House groups play an important role in the St. Mary’s Church community encouraging faith through fellowship in the informal setting of the host’s home. There are currently 10 house groups that meet on a regular basis. Six of the groups gather in the evening; four others, including two for young Mums, meet in the morning to better accommodate schedules of its members.
Each of our house groups is very different in feel from the others. Some focus on Bible study and will use material such as the Lifebuilder series to work through an Old Testament or New Testament book. One daytime group recently used John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress as a focus for their thinking, and ended up drawing a most elaborate map of Christian’s journey to the Celestial City! Other groups are more at home looking at a work of theology or the writings of a number of modern theologians.
In some of the groups, there are members from other churches, and in all, over one hundred people are involved in the different groups, some meeting weekly, though more are fortnightly. All learn and grow in their faith as a result: the almost universal experience of those who attend is that they benefit most from the fellowship enjoyed. The caring and supportive relationships, which are formed between members, are a significant part of the fabric of the St. Mary’s Church community.
The leaders of the house groups meet each term with the House group co-ordinator and the clergy to review what is being studied and raise any concerns that they have. We would love for more people to join the groups and we hope that newcomers will feel welcome to do so.
At special times of the year, such as Lent, we meet for a more rigorous weekly study of a course chosen by Churches Together in Beaconsfield.
These and other special ecumenical gatherings, give house group members the opportunity to better understand the faith and practice of other denominations.