York courses

York Courses. A Five session course for groups and individuals – for Lent or any season
Variety including Archbishop John Sentamu, Baroness Shirley Williams, David Suchet CBE, Dr David Hope, Paula Gooder, Christina Baxter, Joel Edwards, Sr Wendy Beckett and more. York Courses, produced for Lent but usable all year round.

Price varies
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What does it say on the tin?

(From the website www.yorkcourses.co.uk) Easy-to-use ecumenical courses, bringing famous voices and challenging opinions into your discussion group. If you want to:

  • Learn more about the Christian faith
  • Tackle the biggest questions facing humanity
  • Examine your own beliefs in fellowship with others

then York Courses are for you. We recommend a course booklet for each group member and CD/digital download – plus transcript booklet.

York Courses is based in historic York and we produce courses specially designed for groups of Christians from different traditions to use together. Our discussion courses are used in more than 20 countries, all over the world, helping people to share their experiences and understanding of the Christian faith. Although the most popular times to use our courses are Lent and Advent, they’re not ‘season-specific’ and so can be used at any time of year.

What do you get and how?

Softback slim A5 Course booklet; CD/digital download and transcript. Most are five sessions; some six. Variety of titles available (to date, 23, since 1997) including:

  • New for 2020: Superstar, an ecumenical course in 5 sessions. For Lent or any time.‘It’s 1970 – Edward Heath becomes PM, Apollo 13 limps back to earth, and Jesus Christ Superstar takes the West End by storm, asking daring questions that gave colour to my former monochrome faith and fired my vocation. Half a century on, its message remains just as relevant, and we explore themes from its iconic lyrics in the 5 sessions of this course.’ With David Wilbourne, Simon Stanley, Carmody Grey, Steve Chalke, Catherine Fox and Stephen Wigley.
  • Life to the full? – For Advent. Explores the themes raised by Jesus Christ’s promise in John 1.10 to abundantly fill our lives. 4 sessions: Hummingbird or Arctic Fox?, Murdstone or Peggotty, Rotten or Ripe?, Desert or Oasis? By Matt Woodcock
  • Daring to see God now – For Lent. On hearing, understanding and living ‘the Good News of God’ in today’s world. 5 sessions: The Good News of God, The time is now, God is present. Change your mind, Live it! With Keith Ward, Cathy Galvin, Rachel Lampard, David Wilbourne.
  • Expecting Christ.
  • Glimpses of God.
  • Build on the Rock.
  • Rich Inheritance.
  • Live Your Faith.
  • The Lord’s Prayer.
  • Can we Build a Better World?

CDs contains five 14-minute radio-style starter for group discussion, with well-known contributors (e.g. Steve Chalke, Catherine Fox, Stephen Wigley, Archbishop John Sentamu, Baroness Shirley Williams, David Suchet CBE, Dr David Hope, Paula Gooder, Christina Baxter, Joel Edwards, Sr Wendy Beckett). Also available are some CD conversations on relevant topics such as Climate Change, Prayer and Science (£5 each). Invitations and posters can be downloaded from the website. No timings.

Who is it for?

Adults, Growing, small groups.


Taster pack of one course booklet, CD and transcript: £16.30 or £14.70 for digital download; £3.75 per individual course booklet or £3.10 for digital download; £3.55 for transcript or £3.10 for digital download;  £8.99 for CD or £8.50 for digital download. Some audio tapes still available at £8.99.

Free postage and packing within UK. Subsidised postage overseas.

From www.yorkcourses.co.uk.


  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Slim glossy booklet is dense but contains a good mix of quotes as well as material relevant to the subject. CD in nice sleeve. Transcript easy to follow and worth getting (though not in colour). A marvellous kaleidoscope of contributors.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Suggestions for group leaders at the start of each course. Main aim in to encourage ‘A lively exchange of views' with 'no right answers'.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    Introductory page of Leader's tips for leading. Clear and helpful. Use of CD and questions are open to flexibility. There is a closing reflection for each session. The text is fairly tightly packed, but coloured boxes separate the quotes from the main material. No timings. Leader's notes encourage icebreakers and worship and prayer but leave it for the leader to instigate. Sub-groups and thinking time encouraged as possible initial responses to questions.

    Who could lead it?

    This resource is easy to use, so would suit any group leader.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Booklet contains much input material plus boxed quotes and all the questions, so plenty to keep and consider. The input material is designed for reading before the session rather than during it.

    How good is any digital material?

    CD is clear to listen to. Each subject introduced by one contributor and commented on by the others. The mix creates material for discussion as they bring distinctive and different angles.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Each session has the topic pre-reading (4 A5 pages), and then decisions to be made as to how to use the CD, which questions to choose perhaps; general familiarisation with material; what other elements to include in the session.

    Is there website support? Links?

    www.yorkcourses.co.uk contains a downloadable guide for organising a Lent course with York Courses, plus an organiser's checklist.

    Is it dated?

    No, though the events to which contributors refer may in due course. New contributors included as new editions are published.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Leader's notes encourage icebreakers, worship and prayer but leave it for the leader to instigate. Reading the session should happen beforehand, but Bible study and other questions on the theme are all group-based. The fact that a variety of approaches to the topics is aired on the CD will provoke interaction too - could be interesting if people disagree with some of these.

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

    This resource will suit those who like listening, thinking and reading – as well as being prepared to join in with discussion.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Group members would need to be happy with reading in preparation, and concentrating on listening to the CD so may not suit groups which are used to being more lively. There is a bit of remembering to do about what the contributors have said as well, although the transcript can be referred to. The contributors bring different angles to the subject which will bring helpful new insights as well as provoke discussion, as people are bound to disagree at times.

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

    Some of the questions and subjects encourage personal honesty, and a grappling with the subject, so there may be important issues that arise. But application is often implicit rather than explicit.

  • How much of the material has Bible study as its focus?

    45%. Each session has around a dozen questions, roughly half of which are focused on relevant biblical passages.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Some of the pre-reading is based around or refers to biblical material. Many of the questions seek to elicit a personal response, and link them firmly with relevant biblical passages.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Depending on subject, this varies, but all the contributors seek to ground what they say in what people think or their experience of life.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Range of contributors bring a range of perspectives.

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

    This is a thoughtful approach to many topical, demanding, theological and interesting subjects.

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

    The contributions plus questions cannot fail to provoke discussion and further thinking for participants.

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

    The range of contributors bring a refreshing variety of thought to issues of faith and vision. Whether they speak your language or not, they are bound to provoke reactions - no one will agree with everything!

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    All the subjects are relevant to everyday life and thought. The questions invite us to consider the issues thoughtfully; how you apply what you discuss is more left up to the group. A good leader might well encourage some more application.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Depending on subject. See e.g. Live Your Faith.

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

    Depending on subject. See e.g. Can we build a better world?

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Depending on subject. See e.g. Can we build a better world? Definitely an awareness of these issues.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Depending on subject. See Handing on the Torch, New World, Old Faith.

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