Why run a remote Sycamore group?

Many people are seeking faith and friendship but unable to meet together. A remote Sycamore group helps people come together online.

It’s easy to run Remote Sycamore and there are many benefits from connecting and sharing in this way. You just need to get creative and work out how to provide the virtual doughnuts!

Read on to see how you can run an enquiry group, a formation group or even a whole sacramental programme via Remote Sycamore.

Sycamore can be used very easily with remote groups. The basic Sycamore format stays the same: people meet together (through a video conferencing platform); they watch a Sycamore film; and they have some discussion. If it’s a large group they can easily break out into smaller discussion groups.

There are many benefits that come with a remote group, especially in the Covid-19 environment. It’s a safe way of meeting without conerns about social distancing; it avoids the need to travel; for that reason it involves less time commitment; the video conversation allows for a surprising depth and honest between members of the group; it allows more flexibility to change times; and people can log in even if their routines have changed and they would not normally be free for a physical meeting.

This section of the website is dedicated to helping you organise and run your remote groups. But don’t forget to look at the General Planning Pages here. And if you are not familiar with Sycamore in general then you can visit our Why Start a Group page here.

Sycamore is about bringing people together in friendship and helping them to explore the big questions of faith. The ideal was always to have a meal together before watching the Sycamore film and getting into a discussion. The Covid-19 Pandemic made it impossible for many groups to meet together. But it also created new opportunities for connecting via video conferencing and social media.

Sycamore is an ideal resource for using with remote groups. All of the materials are available online, free of charge. This includes not just the films but also the planning and training resources, and the follow-up materials (“Session Guides”) for participants and leaders. And this website gives practical advice about how to run your remote group: how to choose a video platform; how to show the films; how to lead the remote session; how to plan the registration; etc.

Remote Sycamore is an invaluable “Plan B” for those who are not able to run physical groups in their communities. It allows you to continue running your pre-pandemic enquiry groups and your sacramental preparation.

But Remote Sycamore can also be a first choice for those who wish to explore new ways of reaching out and building communities of friendship and faith. It allows parishes and chaplaincies to evangelise and share their faith beyond the physical boundaries of their local community, and it allows individuals to run independent groups with friends or as part of a wider social media outreach.

Visit the main “Remote Planning” page to get started.

BEFORE YOU START

BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT PLANNING A SYCAMORE COURSE

Before anything, make sure you understand the key elements of Sycamore by reading the Why Start a Group page, and take a look at the Key Decisions for Your Team page. Most of the information here is relevant for remote groups, especially if you have not used Sycamore in your parish or chaplaincy before.

SIGN UP AND REGISTER YOUR GROUP

We encourage everyone who is involved in a Sycamore group, especially team members, to sign up for the Sycamore newsletter. This means we can keep you informed about new resources as soon as they are available.

We also encourage group leaders to register their group. This allows us to share special resources and invitations for group leaders; it also helps us to know how and where Sycamore is being used, so we can target the resources and training in more focussed ways.

WHICH COURSE/PATHWAY WILL YOU FOLLOW?

Click here to decide which Sycamore course/pathway you want to follow, depending on the needs of your group and the time you have available. If you are just exploring Sycamore you can easily run a remote Taster Session.

SYCAMORE AND CATECHESIS

If you are using Sycamore as part of a catechetical or teaching course, make sure you visit this page: How to use Sycamore as part of your sacramental preparation or catechesis.

TESTIMONIES FROM PEOPLE RUNNING REMOTE GROUPS

VERONICA (RCIA catechist in Liverpool)

We have a group of twelve RCIA candidates and catechumens who are still patiently waiting to be received into the Church when the time is right. The group has been meeting since last September, and we have found the Sycamore resources a wonderful asset, guiding us along our journey.

During lockdown we have continued to meet weekly, and last evening we used Session 15 on the Mass. It really helped us to have a fruitful discussion around the importance of the Eucharist as the centre of our faith. We really appreciate the way Fr Stephen enlightens us through sharing his personal journey and the wondrous gift of the Church’s teachings. Sycamore has continued to inspire us during this difficult time of lockdown.

We prayed for all of the Sycamore team at the end of our meeting. This project is very much appreciated.

PAULINE (RCIA catechist in Abingdon)

We have people waiting for baptism and to receive the sacraments. The new Sycamore films are amazing, brilliant filming and sound doctrinal input. We have used two so far with our RCIA group and the feedback has been very exciting from both young and old members.

Older people really have enjoyed the content of the films and the online sharing. Younger members have commented on how Fr Stephen speaks their language when it comes to explaining the faith, and they say they identify with him and his journey.

Thank you Sycamore so much for this wonderful new resource, we will be using it for a long time to come in our parish.

A PRIEST FROM SOUTHWARK ARCHDIOCESE

Sycamore has allowed me to live the priesthood in such a life-giving way. Priests need to know about Sycamore for their own sake and not just for how it will help their people!

Get Involved

Please sign up for news about resources and events. If you are able to make a donation this will help us continue our work and keep Sycamore completely free to use.