Welcome

Welcome to Sycamore. This site is under construction and will be re-launched in the next few weeks.

To sign up for our EMAIL NEWSLETTER – please click here.

The trailer/teaser for the new films is now available:

Please note that the materials and films from this current site will be ARCHIVED very soon. They will still be available at this new/archive link until 31 July 2019, but from 1 August you will need to subscribe to the new films and resources (more information to follow…)

ARCHIVE LINK: sycamoreseed.wordpress.com

Please make a note of this archive link, but if you click it now it will just re-direct you to the current sycamore.fm site!

WHAT IS SYCAMORE?

In the bible, Jesus comes to the town of Jericho. A man called Zacchaeus is so curious about Jesus that he climbs a Sycamore tree to get a better view. When he finally meets him, they begin a conversation, and his life is changed forever.

Sycamore is an informal course about the Christian faith and its relevance for life today. It gives people space to meet others, share ideas, explore their beliefs, and think about questions that really matter.

Each Sycamore session involves a short film and some time for discussion. There’s no pressure and no commitment. People can be themselves without any fear of being judged. There’s a real sense of community, a spirit of friendship, some great conversation, and often some delicious food. Everyone is welcome.

The high-quality films are engaging, thought-provoking, and accessible to those with little or no religious background. They explore the richness of the Christian tradition from a Catholic perspective, connecting the core Christian message with a vision of the sacramental and moral life. But they will appeal to people from different Christian traditions and backgrounds as well.

Sycamore can work as a stand-alone enquiry course, or it can form part of a wider programme of evangelisation, faith formation or sacramental preparation. Series 1 explores the basics of Christian faith. Series 2 will go deeper into Christian life, prayer and worship. There will be different catechetical “pathways” through the films (RCIA, Confirmation, Baptismal Parents, etc).

Sycamore has been created for parishes, schools, university chaplaincies and beyond. It develops leaders, builds community, creates genuine friendships, and helps the wider Christian community to become more open and welcoming. Discussion questions are built into the films, so the sessions can be run with minimal preparation or training and without the clutter of handouts.

The films, supplementary resources and training materials for group leaders are available online through a paid subscription.

Testimonies about the earlier 2015 films

One participant has written: “I think the most compelling thing about Sycamore is the open discussions which we have every week. As a non-Christian coming into Sycamore, I always felt welcome. All I was asked was to come in with an open mind. I was never cajoled into attending; yet I always looked forward to coming back to learn more from the discussions we have.”

Another testimony comes from one of the leaders in a parish where it has been trialled: “We used Sycamore to introduce a group of about 18 people to the Catholic faith. Most of them had little or no Christian background. I love how these short videos announce the Gospel message, the ‘kerygma’, in an attractive and clear way. We found Sycamore to be extremely effective in helping those who were curious about Christianity to become open to a relationship with Christ. The structure of each video encourages the building of community within the group, especially through the discussion questions. In my view, Sycamore is the perfect starting-point for evangelisation, and can be a springboard to deeper catechesis.”

Sycamore Redevelopment 2019

The ten films on this current website are part of the Beta version of the Sycamore programme, which is still in a process of development. They have been trialled in a few dozen university chaplaincies and parishes. They are made available now so that other groups can experiment with them and share their feedback.

The Sycamore programme is currently being redeveloped and will – if all goes well – be relaunched in June 2019. Plans include: rewriting and refilming the first ten films as “Sycamore Series 1” (available from May 2019); developing a follow-on programme of ten films as “Sycamore Series 2” which will take participants deeper into the Christian faith (available in the summer of 2019); sharing short sections of the films as stand-alone YouTube videos to create an online library of apologetic and catechetical materials; developing materials to train Sycamore leaders; co-publishing resources and follow-on materials for participants and the wider public.

PRIVACY POLICY – Please click here to view our current policy

23 thoughts on “Welcome

    1. Thanks for the interest Jackie. We hope to get the rest of the films up in the next couple of weeks. If you sign up to the email list then we will post as each video comes online. I hope you can find all the information you need in the How to Run pages. Please do leave any comments about your experience in the pages for each film.

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  1. This is a lovely program, very nourishing and inspiring. I would like to have copies of the rest of videos. Is it possible to have your contact phone no Fr. Stephen for further clarification. Keep the Evangelization going, God bless.

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    1. Thanks Sr Mildred – I’ll contact you privately…
      The rest of the videos should be uploaded over the next two or three weeks.

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  2. I have just read the Article in the Tablet….and now I have opened your web page etc. Yes I find it a very interesting project. Thankng you….Fr Michael Bailey . Galway Ireland.

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  3. The Tablet article was most interesting, we have decided to use Sycamore in our parish RCIA inquiry sessions, it was recommended by our Bishop. The only problem is downloading the films!!

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    1. Dear Pauline. What sort of problems are you having with the downloads? Please let us know if there is anything wrong with the Vimeo site, or if there is anything we can do. We haven’t had any problems at our end. Most of the videos are only about 200mb each, so they shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to download on a decent band; and you can even choose the SD low quality if preferred. But please get back to us if we can help.

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  4. Hi,

    At first glance this is Alpha in a different disguise. Why do we need to re-invent the wheel?

    What is the difference between this and the 40 year old, tried and tested Alpha?

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    1. Hi Bob. Thanks for the feedback. There is lots of overlap between Sycamore and some other evangelisation programmes like Alpha, CaFE and The Why Course. Some of this, I guess, is inevitable: there are only so many ways you can present the basics of the Christian faith; and some of this is because we have learnt from and incorporated lots of elements from these other courses, as the “Background” page explains (see here http://sycamore.fm/how-to-run-sycamore/how-to-run-sycamore-1-background/). I don’t think Sycamore is radically new; but it has an approach to the presentation of core Christianity which is very shaped by the Catholic tradition and the student experience out of which it grew.

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      1. I am a Colombian missionary in Tanzania. As someone already said “I have just read the Article in the Tablet….and now I have opened your web page” I am looking forward to learning from you. Thank you Fr Michael Bailey and God bless you all . Fr Jose Giraldo (Tanzania)

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  5. In Winchester we are planning a 10-week set of Sycamore sessions with breakfast at our local church primary school for parents after they have taken children to school. We will cater for toddlers and babies. Anybody any experience of this approach?

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    1. Dear Mike, I led a Sycamore programme in Oxford a few months ago for adults from my parish of St Anthony of Padua. We had a really good turnout. Our approach was to welcome the parishioners with a warm welcome and some food. So it seems like you are on the right track by offering breakfast.

      We also had a rota with the dates of all the sessions on it. We then invited those who attended the following sessions to put their names down in twos or more to help either with the preparing of the food or to help set up and tidy up the hall. This had the effect of empowering the parishioners through the act of participation. In their evaluation they said that this had helped them to make it their own by giving them ‘a feeling of belonging’. We also had a registration form. We used the information we gathered to contact our members a day or two before the next session began. In the e-mail we sent them a little taster of what was to come by giving the title of what the next session’s topic would be. Again this made them feel that they were in the loop. I hope this info is useful. Good luck! Sr Carolyn Morrison

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  6. I am a ‘ Convert ‘ to the Catholic Church , having become a Member for some 51 Years now, It is something that completely changed my Life , and I have loved being an active Layperson ever since , Praise be to Good Pope John. and Vatican 2.

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  7. Hello Father Stephen, We are having a Meeting this evening here in Jersey regarding our Sycamore Programme, I have been giving some thoughts about what you said about a revision and possible re-making of some of the Series,
    My Thoughts are for a Possible Sycamore 2 — A talk regarding the special Life of the Virgin Mary and how she was finally gifted with The Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday, Secondly , The Sacrament of Penance , when we can say Sorry to God for letting him down and how this Beautiful Sacrament has gone out of favour with so many People ? I feel it is a lovely as receiving our Lord in Holy Communion, we are very close to God, and if you find a very good Priest , the helpful advice he gives you is a real blessing, We all remember the Story of the Prodigal Son, whom our Lord Said , His Father saw him from a long way off and ran to greet him, The Son could hardly get the words out of his mouth to say what a mess he had made of his life, but the Father put o Robe around him a Ring on his Finger and Sandles on his Feet , plus a big Celebration Party. This Story is a real reminder of our Lords Love for us.

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