Encounter is a programme of exploration into discipleship and vocation that has been developed by and for Methodist Christians. The programme is for people who have a desire to deepen their faith, and increase their awareness of what being a Christian disciple means for their everyday lives and what God is calling them to be and do.
The various elements that make up the course are designed to encourage reflection on questions such as:
What does it mean for me to follow Jesus today?
What is my calling?
What are my gifts and skills?
How do I live out my discipleship within and beyond my local church?
What part can I play in God’s mission for the Church?
What are the various possibilities for service?
What does Encounter involve?
The Encounter programme provides an opportunity for participants to ‘journey’ with others. The core part of Encounter revolves around monthly group meetings, usually held on an evening over a period of several months (up to a year). Sessions are varied and usually involve prayer, engagement with the Bible, discussions, guest speakers and time for reflection. In addition, participants also meet regularly with an Encounter ‘Accompanist’ to discuss and reflect on their sense of discipleship and their discernment of a sense of calling.
Owing to the current restrictions, the programme will be delivered online using the Zoom platform. We also anticipate that the Accompanist support will be delivered virtually.
Session 1 (introduction)
Saturday 30 January (11am-1pm)
Wednesday 3 February (7pm-9pm)
Wednesday 3 March (7pm-9pm)
Wednesday 24 March (7pm-9pm)
Wednesday 21 April (7pm-9pm)
Wednesday 19 May (7pm-9pm)
Wednesday 16 June (7pm-9pm)
Wednesday 14 July (7pm-9pm)
Session 9 (final session)
Saturday 31 July OR Saturday 14 August (TBC)
Over the past few years, we have found that those who have engaged with the programme have offered overwhelmingly positive feedback about the value gained from participating. With consent, we have included the following testimonials from some of those who participated in our most recent programme.
Alison Cobb, Lambeth Circuit
“Taking part in the Encounter programme was a very rich experience that gave me a better understanding of myself in relation to God and my life's path. I'd wanted to explore how life might develop as I approach a gradual retirement from work. The programme helped me to understand vocation in different ways, and be more alive to God's call. There are ideas and practices, such as journalling, that are now part of my life and that I'm sure will help me as I journey on. It was really helpful to see the variety of ways that callings are lived out and to have a supportive space to reflect on my own gifts and desires and where they might be useful in church and community. I'm still exploring possibilities for study and other things I'm drawn to. What my post-retirement life will look like is an open question, but I feel better equipped to move towards it, and more in tune with the bigger question of being closer to God”