I have never considered myself as a very prayerful person. I come to mass mostly every Sunday and when I remember, I try to pray on a regular basis. It was suggested to me that I join one of the small groups formed during the Lenten season. This made me uncomfortable because I didn’t feel that I was as involved in my faith as deeply as some other people in the parish. I decided to try it and really enjoyed it. I found that the other people in the group also struggle to keep Christ in their daily lives.” What Is The Importance Of Joining An SCC Today? • Our culture and society today emphasizes the need to come to truth through externals such as education, science and logic. With this type of view, individualism thrives as people are concerned mainly with their own stories and much less with the common good. In Small Church Community, we familiarize ourselves with the pattern of the Great Story through the scripture. We come to trust what we learn from sharing our experiences, and we become able to mediate between the common good and individual rights. Through the use of scripture in an SCC, we recapture a life in which meaning is not created, manufactured or figured out, a life free from rules about perfect order and being right. • American Catholics today move more often than in the past, have less stable relationships, experience less control over their lives and are bombarded daily by the secular values preached by today’s consumer-oriented society. The individual can feel isolated and can live their lives on the surface of experience. • Many Catholics no longer expect to be loved in their parish, or to be known or to be prayed for, love being a fundamental and foundational value of the Christian life. • The parish is meant to foster two basic realities: an experience of love and an experience of faith. 1. To truly feel loved, one has to be known as a person. 2. Most of us need help from others to learn about our own faith experiences. We all have faith, yet we often don’t trust the faith within us or don’t know how to recognize and describe our experience of faith. • Gathering in small groups allows church to become “We” instead of “They”. The more our experiences of faith and love are shared, the more people notice God and God’s call to be church for one another. What Is Faith Sharing? • Faith sharing is connecting our everyday life to our faith and our common faith stories and traditions so that both are enlivened and supported. • In order to create a trusting and non-judgmental environment for sharing, some general rules and covenant agreements are established at the beginning of the life of the group. For example: 1. Faith sharing is a simple sharing of our experience that affords the opportunity to reflect on and recognize God’s activity and presence in our daily lives. 2. It is a time to be heard and to honor a moment in our lives. 3. The gift of the group is to listen to the speaker offering hospitality and a safe place for the speaker to notice and express his/her thoughts and feelings. From some individuals participating in the small group experience: “I am awestruck by how easily people come to a faith sharing experience when the setting is comfortable and the atmosphere open.” “I was most grateful for the peace and quiet during this hectic time of the year.” “The Sunday readings became more meaningful.” When May I Join A Small Church Community? • Generally, groups are formed before the Lenten season. Look for pulpit announcements and information in the bulletin. • If you wish more information sooner, contact the St. Christopher’s rectory . • In the future, groups may be formed at other times during the year. This site will be updated as that information becomes available. What Is An SCC Facilitator? • The role of the facilitator in an SCC is to be at the service of the other members of the group, to help them relate to each other, to keep the group true to its purpose. • The facilitator insures an environment where all members of the group have the opportunity to be listened to attentively and with respect. • The facilitator brings out the best already present in people through a process of interaction. • At St. Christophers, facilitators receive training and meet regularly with each other for support and faith sharing. • The qualities of a good facilitator are: a love and concern for the church at all levels, the ability to make people feel comfortable, a personal sense of God, being a good listener, being able to affirm others, being responsible, open and with a good sense of self-esteem. • If you are interested in becoming a facilitator, contact St. Christopher’s rectory (810-364-4100).