variety study registration 2023

  • Instructions

    We ask you to register for variety studies by making your selections online. This enables us to allocate rooms for the sessions and complete other arrangements based on the numbers selecting each variety study.

    Attendance at the variety studies is open to all who attend the main studies though may be limited by other commitments such as involvement in Junior School.

    There is a variety study series organised for young people from 15 years to those in their 20’s. Young people may also attend other variety studies of their choice if they wish.

    Numbers per variety study are limited to 25-30 to facilitate discussion and discovery among participants. The rooms we use vary in size but most are classroom-size.

    Places will more or less be allocated on a first come, first served basis, so BE QUICK with your response. We will aim to ensure that everyone gets at least one first choice.

    This year all variety studies run for a single session only.

    Variety studies:

    • Session A – Monday 10.50 am
    • Session B – Thursday 10.50 am
    • Session C – Friday 10.50 am

    We ask that that you give us your top three preferences (1, 2, 3) for each variety study session.

    Also, note the variety study you most want to attend and we’ll aim to ensure you don’t miss that due to rostering on children’s activities.

    A few of the variety studies are repeated in subsequent sessions to increase the likelihood that you’ll get to more variety studies of your choice. If any variety studies are very heavily over-booked we may try to organise additional repeats.

  • Attendee Information

    Please register each variety study attendee separately.
  • Use primary contact's mobile phone number if variety study attendee does not have a mobile phone.
  • Variety Studies Timetable

    VARIETY STUDIES SESSION A - MONDAY 25th September 10.50 am
    A1 Creating Safe Spaces Cyndy Mogg Repeat Thursday
    A2 Different Church Models: Where to From Here? Ben Topham Repeat Friday
    A3 Beyond textualization: an opportunity for reflective listening to God’s voice Sharon Lawrie  
    A4 Sing a New (or a not so new) Song Nita Lawrie  
    A5 The Bible as narrative literature makes Christianity bullet-proof Luke Tappouras  
    A6 Fellowship and Support – what does ‘good’ look like? Chris Rodwell Repeat Friday
    A7 Genesis 1 - Bereans stewing over creation Shannon Richards  
    A8 Are we doing what Jesus asked? Ken Pooley Repeat Thursday
    A9 “So what”.  Is religion relevant today? Religion today
    Young people only – intended audience 15-20’s
    VARIETY STUDIES SESSION B - THURSDAY 28th September 10.50 am
    B1 Sodom and Gomorrah – Fact or Fiction John Drake  
    B2 Building our Language of the Spirit Geoff Watson  
    B3 Through the parables with a Samaritan Daniel Edgecombe  
    B4 Adoption Keren Dando  
    B5 Latest findings on the Dead sea Scrolls prompts re-think of inspiration and inerrancy Luke Tappouras  
    B6 Are we doing what Jesus asked? Ken Pooley Repeat
    B7 Creating Safe Spaces Cyndy Mogg Repeat
    B8 What are the first principles? Stephen Downs  
    B9 “So what”.  Is religion relevant today? Christadelphians today
    Young people only – intended audience 15-20’s
    VARIETY STUDIES SESSION C - FRIDAY 29th September 10.50 am
    C1 Prophecy – did we get it right? John Drake  
    C2 Drawing closer to God by understanding the Torah that Jesus taught from Linus Daniel  
    C3 All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small Mark Lawrie  
    C4 Grit: embracing our journey with perseverance and passion Robyn Johnson  
    C5 Family Matters Gillian Pooley  
    C6 Different Church Models: Where to From Here? Ben Topham Repeat
    C7 Old(er) people talking about young(er) people Richard Hillhouse  
    C8 Fellowship and Support – what does ‘good’ look like? Chris Rodwell Repeat
    C9 “So what”.  Is religion relevant today? Me today
    Young people only – intended audience 15-20’s
  • SESSION A - Monday 25th September 10.50 am

  • Healthy churches must be healthy for everyone. This Creating Safe Spaces variety session will be exploring how we can try to actually bring this about. Church can, and should be a place of healing and refuge, but the same factors that can work powerfully for good can also be corrupted by harmful attitudes and behaviours.

    Sadly, past wrongs have led to a situation where many in our communities are mistrusting of churches. For the sake of the gospel, we need to rebuild trust.

    We want to ensure that our churches are safe places for everyone and that people in the community can trust that not only do we take the precautions we need to take, but that we will also stand up for those who are harmed and to report to the relevant authorities where appropriate. We also need to recognise that sexual abuse and domestic and family violence can sadly be occurring in the homes of people in our community. Creating safe spaces is not mainly about compliance or meeting minimum legal obligations. Instead, it is primarily about how we demonstrate God’s love to all the members of the community we belong to. It takes courage and effort to build and maintain a culture of transparency, honest communication and authentic discipleship. Let’s work on it together.

  • Do we have the best opportunities to serve others and receive spiritual nourishment under our current church structures? Why do we meet in certain ways and times? New church models have been developing over the past 10 years, and the advent of COVID-19 has been the catalyst to progress these further. This session aims to provide positive suggestions for other ways of meeting using several international examples within our own community including Fruit Forward, The Red Barn and EverGrace. Just as important, we need to create a culture within our meeting groups that are safe and inspiring for our young people and anybody who attends. Changing culture is one of the hardest tasks to achieve and everybody has a part to play. An overarching idea that supports this variety study was taught by Jesus when he was questioned by the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law about who we should eat and drink with and how. “Jesus told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.” Luke 5:36-37

  • Through guided passages - such as journalling, meditating on passages, drawing- this variety study will be an opportunity to sit with prompts from this week, to “linger with what provokes” and ask:

    • • Lord what would you say to my heart?
    • • Would you talk to me through these exercises?
    • • What would you like to say to me, to bring to my attention?

    There will also be an opportunity to share with others if you feel inclined to but no expectation to do so.

  • Come along with a favourite song, old or new, well-known or not, for the group to sing. You’ll have a chance to learn some new songs as well as sing some old favourites. Bring along Worship Books, PTL and our Green Hymn Book if you wish to follow music. Words of the songs will be available. We will also be preparing a meditation to be sung at the memorial meeting at the end of the week.

  • What is the Bible and what do we do with it? Any 2000 year old document needs to be carefully understood before we use it as a moral guidebook. While we no longer support slavery and genocide the bible seems to. We have no trouble rejecting demons as mythology but we assume it also contains science and history too. Are we expecting too much from this collection of ancient books?

    This variety study seeks to inform and engage anyone who respects God as the source of the Bible.

  • Pleasing God whilst supporting one another can feel impossible. We need to find a solution. Who do we please? How do we do it? Who do we ask? Where to look to for solutions?

    Some of the answers lie in Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Others lie in our own experience. This variety study is about searching together to find the answers to why our young people leave our church. Many do.

    In a recent survey global respondents strongly indicated some eye-opening reasons why they or their children had left. We will be looking at some of these reasons, whilst sharing from our own experiences on this subject.

    The objective of the variety study is to find a way to improve the way we respond to individual difficult situations, problem people, and possible solutions which will help us to gain a better understanding of where we go wrong; why and how we can manage and encourage one another on our spiritual journey.

    This will be done through interactive group participation and discussion.

  • Understanding the creation story is one tough gig! More is written about Gen 1 than just about any other chapter - consider genre, culture, ancient linguistics, Rabbinical writings, shadows, allegories, cosmology, translation issues for rare words, word plays, shifting interpretations… enough to make anyone’s head spin. Let’s dip into this chapter, be honest about what we do and don’t know, examine the pros/cons of different ways of looking at it, then walk away inspired by the majesty and brilliance of these verses.

  • In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus gave very specific instructions to the disciples just before he ascended to heaven. The vigour and tenacity they showed in following Jesus’ commission is awe inspiring, but may also trouble us. How well are we living up to Jesus’ request 2,000 years on? Is the situation different for us, or have we become too focussed on ourselves and our desires?

    In another very challenging passage, Jesus contrasts two opposites: confession or denial: “Therefore whoever confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32-33 What feelings do these words stir within you?

    With the challenge Jesus laid down before his disciples came a massive promise. Are we turning our back on that blessing in our lives today?

    In this variety study, we will look again at relevant Bible passages and discuss how we might better walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and those who first followed him.

  • A Q&A Exploration for Young People, over three sessions.

    We will look at whether belief matters, what young people think about it, and the implications of certain beliefs, over three Q&A-style sessions.

    Session 1 Focus: Religion Today
    Session 2 Focus: Christadelphians today
    Session 3 Focus: Me Today

    Young people only – intended audience: 15-20's.

  • SESSION B - Thursday 28th September 10.50 am

  • The Biblical account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the salvation of Lot and his daughters is seen by many as a myth. Is there evidence that Sodom actually existed and that it was miraculously destroyed by God? Has its location been found? In 1976 the Dead Sea surface was 398m below sea level and by 2016 it was 430m (a drop of 32 metres) and it continues to drop at a rate of approximately 1m per year. Dr Leen Ritmeyer, a Christadelphian and world renowned architectural archaeologist, says that the Dead Sea levels are now about what they were at the time of Abram and Lot. Learn about the significance of this in this presentation.

  • The aim of this session is to enable you to expand your language of how God's Spirit is at work in your life. As a community we have created a rich, wonderful communication about the Gospel, the Hope of Israel and salvation through faith. Yet we are only beginning to develop a similarly rich appreciation of how the presence of Jesus through the gift of the Spirit can now be shared with others. In this variety study you will discover how the Apostle Paul and other Bible authors spoke eloquently about this gift. It differs in purpose from the Spirit gifts and is available to all disciples.The variety study will commence with some key background principles followed by small group discussion. If you want to deepen your insights into this beautiful theme, then the Spirit says, Come!

  • Jesus’ parables are familiar to us and formed a powerful part of the Lord’s teaching. When they were first delivered the parables had the power to shock and awe the audience. People would try and kill Jesus or make him king. With the passing of time perhaps we have become too familiar and “tamed” the parables with safe well-accepted readings which dilute the cutting self-reflection they generated in the first audience. Many truths can be learnt from parables, but are they the truths Jesus first intended? Sometimes not. Aided with the context of the first century, we can hear again the ancient power of Jesus’ preferred teaching medium.

  • What motivates people today to adopt is often quite different from Roman times. Paul tells us that we have been adopted as children of God. What does that involve, and why was that metaphor used?

    Adoption was not specified in the Law, nor was it widely practised in the Old Testament. To fully grasp the wondrous gift of becoming a child of God, let’s look at the process through a first-century lens.

    When a baby was born in 1st-century Roman society, its relationship with its father, in particular, was often not permanent for various reasons. Roman fathers legally had nearly limitless power over their families, especially their children, until they died. These powers included the right to arrange marriages or force divorce, disown, sell, or even expose or kill his child. Yet adoption was a permanent state.

    We will explore the common practice of abandoning newborns, the position of slave and free, and the importance of an heir. Were adoptees usually babies or adults? What were the legalities of adoption, judges and witnesses? And what were the consequences for the adopted person regarding his old and new lives?

    We will then look at the privileges of becoming, along with Jesus, a child of God. A final question is Why? Why does God want to make us heirs?

  • Christadelphian and Evangelical Christian beliefs about the bible have been largely formed during the Modern era with the assumptions that the Original Texts can offer a certainty to the source of the bible itself.

    The last 100 years of textual archeology, which feature the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, are challenging these assumptions and making us think deeper about what inspiration of texts means. This variety study seeks to inform and engage anyone who respects God as the source of the Bible.

  • Repeat of Study A8

  • Repeat of Study A1

  • This study aims to establish which doctrines are essential to believe from a biblical perspective. Rather than relying on Christadelphian history, tradition or our own intuition, it aims to consider what the apostles taught when they preached the gospel and what they appear to have considered important doctrines. It seeks to consider serious problems for our community which we were warned about in the New Testament and ask how these warnings are relevant for us today. These considerations and discussions will help to better equip us as humble and faithful servants of the Lord.

  • Young people only – intended audience 15-20's

  • SESSION C - Friday 29th September 10.50 am

  • What are the consequences of a wrong interpretation of Biblical Prophecy? Should we be rethinking our interpretation of some of the major prophecies and their significance to what we see happening in the world around us and in what we might expect in the last days prior to the return of Christ?

  • Torah - the teachings God gave to Moses to share with us. The Torah was given in a backdrop of deliverance from slavery. So there is an emphasis on empathy for they knew what it was to be slaves back in the day! The foundation of the Torah lies in love, to love God and to love our neighbour. The Torah was given by God - a father figure who does everything to bond with his kids on a wilderness journey as he bore them, even, as a man his child or as on eagle’s wings. He is merciful yet just, the kind of God you run to for shelter.

    In the limited time we have we will explore the core tenets of the Torah. These include love, empathy, generosity, equity, forgiveness, ... The Torah is often associated with words such as ‘Law’ and ‘Old testament’ given by a ruthless God - Oops! No, I hope you will go away loving the Torah as much as the stories of Jesus. Jesus’s teachings touch our hearts for he taught from the Torah. Jesus was an activist and reformer voicing the spirit and teachings of the Torah.

    If you miss this session, no worries – just go to

  • The contemplation of nature through thought and prayer and meditation can lift our minds and spirits. I have always had a love of the scenery of country and the creatures of creation. The sustained metaphors of these things provided to us in God's Word are pillars of my faith that God exists and is in control of this crazy world in which we live.

    I'd like to share my thoughts and your thoughts on nature and animals and maybe some funny stories from my experience as a veterinarian who graduated 40 years ago.

  • Grit is a personal characteristic that combines perseverance and passion. It drives us as individuals to achieve our long term goals and overcome challenges. Clearly, this is a characteristic that can greatly help us in our spiritual journey. This variety study will discuss the science behind grit and its components, how grit applies in our Christian lives, grit vs talent, inspiring examples of grit from the Bible and elsewhere, ways in which we can develop and consolidate grit to help us on our spiritual journey, and how to nurture grit in others. This will be an interactive variety study with activities - please come ready to work on how to increase your grittiness for the time we have until Jesus returns. (You will ideally need a device that can connect to the internet). “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

  • Facing challenges in family and ecclesial life is not a new thing. This session will focus on 3 people who, like us, had flawed characters who like us try to follow God's instructions, but equally like us, made choices and decisions that took them on steep learning curves. Within the layers of their stories can ripple our own stories. What their stories reveal can inspire us on our journey because like them we have been called to be participants and not bystanders. This session will introduce 3 incidents in their lives that we can freely discuss.

    Moses the servant - a disgraced prince turned prince charming, then loses his purpose and slips into the comfort zone of complacency from which God gives him a big wake up call. With lots of help, he matures into a humble leader. Leaders are human beings and need feeding and cherishing too!

    Zipporah the Enabler, Moses' wife in an ugly little incident reminds her husband who he is and his attachment to God's promises. Enablers are needed in our lives.

    Jethro the authentic leader: a shepherd, a listener, a carer who gives his son-in-law compassionate leadership skills. Jethro’s journey reveals how he searched for God's truth and is fully converted. We will consider the difference between authoritarian leadership and authentic leadership as shown by both Jethro and our Lord Jesus and no matter our level of participation, it’s relevance to us.

  • Repeat of Study A2

  • This variety study is an opportunity to explore some ways in which parents (and other ‘grown-ups’) can positively influence our young people as they navigate life and choose whether or not they will commit their lives to Christ. It will primarily be a facilitated discussion session, with some suggested strategies that we can consider together.

  • Repeat of Study A6

  • Young people only – intended audience 15-20's

  • The variety study I have to attend!

    Due to limits in variety study capacity, it is difficult to give everyone their first choices. Please select your "most wanted" 1st choice - and we will do our best to get you into it - but we can't guarantee it.
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