THE WAY course was officially launched in the presence of Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh, representing the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of the United Kingdom, on Thursday, 7 October 2010, in the Hall of St Botolph’s Church without Bishopsgate, London.
THE WAY, the Institute’s course introductory to the Orthodox faith, goes international. World Vision has made available funds for the publication of the course as a boxset, containing a CD entitled ‘How to Run THE WAY’ with four DVDs of the original speakers, and publication is projected for September 2010. Translations into various languages will follow.
What is THE WAY?
It is the outreach programme of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies. It is a course of 12 sessions, usually over 12 weeks, and consists of:
- a meal together
- a talk on a central aspect of Christian belief
- free discussion in small groups
- a “question and answer” session, where members of each group put questions to a panel
Where is its name from?
THE WAY is probably the earliest term by which the followers of Jesus Christ referred to themselves. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14.6). St Paul said “I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way” (Acts 24.14).
What about the badge?
Its logo comprises the Chi Rho, a very early Christian monogram for Christ, as used by Constantine, by the early Roman emperors who were Christian, and by ordinary Christians as a sign on tombs and liturgical vessels. The superimposed Greek letters are the first two in the name “Christ”. The Chi Rho symbol has always been in the form of a cross, with the upright Rho standing for the crucified body, and in the version we have adopted (which is taken from a coin of an early Emperor) the arms of the Chi are in fact nails, with their heads pointing to the point of intersection. The Cross is therefore at the centre of THE WAY.
What does THE WAY do?
The course aims to present the basics of Orthodox Christian faith in an atmosphere of friendship, free exchange and trust, where no position is forbidden and no question treated as foolish or unworthy of attention.
What are its key topics?
The titles of the twelve talks are:
- The Search for Faith
- God the Holy Trinity: “The Lover of Mankind”
- Being Human: Fully Alive
- Why Did Jesus Come to Us?
- Salvation in Christ
- The Holy Spirit
- What on Earth is the Church? Isn’t God Enough?
- Living the Faith: (1) The Divine Liturgy – “A Pearl of Great Price”
- Living the Faith: (2) The Holy Mysteries
- Living the Faith: (3) The Bible, Prayer, and Fasting
- Living the Faith: (4) Christian Behaviour
- “Heaven on Earth”: Members of the Church and Citizens of Heaven
Who is the course for?
The course is taught in English and was initially designed for people between 18 and 45 who had completed secondary school. In practice, it has been enjoyed by those of all ages and attainments, people with considerable Christian knowledge or very little, those from a variety of racial backgrounds, by Orthodox wanting to better understand their faith, by other Christians seeking to know more, and by those of goodwill who have a curiosity as to what Christians believe.
Is it different from other courses?
THE WAY builds on the understanding of social dynamics and the importance of human relations in transmitting the faith as shown in courses such as Alpha. However, its understanding of key issues is Eastern Orthodox, its emphasis is sacramental, and it integrates teaching with worship.
Who have been its audience?
THE WAY has been presented with great success, in Great Britain twice at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Moscow Road, London in the autumn of 2004 and in 2007 and at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Ennismore Gardens in 2005. Two of the team offered the course overseas in the first part of 2005, at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Resurrection, Singapore, and at the Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral of St George, Sydney, Australia. The course has been offered in Cambridge and in North London by the original team, by local presenters in Manchester, and it has been experimentally tested by parishes as far afield as Boulder, Colorado, USA and Melbourne, Australia. Their reports have contributed to a final revision process that has included adding two new talks to the original ten..
What is its authority?
THE WAY derives its authority to teach from the blessing given to the Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies by those Orthodox bishops with responsibilities in Great Britain.
The initial course was put together by members of the Organizing Committee who come from Greek, Russian and Antiochian congregations in Great Britain, the United States, Australia and Greece, while its workers have been drawn from almost all the ethnic Orthodox churches in Great Britain. Its origins are therefore pan-Orthodox.
Texts of the first ten talks were initially vetted by Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia (Timothy Ware) and ongoing revisions and expansions have been scrutinized by him.
Who are the organizers?
The following have been Members of the Organizing Committee:
- His Grace Bishop Theodoritos of Nazianzus
- Father Raphael Armour
- Mrs Carolyn Armour
- Father Demetrios Bathrellos
- Mr John Bazlinton
- Dr George Bebawi
- Miss Gladys Bland
- Dr Christine Mangala Frost
- Professor David Frost (Director)
- Father Michael Harper (Deputy Director)
How is it funded?
THE WAY has had no paid workers and is entirely staffed by volunteers. It has received no funding from government, dioceses, or charitable trusts. Unavoidable expenses have been met by generous contributions from private individuals. Annual accounts are submitted with IOCS’ general accounts to the Charity Commission and can be examined on the Commission’s website. Search by our registered charity number, 1076519.
If you would like to support us, please download our Donation Form(PDF). Please also sign the Gift Aid declaration attached to the form, which at no cost to you increases your donation by 28% if you are a payer of UK income tax.
Publication of the revised course for use world-wide has been sponsored by World Vision.
How can it be obtained?
The Boxed Set ‘How to run the Way: Introducing the Orthodox Christianity’ (ISBN 978-1-872897-10-3) containing a CD of instructional material and 4 DVDs of the 12 talks given by the original presenters, is distributed by Gazelle Books (UK) and Ancient Faith Publishing (USA).
The general public may order direct from:
(also telephone: +44 (0) 1524 68765)
ANCIENT FAITH PUBLISHING
Both Gazelle and Ancient Faith Publishing accept all normal credit cards.
There is no fee for running the course and no permission is required from the Institute. HOWEVER, PLEASE NOTE that Orthodox congregations wishing to present THE WAY must obtain permission from their Bishop.
PLEASE NOTE ALSO that WAY talks and supporting material are copyright and that to safeguard the integrity of the course no additional material may be added and no part of the texts subtracted or altered. Those wishing to take material for their own compilations should acknowledge the source. In no circumstances can an adjusted course be entitled “THE WAY”.
How can we organize a Course presentation?
The instructional CD contains all necessary materials, instructions and advice on a range of topics such as advance publicity, posters and brochures, organization of the room, catering and other practical arrangements, training of presenters and group leaders, presentation of talks, conduct of discussion groups, and handling of “question-and-answer” sessions. The text of all talks and student handouts are in pdf files, for convenient printing. Visual aids that accompany the talks are included, both in PowerPoint format for projection and as jpg files for print-outs or for making into slides.
The accompanying DVDs, which contain full video presentations of all talks by the original speakers, may serve as a model for local presenters, or can be shown to the audience through a DVD player linked to a projector or a large television.
Can we get the original speakers to present our Course?
It may be possible to invite some or most of the original speakers to your presentation, depending on their availability. Organizers will be expected to meet any travel costs and, if necessary, to provide accommodation. THE WAY Committee no longer has facilities to organize a course presentation itself but may be able to recommend an experienced organizer.
THE WAY Director, firstname.lastname@example.org