What does it mean to be a member of a Christian community today? Dietrich Bonhoeffer wanted to transform the nature of the Christian community from being seen as a Sunday-only affair. His book ‘Life Together’ offers practical advice on how to live together as a Christian community in the church, in the world and in those times when we find ourselves alone.
This year's Advent Course will explore Bonhoeffer's ideas through an hour of lively discussion and practical advice in the first three weeks of Advent, combined with a retreat day at the Royal Foundation of St Katherine. Refreshments will be provided, so please register attendance catering purposes by emailing Rev. Phillip Dawson.
Week 1: Life Together as a Blessing
Sunday 3rd December at 12pm with a soup lunch
We are delighted to be joined by Bonhoeffer scholar Dr Guido de Graaff for our introductory session.
- Who was Bonhoeffer and why did he write ‘Life Together’?
- How did Bonhoeffer suggest we can live together gracefully?
- How is Jesus central to our relationships?
- How does community rooted in Jesus relate to the messy realities of life together?
It is helpful but not essential to have read Chapter 1 of ‘Life Together’ by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in preparation for this session.
Guido de Graaff is Tutor and Director of Studies at St Augustine’s College of Theology (London campus), where he teaches Christian Doctrine and Ethics. Following undergraduate theological study in his native Netherlands, he moved toOxford where he wrote his doctoral thesis on friendship and its relevance for politics and church life. Central to that project – subsequently published as Politics inFriendship: A Theological Account – is a theological commentary on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s friendship with Bishop George Bell, amid the hostilities of the Second World War.
Week 2: Life Together in Church
Sunday 10th December at 5pm with tea and cake
We explore what it means to be a member of a worshipping Christian community.
- How do patterns of prayer, worship and study bring us closer together?
- How do we worship authentically alongside those who have wronged and been wronged?
- How is forgiveness central to our worshipping life together?
It is helpful but not essential to have read Chapters 2 and 5 of ‘Life Together’ by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in preparation for this session.
Day Retreat : Life Alone – at the Royal Foundation of St Katherine, Limehouse
Saturday 16th December 10am-5pm
Join us for a day retreat as we explore disciplines for Christian living for the times when we find ourselves alone. Drawing on the wisdom of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we will consider the balance between speech and silence, practices of meditation and approaches to private prayer. Lunch and tea provided. To help meet the costs of the retreat a voluntary contribution of £25 would be appreciated.
Week 3: Life Together in the World
Sunday 17th December at 12pm with a soup lunch
This week we explore strategies for authentic Christian living in the workplace and in public life; how to listen without judgement and how to bear one another’s burdens.
- How can we live as a member of a Christian community when we can’t spend all our time praying and studying the scriptures?
It is helpful but not essential to have read Chapter 4 of ‘Life Together’ by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in preparation for this session.