What to expect from your Sycamore session

Here is some basic information about what a typical Sycamore session involves. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at the “Why attend a group” section.

There will be a warm welcome, some good food (or at least a hot drink!), some good conversation, a thought-provoking film, and lots of space to share ideas and hear from others. There is no pressure to speak and you can be yourself without fear of being judged. Why not take a risk and come along!

But if you want to know some of the geeky details about how the course works, here they are:

LENGTH

The length of the course will vary, depending on the context and which Sycamore “pathway” your group is following. Typically, it might be 8 or 10 weeks, but the shorter courses could be 4 to 6 weeks. You can check with the church or community that is running your local sessions.

TIMING

There will usually be a regular time to meet each week. The sessions might last anywhere between 40 minutes (with a quick cup of coffee as the film starts) or up to two hours (if there is a long meal and a long discussion). The publicity or the group leader should tell you clearly what time your session starts and finishes, so you can plan your day.

ATTENDANCE

It’s great if you can come to the first session and go through the course from start to finish. But you are welcome at any time, so if you turn up for the first time at one of the later sessions – that’s fine! You can come and go as your time allows.

COMMITMENT

There is no pressure and no commitment. You don’t need to sign up and the Sycamore team does not need your contact details. If you want to stop coming at any time – that’s fine.

PARTICIPATION

You can participate in the discussions as much or as little as you wish. If you want to just listen then that’s fine. There is no “forced sharing” and you won’t be put on the spot.

EXTRA GUESTS

If you enjoy your first session and want to bring others with you for the next session, they are very welcome!

COST

Sycamore sessions are free to attend. There might be a donations box to help cover the cost of the food and venue.

STRUCTURE

A typical Sycamore session involves:

  • A meal or a drink
  • A short film
  • Some informal discussion in small groups
  • A clear finishing time so you know when you can leave!

SPECIAL EVENTS

There might also be a day or even a weekend set aside for a time of “retreat” – to have some extra time to reflect and share together.

RESOURCES

There are free online resources available for participants who want to be reminded of what has gone on in the sessions or want to go deeper into certain areas of discussion. There include some general resources to help people explore Christianity, and specific resources that link to each session and to the topics that have been discussed there.

FOLLOW UP

The church or community running Sycamore will often have some follow up events or groups for those who have enjoyed coming to the initial Sycamore meetings. Remember to ask the leaders if you are interested.

WHAT IF YOU CAN’T FIND A COURSE TO ATTEND?

Sycamore courses are run by local churches and communities, and resourced centrally by the Sycamore charity. The central charity goes not coordinate the local groups, so if you cannot find one to attend the best thing is for you to ask your local church to start a group or to start one yourself! You can find out more information about the benefits of running a Sycamore group here.