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RECLAIMING Guided Reading Weeks

The Purpose

For discipleship

Many mature Christians would like their faith to be more relevant to the spheres of life outside church programmes. They understand the need for moral integrity and personal evangelism, but know that this cannot be the whole story. Their work throws up issues that concern them. They know there ought to be a Christian understanding and response. But often they don’t know where to start in thinking it through in a Christian way. They are seeking a renewal of vision for their calling.

For mission

Church attendance and Christian commitment are in serious decline almost everywhere in the Western world. The Christian researcher Peter Brierley can shock us with his report (in 2000) that at the present rate of haemorrhage, ‘we are one generation from extinction’. We cannot continue as we are. The reality is that for several generations we have privatised and domesticated the Gospel. We have acquiesced – even willingly – in the idolatries of our society, especially in its individualism and materialism. We face no persecution, because we offer no challenge. Christianity is regarded as a marginalized affair of little or no relevance to public life. Churches are not seen to provide any viable alternative. It is not just for our own benefit that we need to reflect prayerfully on our Monday to Saturday life; it is now at the heart of Christian mission to our pagan, post-Christian society.

Reclaiming a whole-of-life vision

The RECLAIMING Guided Reading Weeks have been designed to introduce Christians to helpful and exciting Christian literature and ideas. These ideas have been applied in education, politics, the arts and so forth, and provide Biblically based tools for use in all walks of life. RECLAIMING operates alongside the West Yorkshire School of Christian Studies (WYSOCS). WYSOCS has, for the past sixteen years, been running day events and evening courses, which apply these ideas to a wide variety of subjects. These whole-week, individually tutored courses are a new venture for which we perceive a need. RECLAIMING can offer support and guidance whether its for the sciences or arts, for business or politics, for education or medicine, or to address the issues of multiculturalism and globalism, of aid and development, of agriculture and environment, or of religion and ideology.

 

Practicalities

Programme

This is a residential course. Participants will gather at Outwood House, Horsforth, Leeds to experience a Worldview Conference day, giving the opportunity to learn, together with a group of young people, about some of the worldviews that powerfully shape our culture and other cultures. Teaching and learning will be interactive, with everyone invited to take part in role-play, games, and debates on the issues affecting ourselves and other people and groups with whom we are in contact. At the end of that day, you will transfer to Mottram (on the other side of the Pennines, east of Manchester, a journey of less than an hour). There you will settle into your residential accommodation, unwind, and share a meal together.

While we highly recommend the Leeds’ conference for orientation, some may prefer to go straight to Mottram on Saturday afternoon. For everyone the Mottram programme will then begin with a short introductory session on the Saturday evening. Your tutor will ensure that you have the materials you need to begin your reading during the following days, i.e. the book[s] everyone will use as core reading and one or two others based on your initial description of your quest and your current jobs, hobbies, tasks, etc., supplied ahead of the course.

On the Sunday afternoon there will be a group session in which you will be invited to share the interests and the concerns, which have led you to come on the course. By the end of the weekend you will also have had time to explore two extensive, but fully indexed, private libraries, one on the premises and the other across the road in the home of Sylvia Baker.

For the five weekdays, each day will follow the same pattern: two personal reading sessions in the morning, a short outing after lunch, a reading session after tea and a round-table discussion over dinner in the evening. Arthur Jones will be available to talk and teach one-to-one at any time, as your reading and thinking progress. We cannot claim experience or expertise on every issue that might arise, so a panel of colleagues will be available for discussion by e-mail or phone during the week. There will also be opportunities to pray and worship together. Personal counselling can also be provided.

Accommodation and Meals

Accommodation will be fairly basic, but comfortable, with all necessary facilities to hand. The accommodation will be in single rooms in the properties belonging to Arthur and Hilary Jones and Sylvia Baker. Alternatively, the East Manchester Premier Lodge is nearby.

Dates and Cost

Three Reading Weeks are arranged, each beginning with a Taster Day Conference in Leeds:

Saturday November 2nd – Friday November 8th 2002

Saturday March 1st – Friday March 7th 2003

Saturday May 3rd – Friday May 9th 2003

The cost for the whole week will be £350. This will include the Taster Day, accommodation, meals and tutoring. Some basic books and local outings may be included, but other books and outings may be extra. If accommodation is not required, or arranged separately, then a reduced fee of £235 will apply.

 

The Tutors

Arthur Jones BSc, MEd, PhD, CBiol, MIBiol

Arthur Jones is a Research Consultant for Curriculum Development to the Christian Schools' Trust, a tutor and course writer for Sarum College, Salisbury (for Christian distance learning) and a tutor for NorthStar UK (a Christian internet learning community). During a teaching career spanning almost thirty years, he has been a college lecturer, schoolteacher, teacher trainer and headteacher. Ten years were spent in teaching and education consultancy in India and Nepal. He has also worked in community relations and was a member of the Executive Committee of Bolton Racial Equality Council. His first degree was in Biology and his PhD was a wide-ranging exploration of biological origins that examined the central role of faith commitments in science. He has taught on worldviews at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity and to groups of Christian professionals. He is the author of two books: Science in Faith: A Christian Perspective on Teaching Science (CST, 1998) and No Home & Alone: A School Programme on Homelessness (Global Concern, 1999).

Arthur will be the resident guide and tutor, Sunday through Friday.

Sylvia Baker BSc, MSc

Sylvia is a founder (1978) and head of Trinity Christian School, Stalybridge. She is the author of Bone of Contention, which has sold over one hundred thousand copies around the world. She leads a church Life Group and regularly lectures on educational and scientific topics.

Hilary Jones BA(Hons), MEd, NPQH, PGCE

Hilary is currently Head of Lower School at Trinity Christian School. She has a wide-ranging background in education, counselling and cross-cultural ministry. She will be on hand to oversee the practical aspects of the week, tutor as needed and join in the evening discussions.

Mark Roques BA, MPhil, PGCE

Mark Roques is a storyteller who has spent many years in education. He has spoken at numerous conferences in England, Canada, Sweden, Holland and even the Isle of Man! He is particularly interested in imaginative and comical preaching and teaching; he has preached in Anglican, Baptist and Roman Catholic churches. For eleven years he taught Philosophy and Religious Studies at Prior Park College in Bath where he developed a unique Christian worldview course that combined film, music, story-telling and dramatic entertainment. He is now a freelance writer and conference speaker for the Damaris educational charity. He is the author of Curriculum Unmasked: Towards a Christian Understanding of Education and The Good, The Bad and The Misled: True Stories Reflecting Different World Views for Use in Secondary Religious Education.

Mark Roques will lead the Worldview Conference days at Outwood House, Leeds.

Further information

For further information and booking form, contact:

Dr Arthur Jones, 21 Stalybridge Road, Mottram, Hyde, Cheshire, SK14 6NF

Tel: 01457 764331 E-mail: jyotijon@globalnet.co.uk

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