An opportunity for Christians meeting together to:
- Share stories and experience
- Appreciate our different traditions
- Find nourishment for our faith
- Seek God in all things
This leaflet is offered as a way of helping Christians to share and grow in the faith. It is offered alongside its sister leaflet Sharing our Spiritual Treasures, which is probably best used first.
Gifts from the Treasure Trove is based on the idea of Receptive Ecumenism. We often think about what our Church might offer to the Christian community. Receptive Ecumenism goes further. Instead of looking at what we can bring, our strengths, perhaps, it invites us to look at the gifts and strengths of others, to notice what we can learn or receive.
Download the Gifts from the Treasure Trove leaflet here:
We recommend most strongly that you download this leaflet for group members. At the very least, facilitators should ensure that group members have a copy of the text under the headings of ‘the meeting’ and ‘guidelines’ below, and this can be helpful when inviting people to the meeting. Be aware that though this leaflet is deceptively simple, the process it describes is disproportionately effective and valuable.
Gifts from the Treasure Trove, and its sister resource Sharing our Spiritual Treasures, are intended for ecumenical groups. They may, however, also be used by groups from one particular church, though they would need to have some experience of other denominations. You may wish to invite others who would value this way of sharing. The group, ideally of 6-8 people, could be one which meets regularly but need not be.
To share the rich variety of spiritual experiences within and beyond the churches.
Spend some time before the meeting
Think about the different traditions/Churches/denominations with which you have had some contact. What do you particularly like about them? Is there an aspect of their life or worship which could enrich you or your denomination?
You may find you focus on:
- A memory of something which was significant for you – maybe an event or a person.
- An emphasis which another Church gives to something, whether in worship or the way it organizes its life.
- Something from the other denomination’s story.
- A hymn, a poem, or a piece of music.
Give thanks to God for these gifts and for all the good gifts given to the Church, an Aladdin’s cave of many treasures.
After this time of reflection, make a few notes for yourself. They’ll help you remember what you want to say at the meeting and will free you to listen to what others are sharing.?
At the meeting
Say what you were thinking about before the meeting. What gifts in particular have been given to you from other Churches? How can you or your denomination benefit from the treasures held by other traditions? (Share only what you want to.)
Listen to other people without comment. This is a sharing group, not a discussion.
Reflect on the gifts which others have received from the different Churches. Have any of them chimed with your experiences, or have they been different? Were you surprised by gifts others have received from your own tradition?
Consider, as a group, whether you would like to meet again for other opportunities to share your faith journeys. Some suggestions are given below.
As this touches on personal experiences, it is essential that the group understands and accepts the guidelines.
- Create a warm, friendly, expectant atmosphere. A focal point may be helpful – perhaps the objects brought by the group.
- Agree together the timing and length of the meeting. Ensure each person has time to speak.
- Encourage people to contribute as and when they feel appropriate and agree to keep confidentiality.
- Let the group listen and receive what is said in silence: remind people that this is not a discussion.
- After everyone has spoken, there may be silent or shared reflection.
- Allow time for the group to consider whether it would like to meet again.
Some suggestions for future meetings
- If you have not already done so, use the sister leaflet Sharing our Spiritual Treasures.
- Where do we see the Holy Spirit at work today? Share your experience
- A Bible Study on Matthew 13.44-46 (the treasure hidden in a field, and the pearl of great price).
- A session looking at the meaning of words such as faith, spirituality, mission, prayer, witness to help each other explore and deepen our relationship with God.
- Spend time together in prayer, silence or a Quiet Day.
- How has Gifts from the Treasure Trove deepened your understanding of a faith which embraces the whole of life?