Small Group Run by Steph Lester
Final Year Ordinand in the Church of England at St Mellitus College, North West
In Autumn 2017, I used Imaging the Story as the focus for a fellowship group I run: ‘Word for all’. I chose to use this book as it gave the group an opportunity to see the Bible in a different way. I used the leaders' notes as an outline, along with the chapter contents. The group was mostly elderly and would not be up for reading the chapter themselves or doing all the art work, thus I adapted the course to work for them.
Each week I picked out the key texts mentioned in the book, the key art work, and the key discussion points. I also added further art work to encourage conversation and perspective.
So one week might look like this …
- Opening prayer
Explain what is being looked at today
- First Bible reading
Ask a question: What do you think this scenario looked like?
- Look at three images relating to the Bible reading.
We used questions from the book to create conversation or simply asked which image they liked the most and why or how they relate to that image personally.
We would then move on to the next biblical text mentioned and look at the pictures related to it.
Where necessary I would use some of the explanations in the book to communicate why certain pictures or imagery was significant.
These sessions were simple, and I used the topics mentioned in the book. Those who attended loved it and loved seeing new ways of interpreting the Bible. I purposely did not tell them when and who the images were made by because the group had a habit of turning the session into an Art History lesson, which I wanted to avoid.
Once we had finished the chapter topics in the book, I ran one last session to encourage participants to be creative. I wrote the key things we had discussed in each session and asked each person to create a piece of artwork from the session that had stood out most to them.
Though this book works excellently following the guidelines prescribed, it can also work well in a smaller group setting with fewer resources if you are willing to adapt the book as I did.
Old Basing, Hampshire, Summer 2017