Small Christian Communities

What is a Small Christian Community?

A Small Christian community (SCC) is a gathering of people, usually 6 to 12, who

Pray together, listen and reflect on Scripture readings.

Share how the Word of God relates to their life experiences and how it connects to everyday life.

Take on responsibility for living as members of the Church in the world.

Encourage and support one another.

Are commissioned as missionaries to make disciples.

Small Christian Communities are an experience of Church on a smaller level.

How Can I Become a Member of a Small Christian Community?

To become a member of a Small Christian Community at Our Lady of Grace, call the Parish Office, 352-746-2144, contact any Small Christian Community leader or see one of the core community coordinators at Our Lady of Grace Parish.  They are Joan Dunn, Rose Mary Jeselson, and Ely Segundo.Don’t wait to be invited.

Small Christian Communities Are Not…

Bible Study Groups… Though Scripture is an important part.

Support Groups… But they can be therapeutic

Prayer Groups… Although prayer is the foundation.

Social Groups… Though relationships and caring are essential.

Catechetical Groups… But learning about the faith is an essential element.

Justice Groups… Although they work to transform society.

Small Christian Communities Prompt Outreach, Evangelization

Anyone who has discovered Christ must lead others to him. A great joy cannot be kept to oneself. It has to be passed on. (Pope Benedict XVI, Cologne, Aug. 21, 2005)

Reading, study, discussion and dialogue deepen the personal faith of participants and lead to action. To this end,

The Pastor specifically and directly has called on Small Christian Communities in the parish to be the primary instrument through which our parish evangelizes.

People in Small Christian Communities in Our Lady of Grace Parish are commissioned to pass on the Catholic faith.

Small Christian Communities should reach out to the community. By doing so, they can lead practicing and non-practicing Catholics, as well as non-Catholics and unbelievers, to saving grace and full participation in the Church

What is Faith Sharing?

Faith sharing is a process in which we relate the story of the people of God with our own story. We draw a connection between how God has acted – as seen in Scripture, creeds, liturgy and history—and how God is acting in our own lives. Our personal history, our relationship with the Church, our gifts and vocation, and the context of our lives, with their relationships, responsibilities and opportunities, are reflected upon in faith sharing.

One of the wonderful things about faith sharing is that there are no “right” answers. When we share faith, we are sharing from our own experience. Members share what the readings say to them in reference to their own lives.

How will this benefit my life?

Your relationship with God and others deepens.

You will be invited to grow as a disciple and be a disciple-maker.

Commitment to family, work, friends and community is strengthened.

You will receive support in living as a follower of Jesus Christ and in working to transform society.

Who Should Join?

Anyone who wants to grow as a person of faith — adults, young adults, youth and families are invited to participate.

What Kind of Questions Should I Expect to Address?

Members of Small Christian Communities typically find themselves in a process of self-discovery, spiritual growth, and openness to the Holy Spirit.

What is happening in my own life and the world in which I live?

What does Jesus or Christian tradition tell me about how I am to respond?

How will the Holy Spirit inspire me in group discussion?

What will I do differently to respond with Christian values to the various situations in my life?

How can I become an agent of the Holy Spirit in spreading the Word of God?

How Does the Parish Benefit?

Parish life studies show that Small Christian Communities yield long term benefits. Parishioners are:

More interested in ongoing catechesis.

More likely to assume parish responsibilities, and

More involved in the work of evangelization and realize the need to give of their time, talent and treasure.

Small Christian Communities At Our Lady of Grace Parish

The history of Small Christian communities in Our Lady of Grace Parish is a story of development. The study groups began as “Renew 2000.” This was a program to help prepare participants for the new millennium. Their focus was strictly Scripture.

In 2001, Renew was completed. Participants had found the program satisfying and recommended that it be continued. As a result, the parish’s small study groups in January 2002 adopted a study program called “Quest.”

Some Small Christian Communities in Our Lady of Grace Parish continue to base their discussions on Quest resources, but others have moved on to study books of their choice, such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church and From Maintenance to Mission, Evangelization and Revitalization of the Parish. The name Quest, however, persists.