On Saturday 17th October the second of the Follow-up Days was held, for the south of the Diocese, at Immaculate Heart of Mary church in Great Missenden.
An enthusiastic audience of around 55 people gathered in the Damien Hall to hear from:
- Alex Heath of the Diocesan Evangelisation Team who explained about the Proclaim ’15 National Conference; delegates who had attended shared their stories of inspiring encounters:
- Mike Gibbons from Rushden reminded us about the centrality of prayer in all our evangelisation efforts and Fr Jude Iroh, Andy Richardson and Bob Bryant inspired us with the possibilities of forming Parish Evangelisation Teams.
- Bernie Garfitt, like Bob a parishioner at Burnham, shared about the testimony workshop she attended and how we can prepare and use our faith story particularly with friends in everyday life.
- Michelle Collins from our host parish shared about her experience of the Northampton Proclaim day and how we she was inspired to take part in the outreach event, encouraging us all to go beyond our own fears to reach out with the Good News.
- Avril Baigent, also from the host parish recounted a very successful Family Day that had been held a fortnight before; targeted mainly at the children and parents of the local Catholic schools, it had been very well supported and a great success, bringing more of them into Mass on the following Sundays.
- Catherine Mulligan from Sacred Heart parish, Northampton and her sister Elizabeth joined Bob Bryant from Burnham parish to speak about the Bible Timeline study course and its benefits for evangelisation;
- Beaconsfield-based representatives of the Landings programme Ian and Maggie Milrain explained its structure as a welcoming format for people finding their way back to the Church.
- Newly-appointed NYMO Youth Worker Laura Cullen introduced herself and explained about the work she would be doing in the southern part of the Diocese - primarily promoting World Youth Day next summer, in the first instance.
- Fr Fleming from Aylesbury reminded us that evangelisation was something that should be done through friendship and ecumenically as many of our fellow Christians had excellent existing initiatives we could share in.
After the talks, and overlapping with a lunch break, we were "sent out in pairs" to the adjoining streets to invite people to the church forecourt where fresh coffee and home-made cakes were available. Mostly this was simply a show of friendship, but Alex reported one deep discussion about the Gospel.
The day closed with Mass celebrated by Fr Wayne Coughlin and Fr Andy Richardson. Bernie from Our Lady of Peace, Burnham parish gave a very frank and moving testimony of her journey to faith.
Now it’s over to us! Glory be to God!
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