Keep it simple: song,
scripture, narrative, faith-sharing, prayer.
A Song that most of the group knows is the best
If even one member of the group can sing it with
the rest can follow along. There will almost always be
who groans about the idea of singing a song. Let them
but do a song anyway. A song touches a place in us that
proclamation and narrative have a harder time
This example might seem too simple or just for older group members, but it works
Now Thank We All Our God
Now thank we all our
God With heart and hand and voices,
Who wondrous things has
done, In whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers'
arms Has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of
love, And still is ours today.
Oh, may our bounteous
God Through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts
And blessed peace to cheer us;
To keep us in God's
grace And guide us when perplexed
And free us from all
ills In this world and the next.
All praise and thanks to
God Our Abba now be given,
With Son and Spirit
too Who reign in highest heaven:
The One Eternal God,
Whom heaven and earth adore!
For thus it was, is now, And shall be evermore.
Rinckart, 1586-1649, Translated by Catherine Winkworth, 1829-1878, alterd
Scripture is read aloud by one member of the
while the group members follow in their own bibles;
differing translations are fine, and can even be helpful.
One or two passages are usually enough.
If the group is sharing around a theme the Catechism can be
a good source for Narrative, and every section has a multitude
of scripture references, sometimes found in the footnotes.
If the group is sharing from a book on a
the book itself will almost surely make reference to scripture
passages or stories. If not, the group leader can use his or
her best judgment, trust the Holy Spirit, and choose a passage.
Narrative exploring the theme and the scripture passages
can be read by members taking turns, a paragraph at a time;
those who do not like to read in public can simply "pass."
Four to six pages is usually enough for one meeting.
If your group is primarily about faith sharing around scripture,
then the narrative can be the New American Bible footnotes
to the passage, or something from a scripture commentary
that can be found in any good parish library.
Faith Sharing is often done from reflection or
questions. If no questions are available, invite everyone
to share from the scripture and narrative reading,
without comment from the group, something like
one of the following:
a seed planted, something I anticipate taking root and growing within me,
and growing me...
a memory provoked, part of my story or our journey, whether pleasant or sad...
a question raised, something
unknown to study, research, discuss with others, or further ponder...
an action prompted or
resolution made, a way to claim my identity as a disciple of Jesus...
When everyone has had an opportunity to share once,
open up discussion to the whole group.
Before time has run out, offer the quieter members of the group
an opportunity to share something. No pressure.
Closing Prayer can be simply a minute of silence,
intercessions from the group, and the Lord's
Some groups like to repeat the song, or the first verse,
or save the last verse for the closing prayer.
It is the group leader's job to begin the closing prayer
so that the group does not go over the agreed-upon time.
Trust in this will keep most people from worrying about
their watches during group time.
But keep it simple!
Rev. Steve Wolf