We start at 10.00am but, depending on transport arrangements, some folk arrive earlier and have a coffee beforehand. We close the official discussion about 11.25. Most of us then have tea or coffee (with some including bacon rolls from the Coffee Bar) and chat and informal discussions continue. We are always finished by noon. We are very aware that appointments or other commitments sometimes mean that people may arrive after the start or have to leave before the tea and coffee arrive.
There are usually between 12 and 16 in the group although it can be as many as 20. We are a diverse group from several different churches and traditions, with a few more men than women and an age range from 20 to 80+.
There is a wide range in knowledge in the group and we encourage questions when we are looking at a passage so that any queries or difficulties can be clarified or explained at the time rather than wait till the end and risk points being forgotten. Quite often, these interruptions open up the discussion and that helps us share our knowledge and understanding and address doubts. We usually share the reading and though everyone is encouraged to participate, some folk prefer to just listen. As is normal with discussion groups mutual respect and confidentiality are key elements; we always say that, “What is said in the group, stays in the group.”
Our aim is to help folk, through reading the Bible and discussion, to grow in their relationship with Jesus, to increase their knowledge of the Bible, and to deepen their personal faith.