Seasons of My Soul
Church of England and The Methodist Church in Britain, Methodist Publishing, 2014

£8.99 (Approx)
4.6
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

Seasons of My Soul is a creative new resource for Christians in the second half of life. It will support and affirm them on their ongoing spiritual journey by providing the opportunity to explore and share with others key aspects of their lives and experiences.

The resource focuses on eight themes for conversations: Identity; Memories; Transition times; Wisdom; Roles and relationships; Forgiveness and reconciliation; Death and dying; and the Celebration of life. These are opened up for exploration using interactive conversation tools, Bible texts, creative activities, social action topics, prayer and worship.

Seasons of My Soul will enable participants to explore and deepen their faith and discipleship by discussing and challenging inherited assumptions, nurturing the wisdom they already possess and finding new meaning in aspects of their life.

Printed in full colour, the book contains facilitator guidance and helpful templates to accompany each session.

Produced in partnership by The Methodist Church in Britain and The Church of England

What do you get and how?

The book contains facilitator guidance and helpful templates and resources to accompany each session.

Each theme is a stand alone session so you can choose whichever theme you like, mix and match the order or do them as they are presented. It is entirely up to you and your group.

Who is it for?

This resource is designed for groups to engage with eight themes that have particular significance in the second half of life and in the context of Christian faith. It provides a way of reflecting back on the past, engaging with the present and making space for the future.

There is plenty of material which can be used individually and for further reflection, as well as flexibility in the different contexts of your groups of ministry.

Cost?

£8.99

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Really beautifully produced book with thick glossy pages and lovely photos/images. Looks like a coffee table book inside – attractive and engaging, lots of white space.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Super-clear introductory pages drawing clear aims and outcomes for the overall approach to the sessions.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    Each session follows the pattern of opening prayer, theme introduction, reflection, choice of activities, closing prayer. Suggestions given for alternative timings, such as four hours or a whole day. Attractive icons throughout. Flexibility encouraged. Especial recognition that issues raised may cause anxiety etc, so that sensitive and helpful closing of a session is very important – suggestions are given for this. Extra notes for enabling good facilitation of groups are provided at the back of the book. These are as clear and well-thought-through as the rest of the material, and include group guidelines and ground rules. Easy and attractively laid out pages throughout. Suggestions given for relevant DVDs, books and websites which expand the themes. Lots of creative choices for the activities ranging from written to active and ongoing. Looks like it would be a joy to use.

    Who could lead it?

    A leader who would encourage participants to enjoy and engage with the material, and who is prepared to be flexible as the session progresses.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Photocopiable pages at the back of the book for a few activities, also a review page that could be used for each session and taken home, and space for making personal notes. Guidelines to help participants contribute well to the group are provided too. It is suggested that participants may like to buy their own copy of the book. It would not be necessary for the session to work, but the book is so well produced that it may well prove popular to take home. As there are many ideas which would not be covered in the session, participants may want to follow up some of them in their own time. Or just have the book around to enjoy . . .

    How good is any digital material?

    N/A

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Decisions as to how to use this book regarding context, timings and setup. Some of the activities need preparation but a general check list is given in the leader's notes at the beginning.

    Is there website support? Links?

    Suggestions given for useful websites for related issues.

    Is it dated?

    Very contemporary.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Great interaction possibilities, with respect for each other's space as well as encouragement to engage with activities or reflections etc together.

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

    Superb and targeted range of choices for the ‘activity' time, some of which are more hands-on than others. A good mix of reading-based, visually-based, discussion-based, poetry, drawing and so on. Fabulous.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Aimed at those latter on in the second half of their lives, and explores relevant themes. Accepting and very creative resource. It would suit both those who have an active faith and those who have little experience, as long as it is clear that the subjects are taken from a Christian point of view. It doesn't make assumptions as to where people are starting. Would work with small and larger groups.

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

    Discussion and gentle worship included, plus ideas for working together both within and without the sessions.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Bible passage is the focus for the reflection time in each session. Some of the suggestions in the following activity times are also Bible based, plus the closing prayer.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    The reflection section has some input and then a few questions for further thought. The suggestions within the activity time for Bible follow the same format, thought with more questions and little input. The passages are written out in the text. Some other passages are included as a starting point for engaging with, for example, social action.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    The passages are relevant to the theme and/or activity and the questions are a mixture of engaging with the text and applying them personally and corporately. They could be taken at a variety of levels so should suit many.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Produced by the Methodist Church and Church of England. Some ‘light' liturgy included but nothing limited to these two traditions.

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

    This is an imaginative resource that covers some of the major life changes for older people from a Christian point of view. It would help people to think through these changes with a vast range of input to help.

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

    The challenges of being older in years are woven together creatively with faith in many different ways. It would suit both those who have an active faith and those who have little experience, as long as it is clear that the subjects are taken from a Christian point of view. It doesn't make assumptions as to where people are starting. Leaders could easily choose activities suitable for their group.

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

    Very practical and inspiring approach to some challenging topics. Achieves a great balance of both accepting where people are and encouraging them to move forward.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Extremely well and very creatively.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    This would be a great course to invite people to as it is real and honest but not threatening, and deals clearly and imaginatively with some of the major challenges of older life.

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

    Opportunities through the activity section to imagine appropriate community social action – very practical and idea-provoking.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Not a particular focus.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a focus.

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