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Old Lodge Lane
Baptist Church
God, his Community, and his Church
Discovering God in all his power and glory, and practicing walking with him on our journey.
Introduction

Welcome to this series of conversations. The Church is a community of believers, within the larger local community, and God is working to bless both through each other. This is the start of conversations where we can, as people with many varied backgrounds and beliefs share together about our experiences and understanding of the needs of the community and of how God is working in us all to achieve great change, and to enrich our lives.

At the time of writing this series, most of the world is experiencing the Coronavirus pandemic and many communities and countries are experiencing different levels of lockdown, preventing people from having normal social interaction and stopping many from carrying out routine employment and other tasks. People of faith are experiencing severe restrictions on their public religious activities. We can see deep fractures developing in our civilisation.  Global warming appears not to being addressed, and there are more and more tensions in international relationships and in socio-political relationships.

Many people are asking what is happening.  There is fear and tension in people’s lives and hearts, and real doubts about how families can cope. Those suffering the most are the poorest and most underprivileged.  People feel abandoned by society, and agencies who are supposed to help them are not stepping up to the plate. We believe that Coronavirus is not a zero-sum game.  Huge resources have understandably been poured into the search for ways of controlling and mitigating this threat. But other threats and needs have not gone away, they have been pushed aside, indeed some of them are being exacerbated because attention is focussed so tightly on the virus. Global climate catastrophise are still occurring. Wars are being waged.  Governments take advantage of our distraction to bring in dangerous legislation. Persecution of Christians and those of other faiths continues around the globe.  In countries worldwide the gap between the rich and the poor increases exponentially. There is joy that we have developed vaccines, but they are not shared equally around the world, those in poor countries still lose out, as they do with other medicines and treatments.  There are hungry people living in our community and not getting the food and help they deserve. People are risking their lives to get to Britain, because of the appalling conditions in their country of birth.

The God we worship loves the poor and the sick, cares for the downtrodden and persecuted, and is a God of justice and peace.  He understands poverty, his son was born and brought up in it.  So, how do we, as His people, go about bringing change?  The purpose of these sessions is to give ourselves space honestly to explore what is happening, where God fits in, what affect does Jesus have on events, and what is the Church’s role.  As we explore these, there are practical suggestions to encourage you to spend some time each day developing good habits that help us grow in our relationship with God and remain in a good place in our relationship with him. We believe that God can and will bring change if we allow him to.  And if that sounds unbelievable, remember that Jesus fed 5000 families from five loaves and two fishes, and rose from the dead when he had been crucified for healing the sick and needy.

We want to emphasise that this is not us telling you what to believe and how to live.  We want to hear your experiences and opinions so that we can enrich each other’s understanding. The course is open to everybody, and we do not presume your faith or past experience. Please use the opportunities to feedback and respectfully to question what is said.

There are several ways by which you can participate in the conversation.  If you are participating in an online group, you can put in your feedback, and ask questions, via the chat box or in chat rooms and this will be picked up.  If we ever get back to the stage when we can meet together as groups and share, that will be wonderful, and a little hard to imagine at the moment.

If you are downloading sessions and working through them on your own, that is great, and you can contact us with questions or feedback, via e-mail at (office@ollbc.org.uk) or  by link from the Church website, click on ‘about us’ and then  ‘contact us’.  We will pick these up and come back to you.  We will also try to summarise all the feedback we have had and share it, anonymously, with you from time to time.

The sessions will follow a similar pattern, with two main sections.

The first section will be called Discovering, and will help us to think about what we think, know and have been taught about a topic, what some of the basic knowledge actually is, and what it tells us about our lives.

The second section will be called Practising, and will help us to consider how we can form and practise habits that can enrich our spiritual, social and community lives. You will be able to hear about these things and try them, to discover if they are habits that would help you.

We will also be including links to video clips and podcasts which are relevant to the theme we are discussing.

As the song from the Sound of Music says “Let’s start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start”.  If we want to understand our relationship with God and his world, we need to start at the beginning, so we turn in session 1 to looking at how it all started.

So, please fill the form out below to start the course. Once you have filled out the information we need you will receive an email from us with a link for the next module.

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