Pilgrim: A course for the Christian journey
Bishop Stephen Cottrell, Bishop Steven Croft, Paula Gooder, Bishop Robert Atwell. Church House Publishing, 2013 – 2015

£8.99 (Approx)
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What does it say on the tin?

Pilgrim is an innovative and inspiring programme for enquirers and new Christians. It approaches the great issues of faith not through persuasion, but participation in a pattern of contemplation and discussion in the company of a small group of fellow travellers. 6 sessions per stage, two stages to date. Commissioned by House of Bishops of Church of England.

What do you get?

Soft-backed books: leader’s guide, participants’ books. Each course subject is 6 sessions long. Two stages: Follow Stage (The Lord’s Prayer, Turning to Christ, The Commandments, the Beatitudes); Grow stage (The Creeds, The Eucharist, The Bible, Church and Kingdom) with Leader’s Guide.

Website: www.pilgrimcourse.org including supportive resources – audio recordings of the Reflections, short videos. Updated, user comments, email alerts. DVDs also available with the same resources.

Large print editions available.

Twitter: @pilgrimcourse

Who is it for?

Adult and Youth, Enquirers and Beginning Christians. Refresher for Growing Christians. Small groups.


Leader’s guide: £8.99
Participants’ guides: £5.99 each
DVDs: £10.99 each
Large print: £9.99 per booklet. Giant and braille also available.


  • What is the overall quality of the material?

    Excellent. Great production, great content.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Very clear, including introductions for both leaders and participants.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    Comprehensive Leader's Guide with notes that explain the ethos of the Pilgrim Course, how to run a successful group, extra liturgical and other resources. Worth taking the time to read.

    Who could lead it?

    Would benefit from someone with experience of facilitating a small group, and perhaps with some theological confidence, but the latter does not seem essential as all materials are provided.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Clear, good, inspiring, interesting. Although there is plenty to read, the video and audio options would vary the pace.

    How good is any digital material?

    Video and audio options are well produced and should be widely acceptable. Thought-provoking, memorable, and gently challenging. Good range of talking heads and locations, plus music and engaging presenter.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Main preparation will be reading Leader's Guide, exploring material, and setting up facilities for video and audio presentation, but otherwise each session is ready to go.

    Is there website support? Links?

    Training/information events around the country (2014). Free advertising resources, further reading etc. Updated news. Email sign-up. Video and audio options for each session on the site.

    Is it dated?


  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Excellent, both on an individual-sharing level, and engagement with biblical issues.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Really good. Inclusion of video and audio, interaction with biblical text, prayer, reading, reflection, discussion and some short liturgical elements should combine to please most people. However, no activities as such.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    The writers aim to appeal across the Anglican spectrum and it would be easy to use for most church small groups. The vast majority would enjoy it, though it may have limited appeal for young adults, or those who need more active styles of engagement. Supporting quotations are generally short, though glorious, but it looks slightly ‘wordy', which would need to be suited to situations. The videos, audio and interactive elements balance this out to an extent.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Great encouragement to experience together, whether with biblical material or discussion. Strong emphasis on continuing the process of reflection following each session, with material provided.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    A third of the material is directly Bible based, and the rest of the material is focused around the themes raised by the passage. Lectio Divina style of Bible reading and reflection encourages engagement for all.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Central focus for each session. Creatively explored for meaning, devotion, personal and social application and reflection.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    See above.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Pilgrim says it has ‘been developed as a specifically Anglican resource which aims to cater for every tradition in the Church of England.' However, it would cross denominations for those who wish to explore a new way of doing things. The foundational teaching is rock solid.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    Wide-ranging and thorough exploration of what it means to be a Christian, well grounded in reality. Videos bring life to every topic, and are easy to relate to. A new catechesis.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    All topics are well linked in to both biblical material and daily practice, including prayer and worship. The varied approaches would inspire growth, with practical suggestions. Lots of opportunities to connect with God in different ways.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    The material has both breadth and depth, and the discussion questions are aimed to take subjects even further.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    All topics are grounded in implications for daily life. Real-life situations used as discussion starters.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    The course is designed for enquirers, and has at its heart a desire to re-form traditional Christian spirituality for a changing world, in order to spread the Gospel.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    The material aims to build mission-shaped communities.

    How well does it connect with the global issues?

    Great foundational principles on which to build, and global issues directly addressed in some sessions.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    A world-changing approach is implicit in most of the material. Mission seen as an essential part of Holy Spirit's activity, thorough us.

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