The first of four sessions of the Zoom-based Sycamore Advent Course took place on 25 November. The topic was Search for Happiness. Here is some feedback from a few of the participants.
From Pauline Haynes
The first session of the Sycamore Advent Course by Fr Wang was launched in our parish by members of the Dad’s Prayer Group . The topic last week was “Search for Happiness” which seemed very appropriate in our present pandemic climate. About 30 people logged in and after a short video we were divided into small groups and given time to discuss and share our thoughts and reactions to the clip we had just seen. We then rejoined the larger group for the next part of the programme.
At the end of the evening I was pleasantly surprised at how much I had enjoyed this new type of virtual group meeting. I felt relaxed and involved in the discussions which gave me food for thought and it was refreshing to listen to the experiences of others too.
I am not the best with modern technology so was at first a little apprehensive but a pre-session on ‘How to use Zoom’ was ably given by John Wright and was very reassuring There were a few minor blips but these were soon resolved and there was always help on hand for anyone who needed it.
The whole session lasted about an hour and a half and is a new and successful way of meeting and sharing with fellow parishioners in a structured relaxed atmosphere. I would certainly recommend trying it in this new technological age and look forward to the next three sessions. Well done to the all the facilitators.
From Fiona Collings
I’ve not really done a course like this before but decided to have a go as I’m feeling a bit disconnected right now and with Advent coming up I thought this might just help me focus.
David did a great job at explaining everything and John worked his magic with the technology side of things and I have to say it was all very easy. The content of the session was great, the videos where short and easy to follow. We split into breakout rooms for discussion. Dom Tisi did a fabulous job at guiding through the discussion. It was nice to speak to people I never have before as well as seeing more familiar faces.
At the end of the session I went away having enjoyed the session and still reflecting on our discussions. I’m looking to next week!
From Alison Jones
A great way to get to know many parishioners, fast … even in lockdown!!
I signed up to make myself mark Advent in a slightly different way. I’m glad I did as I really enjoyed the first session. The resources were really professional and the technology amazed me, but was also reassuringly straightforward. To see 30+ parishioners, via Zoom, was wonderful but luckily John Wright had the power to mute us all! David Wilkinson facilitated the session, ensuring we stuck to time, so we were through before 9:00 pm.
Our topic was ‘The search for Happiness’ and we all watched the same video clips, which posed questions for small group discussion. These were done using break-out rooms to split us into small groups with screen prompts to guide us through. The 6/8 of us then reflected on games and sweets we’d enjoyed as kids, what makes us happy and how we find space just to be. My group included new parishioners and other parishioners I’ve known a while but now know a bit better. To be breaking the rule of 6, with no risks attached, was just lovely! Clearly hours of preparation have gone in to bring it all together so thanks to the Dad’s group for making this initiative happen. Next week we start to dig a bit deeper and ponder ‘A God who speaks’. Why not join us?