Worship & Prayer - House Groups
Small Group Fellowship
House Groups - the past, present and future
House Groups take us back to our roots. John Wesley encouraged Methodists to meet together in prayer and fellowship for Bible study and discussion, to challenge and develop our faith. These small groups or "classes" would meet regularly in houses with a class leader to testify how they had been living their Christian lives since the last meeting - a calling to account before their brothers and sisters and through dialogue and prayer they would develop and strengthen their faith.
A willingness to be open-minded and accept change as your faith developed was (and still is) a hallmark of house groups. The house group engenders a feeling of belonging to the church and provides a way to learn and grow in your faith, within a supportive environment.
The late 20th century has seen a revival of small group worship. Many Methodist churches in Shetland, and elsewhere, have house groups, home fellowships, Bible study groups and other forms of church to augment more traditional forms of worship.
For the latest ideas about small group worship it is worth looking at the idea of Cell Church - the inspiration of a church planter and a Church Army officer from Australia, Ian Freestone which seeks to create a balance between small groups and larger congregations, all of which are recognised as truly "church" - neither is more important than the other. The Methodist Church has a useful pdf explaining the concept - click here
"The weekly class meeting has from the
beginning proved to be the most effective
means of maintaining among Methodists
true fellowship in Christian experience...
All members ... shall have their names
entered on a class book"
Deed of Union 3.9
House Groups in Shetland
House groups meet regularly in Lerwick (at various locations - see the Link for details; in East Yell (fortnightly); On Unst, and at North Roe.
Everyone is welcome as these groups are ecumenical. Speak to the contact shown for the church in question and they will fill in the details.