House and other small groups

House Groups are a well-established part of church life at St. Laurence’s. They provide an opportunity, not just for study and discussion to help our growth in Christian discipleship, but also to get to know a small group of people very well, support them and care for one another, helping each person to explore their potential in Christ. Cards called Oikos (meaning household) have been produced to encourage each home group member to pray for the other members of their group, their link missionary and 3 uncommitted friends. In this way we seek to exploit the potential in small groups to be the backbone of various ministries in the life of the parish, including in outreach to the friends of the members..

At present over 100 people belong to the various groups and a display board is in the south transept of St. Laurence’s with details of groups, but there are also 2 groups for St. Michael’s and a group each year in Lent for All Saints. They meet in members’ homes, some in the daytime, but most in the evening. They meet on different days, as convenient for group members, and with different frequencies, though fortnightly is the most common. They vary in size, but most have 8-12 members.

There is also a Women’s Bible Study which meets every Friday morning at 9.30am, and a Men’s Group, which meets at 7.30am on alternate Saturdays. These two groups meet in the Parish Centre.

Groups have developed their own style and format, but generally there will be time for Bible study, discussion, prayer, conversation – and refreshment! Notes are produced to go with the sermon themes most Sundays, so the message can be chewed over, “prayed in” and applied into our lives, but groups are free to choose their own materials – a huge range is available in the parish office. The home produced notes are based on the 5 W’s of Welcome (getting to know one another), Worship (connecting with God), Word (hearing what God is saying), Wind (prayer) and Witness/Works (living it out in the week, service and outreach), in the power of God’s Spirit, supported by the prayers of the group, based on the pattern in Acts 2.

The groups are organised in clusters to support the leaders and help with pastoral issues which crop up. We regard such groups as being the best way to ensure all are cared for and encourage all to join one who would like to do so.

Further details from Richard Hill, Louise Magowan, John Hughes or Robert Rayner.