In the Gospels we see Jesus Christ not only calling his followers to share the Good News but also forming them for this task. There are many opportunities in the Church today to be formed and receive training in evangelisation.
The Diocesan Evangelisation Team offer training events in evangelisation which are publicised in this section as well as in NORES publicity, such as the newsletter "NORES News" which is sent to parishes and schools and also available via the NORES website . We also have a mailing list for those interested in evangelisation. If you would like to be kept informed of upcoming events via e-mail or post, please get in touch via the ‘Contact Details’ section. You can also be removed from his list at any time by contacting us.
Please also see below for details of events that are coming up in the near future.
Pentecost Novena 10th-18th May 2013
After his resurrection from the dead and before ascending into heaven Jesus Christ commanded his disciples to stay in the city until they had been “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). Faithful to the Lord’s command the disciples returned to the Upper Room in Jerusalem where ‘they all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus’ (Acts 1:14). When the day of Pentecost came the promise of the Father was completely fulfilled and “all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4).
Like those early disciples we too in our day need to be clothed with power from on high, we too need to be constantly filled with the Holy Spirit. For this reason the Church presents us with an opportunity in preparation for Pentecost to ‘return to the Upper Room’ in order to pray for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our own lives, upon the Church and the whole world.
In our own Diocese of Northampton the Diocesan Evangelisation Team, in partnership with others, is seeking to encourage simple prayer services around the Diocese during the nine days leading up to Pentecost. Just as Pope John XXIII and the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council did. we ask that the Lord would “renew his wonders in this our day as by a new Pentecost”.
A schedule of services at variousl ocations around the Diocese is available here.
Adult Faith Formation, School Chaplaincy, Liturgy
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Report from NORES Summer School 26th-28th July 2011
The first day of this year’s NORES Summer School on Ministries in the Church saw Dr Anne Inman, Director of Education for Parish Service in the Southwark Diocese, providing a lively review of the development of parish ministries of all kinds from apostolic times up to the present. She put challenging questions to her audience and gave time for discussion.
Central to the review was a quotation from the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem (1965):
“Lay people’s right and duty to be Apostles derives from their union with Christ their head. Inserted as they are in the mystical Body of Christ by baptism and strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation, it is by the Lord himself that they are assigned to the apostolate."
Much of the remaining time was spent considering the implications of that understanding, including the development of lay ministries, lay formation, volunteering,full time employment and future development.
In particular it is difficult to envisage implementing the laity’s right and duty to be apostles without adequate funding for their formation.
Relevant extracts from the writings of William Rausch and Kristian Paver aided the consideration of possible developments, including ‘mandated lay ministry’ and the need to iron out apparent inconsistencies in Church policies towards lay ministries. Continuing the theme, Caravaggio’s painting of ‘The call of St Matthew’ set the scene for a packed, enthusiastic and informative second day on the subject of ‘Volunteering in Parishes’.
Like St Matthew we are all called to serve. Speaker, Barbara Wallace, invited us to respond to various questions about volunteering in our parishes and communities. We reflected on what a volunteer is, and what level of volunteering goes on in our parishes. We considered the motivators or blocks to volunteering, and how to recognise the skills and talents parishioners have, and encourage them to participate. We were asked whether we have a culture of participation in our parishes, and how we recognise and celebrate those who volunteer and participate in parish ministries.
Our conversation led to the understanding of the need for welcoming, enabling and equipping volunteers. A survey showed 80% of people would volunteer provided they know exactly what they are saying ‘yes’ to in terms of time and role commitment. There is great enthusiasm to love and serve the Lord. Providing support, ongoing training as required, and a framework within which to work, encourages volunteers to come forward and minister with confidence.
David Payne, the Director of Catholic Evangelisation Services, led a wonderful evening of faith sharing in Luton to end the second day of the summer school and was back the next morning in Milton Keynes to share on the theme of ‘Ministering with Confidence’ on the third and final day of the Summer School. Among the many ‘plates that we have to spin’ in our parishes he suggested that there are six that require the most attention: We ne d to develop ever more welcoming parish communities. We need vibrant Liturgy because it meets our hunger for God. We need to be sharing God’s Love. We need to remind people of the Good News. We need to be offering Healing Prayer. We need to encounter the Holy Spirit. David continued by reminding us how we have been invited into the throne room of God the Father, and because of this we should: dare to believe, intercede with power and authority and be ambassadors for Christ.
Following David’s session there was Mass using the New Translation of the Roman Missal and then everyone enjoyed a celebratory conference lunch. The Summer School concluded with a plenary session helping us to discern the way forward in service
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Report from 2011 Diocesan Evangelisation Day by Bob Bryant (Diocesan Evangelisation Team Member)
On Saturday 19th March 2011, the Diocesan Evangelisation Team hosted an evangelisation day at St Edwards Primary School, Kettering attended by 70-80 people. The title for the day was “The Hope of God’s Call” and was a reflection on a passage from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Ch 1:18-19). After the initial welcome, the theme for the day was outlined by Alex Heath as he spoke about being ‘ENLIGHTENED’ by Jesus Christ. This theme was expanded on by Fr Simon Penhalagan whose talk was entitled ‘CALLED’ and later in the afternoon by Fr Andrew Richardson who talked about being ‘EMPOWERED’. The talks centred on the need to listen and be guided at all times by the Holy Spirit. To always keep our hearts open and uncluttered by external distractions and the stubborn pursuit of our own ideas. The speakers interspersed the talks with some entertaining and amusing insights to their own experiences relevant to theme of the day.
In between the talks, Henry Worthy, of the Diocesan Evangelisation Team, led a short prayerful session based on the traditional Catholic practice of Lectio Divina, which was followed by the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
The evangelisation theme continued with some shared personal stories demonstrating the many varied ways in which evangelisation occurs, such as through music, through the work in our Parish communities and through our own faith stories.
As the day drew to a close some time was set aside for guided prayer and to give people the opportunity to receive prayer ministry. The event concluded with a prayer and a closing hymn.
Throughout the day there was the chance to browse and purchase some excellent Christian resources provided by Good News Books, and to meet new friends and exchange views.
A wonderful and inspiring day, not least because the weather was so good that most of us took the opportunity to eat our lunches ‘Al Fresco’ on the school playing field.
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On Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th November 2010 a group of 32 people gathered to experience the ‘Philip Course’. The Philip Course is a simple evangelisation course that gives participants the opportunity to revisit the profound and life changing message of the Good News in a simple and creative way.
One participant commented, ‘what a wonderful tonic to have the basics of our faith revisited so powerfully as on the two days of the Philip course. It is easy to let the wonders of what we believe become everyday and worn and pushed to the back of one’s mind and heart. I didn’t learn any new fact about my faith but I came away refreshed and glowing, and with a deep sense of peace and joy.’
Another participant shared the following about her experience of the Philip Course ‘generally as a weekend I found it very powerful, not at all what I expected. I loved the format of talk and the personal response of the prayer moment. I felt the gentle way of presenting the course made it accessible to all and not threatening.’ Another added that for him ‘the use of symbols was effective.’ And that ‘it was the use of Sacred Scripture that I appreciated most of all. Many thanks for laying on a wonderful event. Personally I am much the better for the experience.’
A couple who came on the course felt that they ‘would definitely recommend it to anyone.’
As well as talks, moments of prayer and shared meals which all took place at the course venue of St Gregory’s Catholic Primary School in Northampton, the course also included a visit to the parish of St Gregory the Great, Northampton where participants shared in the celebration of the 9am Sunday Mass. During the visit there was an opportunity to share some blessings of the course with parishioners through a creative presentation and a visual display. Participants on the course also served refreshments, adorned the tables with prayer and scripture materials and socialised after Mass in the parish hall sharing their experience of the course.
Members of the team are now discerning when the next course will be run.