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Being God’s People
The Confirmation and Discipleship Handbook
by Robin Greenwood and Sue Hart
Publisher:SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
This book is wonderful.
First, it links confirmation with discipleship. Confirmation is a beginning yet often, I suspect, the service of confirmation itself feels like an ending. This course ensures that need never be the same again. It offers continuity and depth for all in the church community whilst also providing everything needed for a confirmation course.
Secondly, it is structured around the Eucharist with each of ten sessions mirroring a particular stage of the rite. As the authors write, 'We’re not offering here a commentary on the Eucharist itself but discovering in the shape of the Eucharist celebration the entire meaning of Christian discipleship and mission.This approach is just about unique amongst discipleship courses, which often appear to presume a low-church readership.
Thirdly, it is theologically grounded in scripture and assumes an inclusive, generous, diverse and engaged approach to faith. In other words, this is not a formulaic or doctrinaire approach to Christian teaching but one based on enquiry and reciprocal learning. Leaders are there to lead but also to learn.
Each chapter or session of Being God’s People consists of two halves, one written by each of the two authors. The first covers the session content and the second deals with the practicalities of the session with plenty of ideas for how to handle the content. This approach works really well but is by no means ‘off the shelf’. So there’s a lot of preparation work involved for the leaders – at least for the first time the course is run – and this could be problematic in communities with limited leadership resources. The upside of this is that the material is easily adapted to different communities, which is excellent.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book and hope it will be widely used.
All the book’s appendices are available on the excellent web site
Reviewer: David Ford (31/10/11)