19 June 2024

How Sunday School for Grownups is helping adults learn about God

Adults unfamiliar with the Bible and Church are learning about it in Sunday School for Grownups. Picture: iStock.

Jenan Taylor

8 December 2023

A country parish’s ministry is helping adults unfamiliar with the Church and the Bible learn about God in the way children would.

Christ Church Daylesford has been holding Sunday School for Grownups an informal, simplified form of Bible study for people new to the Anglican church or church in general.

Parishioner and Sunday School for Grownups coordinator Yvonne Deans said the ministry aimed to be a comfortable, small group setting in which people could get to know about the Bible and the church, and not be afraid to ask questions.

Mrs Deans said some participants had gone on to engage with more in-depth discussions about the Scriptures, since the classes started 15 months ago.

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She said she started the program because there were congregants who came to faith as adults but hadn’t gone through Sunday School or hadn’t had the chance to engage with the Bible stories that many churched people might have heard about for years.

Mrs Deans said Christ Church had older members and many asked about the readings that were being covered in church services, saying they didn’t understand them, and the church wanted to help them be more comfortable.

She said the monthly program started with seven people and now comprised 10 participants.

These included three people from another denomination, but the classes had also attracted the interest of at least one person who was itinerant.

Mrs Deans said the content, which until recently was focused on the major people and events of the Old Testament, evoked enthusiastic responses from them.

She said it jogged and clarified participants’ memories of some the Biblical stories their parents had told them, and led many to ask further questions.

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Some of these included curiosity about the difference between Judaism and Christianity, as well as interest in how the Anglican church was run, Mrs Deans said.

Some members had also gone on to participate in Alpha courses, and wanted to probe further.

“A couple of people have asked whether there were other books they could look at, or whether there was any research I could share with them,” Mrs Deans said.

Mrs Deans said she didn’t consider herself a scholar of the Bible, and was grateful for the knowledge of another parishioner who was more schooled in the Scriptures, and the presence of the vicar at the classes each month.

She said Christ Church focussed on programs for mature congregants, because it didn’t have children or families regularly attending services.

The church had tried a children’s ministry but soon realised that people in the surrounding, largely farming vicinity tended to be older, so they were the cohort they decided to focus on, Mrs Deans said.

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