The Windermere Centre is one of the Church’s four Resource Centres for Learning. Beginning with 2008, the Centre has based its programme around Vision4Life, looking to prepare churches for the relevant year ahead: Bible study leaders, prayer group leaders and people who can begin to unearth the faith stories of local church congregations and their members.
In addition, the Centre runs courses which look at prayer, Bible study and evangelism from different angles and approaches, supplementing the materials produced by Vision4Life. To continue the metaphor of the meal: if the ‘main course’ for participating churches is the material on the website, Windermere seeks to provide interesting side dishes and to cater for special diets!
Importantly, by running events each year on all three aspects of Vision4Life, the Centre’s programme is intended to emphasise the inter-connectedness of the three year process of re-engagement with our spiritual roots and of renewal and transformation. At every point, the aim is to enrich and expand the United Reformed Church’s engagement with the Bible, prayer and evangelism in new and creative ways.
Click the logo above or here to go to the Windermere website for booking information.
Making Fresh Connections (19-122 April 2010)
With John Campbell, Lawrence Moore and Wendy White. In preparation for Vision4Life Evangelism year, Making Fresh Connections invites anyone who plays a part in shaping or deciding what their local church does to join us for a few days of ‘pump-priming’ conversations where we all look at what our own churches are doing at the moment and think about ways in which our existing activities could be stretched, enriched and developed to make more creative connections with people outside the church. [Evangelism]
Pioneering Mission (3-6 May 2010)
With Jonny Baker. This is for those of you who are involved in, or wanting to get involved in, mission work that is ‘outside the box’. This is about reaching those people that traditional Church doesn’t reach. It’s not for ‘transitioning traditionalists’ (ie those people who are using insights from Emerging Church to refresh and revitalise their traditional forms of worship etc) but for those who are wanting to reach people with little or no Church connections. Jonny Baker is a world authority in the Emerging Church movement. [Evangelism]
The Greatness of the Small (10-13 May 2010)
A retreat with John Bell. In a world where ’super’ or ‘hyper’ or ‘mega’ are taken to be indices of quality, it might be either encouraging or disturbing to discover that the witness of the Bible never proclaims that big is best. Indeed, the whole Jewish-Christian tradition might be seen as one in which God gradually unveils a preference for the significance of unimportant people and places. This counter-cultural perspective on life and faith is what will be explored in this retreat, drawing on some of the people and stories in the Bible which have never been given high profile, and looking at how in our own lives the greatness of the small. [Prayer, Bible]
Discovering ‘Thin’ Places (28 June-1 July 2010)
With Lawrence Moore, Robert Pope and Neil Thorogood. A ‘thin place’ is how George MacLeod described Iona: a spot where the space between heaven and earth is ‘thin’. It’s a poetic designation and people will argue about exactly what it means; nevertheless, most of us know what we mean by those places and experiences of God. They are places and moments of encounter – what we call, technically, ‘sacramental’. Lawrence, Neil and Robert will be exploring ways in which we find moments and spots of heightened awareness of God – meeting places between heaven and earth – in the beauty of the Lake District (as the Romantic poets discovered), in art, music and film. This is a time for exploring ways in which we encounter God, have the Bible brought to life for us and engage in prayer. [Prayer, Bible]
Creative Threads (12-16 July 2010)
How do we transpose story and mission and belief into picture, canvas or weaving? How do we use the medium of stitching to portray vision? This is what makes Pamela Pavitt’s approach to her art so distinctive. She will bring her customary enthusiasm, energy and skill to bear on the themes of Vision4Life. [Prayer, Bible, Evangelism]
Transforming Bible Study (19-22 July 2010)
Building on the success of last year’s course, Lawrence, Susan and John will lead you in an exploration of a number of exciting Bible studies using different methods. The emphasis will be on doing the studies and then reflecting on the method with a view to creating your own studies when you get home. The emphasis throughout will be on ‘exploring the story’, so that church members are empowered to read the text for themselves, rather than look outside the biblical texts for all sorts of obscure historical information. Being the Vision4Life year of prayer, you will look at some of the prayers in the Bible and discover how to use the gospel stories creatively to write prayers for personal and communal worship use. [Prayer, Bible]
Come & Sing (23-26 August 2010)
With Carole Marsden and Martyn Smith. The ever-popular annual Come and Sing is back yet again with some new faces and a Vision4Life slant – yet with the same fun, mischief, fulfilment and sheer hard work that makes this event what it is. Carole will get you singing a wide selection of pieces; traditional and modern, from here and around the world! [Prayer, Bible, Evangelism]
Disclosing New Worlds (11-14 October 2010)
With Lawrence Moore, Lance Stone, Susan Durber and Joel Aldred. This is an event run by people who believe in preaching for people who preach! The precise details of the programme will evolve as people come on board and sign up; that’s part of the excitement of something that will be deliberately out of the ordinary.
We will be covering the following areas: the task of preaching in contemporary culture; dealing with the texts; preaching using the Lectionary; preaching as a woman; the Black preaching traditions; examples of good preaching; preaching during festivals and at Communion. [Bible, Evangelism]
A Rainbow Spirituality (22-24 October 2010)
With Michael Jagessar. Taking the image of ‘Journeying the Jesus Way’, Michael will explore through biographies, narratives and literature a variety of shades and shapes to the spirituality of Christians from around the world. Christian faith is about following Jesus – a total life rather than a set of specific activities. You’re in for a fascinating journey, rich in discovery that expresses the depth of commitment, joy, and passion of Christian spiritualities from very different contexts. You’ll be enriched by the prayer lives of others, their hymns, traditions and personalities. The ‘conversation’ with these spiritualities of fellow followers of Jesus will help transform your own personal and Church spirituality during the Vision4Life Year of Prayer. [Prayer]
The Imitation of Christ (6-9 December 2010)
an Advent retreat with Lawrence Moore and Lis Mullen. The Imitation of Christ is a classic of Christian spirituality. Written in 1418 by Thomas a Kempis, it is one of the greatest manuals of devotion in pre-Reformation Catholic Christianity. Its fans, however, have not been only Catholic. John Wesley and John Newton both list it as a book that influenced their conversions. It is still published today and remains a ‘must-read’ for those people who want to relate their spirituality to following Jesus of Nazareth. [Bible, Prayer, Evangelism]