Connection to Christ

I am a facilitator for one of the 10 Connection to Christ (C2C) groups recently started at our parish. Prior to launching in Lent, the other facilitators and I underwent a training period where we met weekly for ten weeks. The format for those meetings is similar to what we do with our current groups: we begin and end with prayer, include readings from the Bible and discuss the meaning and application of these scriptures.  In the groups, participants are encouraged to share to the degree that they feel comfortable, while being careful to practice thoughtful consideration of the other members in order to foster their participation as well.  Each week, we are given a spiritual challenge having the objective of drawing us closer to Jesus Christ.  During the training period, I found myself looking forward more and more to the sessions as the weeks went by.  I liked the setting that allowed and encouraged me to share my experience of God in my life, while hearing the expressions of the loving-kindness of God from the other participants.  This joyful anticipation of the meetings carried over to the group meetings going on now.  The current C2C groups average about 10 members each.  Each member has his or her own copy of a book that helps us to understand and apply to our lives the Sunday Mass Scriptures of Lent. We have guide questions, but we also remain open to the workings of the Holy Spirit. In my role as facilitator I need to be careful to breathe gently on the little fires that the Holy Spirit starts, to help them to grow, while being cautious to not blow them out. The C2C groups also are presented with a weekly challenge to spur us individually to a closer connection to Christ. Such examples include increasing our prayer time or doing a loving act towards someone in our lives who is living outside an acknowledged relationship to Jesus Christ.  At the next meeting, we share how our response to the challenge played out.  C2C is intended to be a long-range, recurring cycle of group meetings with two or three sessions per year consisting of six to eight meetings per session.  It is hoped that as the C2C ministry blossoms at Santa Sophia, it will expand to include participants from outside our, or any, church.  The groups meet in private homes, or other meeting place that provide a comfortable setting for people who would not be at ease coming to the church grounds.  The goal of C2C is to help draw closer to Christ everyone willing to participate.  This will be seen in non-believers coming to faith in Christ, believers growing as Disciples of Christ, and disciples being sent out in an evangelical spirit of apostleship to draw more people into this cycle of faith, that they may taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

-Christopher Dameron