Pilgrim: Australian Angles - supplemental resources for the Australian context

Here are some extra resources for each of the sessions in the Follow and Grow stages of Pilgrim: a course for the Christian journey.  They aim to contextualise the discussions that might take place in your small groups.  None of this is mandatory; you don’t need to use all or any of it!  But as you plan your sessions you might find a question here or a discussion point there useful, so feel free to make use.

Follow Stage: Click here to download all of the supplemental material for the Follow Stage as a pdf file.

Or click below on the book you're using to head straight to the material you need...

Book One: Turning to Christ    

Book Two: The Lord's Prayer      

Book Three: The Commandments         

Book Four: The Beatitudes


Grow Stage: Click here to download all of the supplemental material for the Grow Stage as a pdf file.

Or click below on the book you're using to head straight to the material you need...

Book Five: The Creeds

Book Six: The Eucharist

Book Seven: The Bible

book eight: Church & Kingdom


Got an idea for supplemental material that will help Australian groups using Pilgrim?  Click here to share your idea



Book One: Turning to Christ

1.       Do you turn to Christ?

a.       What is it about Jesus that might appeal to the sensibilities of Australians?

b.      Attendance at church in Australia has declined over the last five decades. Is turning away from church the same as turning away from Jesus?


2.       Do you believe and trust in God the Father?

a.       Have a look at these images of God drawn by Australian schoolchildren.  What strikes you? (click here for the PDF/powerpoint presentation)

b.      Mateship is considered a great Aussie virtue? How might trusting a mate be the same as trusting God? How might it be different?


3.       Do you believe in his son Jesus Christ?

a.       Are there people in Australian public life that remind you of the person of Jesus?

b.      If Jesus was in modern Australia do you think he would fit in?

c.       Is the Australian trait of barracking for the underdog a Christian value?


4.       Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?

a.       What’s an Australian image that comes to mind when you think about aspects of the Holy Spirit?

b.      For prayer use in this session about the Holy Spirit, have a skim though these liturgical resources provided by Australian author Bruce D Prewer


5.       Do you repent your sins?

a.       What stories of forgiveness (or stories where forgiveness is needed) have you noticed in Australian culture lately?

b.      Are there things considered unforgivable in Australian culture today, for instance, dobbing?


6.       Do you renounce evil?

a.       What darker parts of Australia’s history would you consider “evil”?

b.      Are there things that a newcomer to Australian cultures might see as “evil” that we generally accept?  (e.g. Overuse of alcohol, tolerance of gambling, casual racism, treatment of refugees)

c.       What’s worse: overuse of alcohol or gambling?


Book Two: The Lord’s Prayer

1.       Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name

a.       There are many styles of prayer – (spontaneous, silent, liturgical, responsive, scriptural, singing etc).  Are any more suited than others to Australian sensibilities?

b.      How would you rewrite the first line of the Lord’s Prayer in Australian vernacular?

c.       Lifestyle.com.au recently reported that “One in ten Australian women surveyed revealed that their man has cried over the results of their favourite sports team.”  What moves you? 

(See more on the study at http://www.lifestyle.com.au/health/what-makes-men-cry.aspx)


2.       Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven

a.       How would Australians need to change corporately in order to serve the kingdom (or “reign”) of God

b.      How would you rewrite this line of the Lord’s Prayer in Australian vernacular?

c.       Australians generally have a good lifestyle.  What would they find attractive about the Kingdom of God?


3.       Give us today our daily bread

a.       What is ‘daily bread’ for Australians?

b.      How would you rewrite this segment of the Lord’s Prayer in Australian vernacular?

c.       Do Australians still believe in the idea of the “fair go”?


4.       Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us

a.       The word ‘sorry’ has been a more obvious part of the Australian landscape in the last decade or so.  Watch this video and discuss your impressions. (RUDD’S SORRY SPEECH)

b.      How would you rewrite this part of the Lord’s Prayer in Australian vernacular?


5.       Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

a.       Our APBA version of the Lord’s prayer has the line “Save us from the time of trial...”How is that different from “Lead us not into temptation”?

b.      What is tempting for Australians?  For you?

c.       How would you rewrite this line of the Lord’s Prayer in Australian vernacular?


6.       For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen

a.       Praise is central to Christianity.  It is easy to argue that the ‘Tall poppy syndrome’ is central to dominant Australian cultures.  Does the latter get in the way of the former? In what ways?

b.      How would you rewrite the closing portion of the Lord’s Prayer in Australian vernacular?

c.       To whom or what do Australians give praise and glory?  For what reasons?


Book Three: The Commandments

1.       Priorities

a.       How would you define the term, “do-gooder”?  How is this term symbolic of some things that might get in the way of Australians wanting to do good for others?

b.      It is often said that Australians are good at responding to those in need due to natural disasters.  Why might this nbbe easier than helping someone who lives in your street?


2.       Reverence

a.       Who are our Australian ‘gods’?  What earns them that status?

b.      “Icon” is an overused term by our media outlets to describe everything from vegemite to Dame Edna.  In what ways have you heard it used?

c.       Are there sacred cows in Australian culture/s which are considered untouchable or un-criticisable?


3.       Rest

a.       In what ways is “taking a sickie” the same and different as ‘rest’ as it is described in this session?

b.      Being busy is often seen as a virtue.  Why might this be so? Can this idea get in the way of ‘rest’ as it is described in this session?


4.       Respect

a.       What kinds of things do some of our politicians do (without naming names!) that make it hard to respect them?  What could they do that would lead you to respect them?

b.      In Australian culture/s what earns respect?


5.       Righteousness

a.       As a country initially populated with convicts, stealing, whether from the stationery cupboard at work, or files over the internet, comes pretty easily to many Australians”  Discuss.

b.      In Australian culture/s what kinds of stealing or adultery can be justified?


6.       Reliability

a.      Watch the video.  “First world problems”: heard of this idea?    What are some of yours?  How can you let go of these?

b.      It is sometimes said that Australians generally have a high standard of living but often seem unsatisfied.  If so, why? 



Book Four: The Beatitudes

1.       Living with openness to God

a.       Are there things that get in the way of you knowing daily that you are poor in spirit, as this session describes it?  What are some of these?

b.      Australians generally love to lend a hand but can find it difficult to be helped.  How can this complicate a relationship with God?


2.       Thirsting for what is right

a.       Is putting others first the same as what some Australians call “mateship”?  Compare and contrast...

b.      Translate the word “meek” into 21st century Australian.

c.       Thirsting for justice? What needs attention in your community right now?

d.      If 1965’s “Freedom Ride” happened today, would you join?  Why or why not?


3.       Living transparently

a.       What poor driving habits are hard to forgive?  Which do you possess?

b.      What’s easier: saying sorry or forgiving someone?


4.       Peacemaking

a.       Who are some noted Australian peacemakers?  Nationally?  More locally?

b.      Here’s the ad for Lynx Peace bodysprayhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPR6U3kSnd8  Watch and comment...


5.       Living as citizens in God’s kingdom

a.       How much does your faith influence your political thinking and choices? Or, in other words, what comes first, living as a member of the kingdom or living as a citizen of Australia?

b.      Do your Christian values ever conflict with the dominant values of Australian culture/s?  If so, in what ways?

c.       What are the values of your congregation and how are they expressed?  Would an objective observer detect the same values you have listed?


6.       Foundations

a.       How would Australians finish this bumper sticker: Happiness is...              ?

b.      Watch some of Pharrell Williams’ song,  Happy.  The song asks us to “Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth...”  So... would you clap?

c.       Is happiness a goal or a by-product?


Book Five: The Creeds

Session One – What are the Creeds?

             a.       How would you summarise what you are like in five lines?

             b.      Finish this sentence: “Australians are...”  Make a list.  How is this different to a creed?


Session Two – God as Trinity

             a.       What is the closest community of which you are a part?

             b.      Can you think of any metaphors for the Trinity relationship found in Australian cultures?


Session Three – Fully God and fully human

              a.       What’s the nicest thing/a compliment an Australian can say about another person?

              b.      According to Christians, Jesus is fully human and fully divine.  Make a case for Australians finding it easier to relate to one of those facets.


Session Four - Crucified, risen and ascended

              a.       Describe the version of Heaven that most Australians might desire.

              b.      Is there a relationship between the oft-noted Australian virtue of mateship and what theologians call atonement? How would you describe it?

              c.       How would you describe the impact of Jesus’ actions on the cross to someone who asked about it at a barbeque?


Session Five – I believe in the Holy Spirit

              a.       What’s a metaphor for the nature of the Holy Spirit that arises from Australian cultures?

              b.      Rewrite Peter’s Pentecost speech (as noted on page 49) using Australian colloquial language.


Session Six – One, holy, catholic and apostolic Church

              a.       What are the positive aspects Australians see about the Church?

              b.      How do you see the Church being “catholic” (universal) in Australian society?

              c.       What does a truly Australian church look like?

Book Six: The Eucharist

Session One – Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness

              a.       What comes naturally to Australians about worshipping?

              b.      How does your parish make people welcome in general? And welcome at the table?


Session Two – This is my body broken for you

              a.       What are the components (physical and otherwise) of a good Australian meal experience?

              b.      How would you explain to a fellow Aussie the presence of Jesus at the Eucharist?

              c.       What’s more important at the altar rail: what you are feeling, or what you are thinking?


Session Three – He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread

               a.       Apart from Jesus, name a person who has played a transformative role in your life.

              b.      How would you explain the term “sacrament” to an Australian at a barbeque?

              c.       What is hardest about worship for Australians?


Session Four – If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you

              a.       What else do you worship?

              b.      Seen the booklet “The Eucharist Explained”? It was written by a group from this Brisbane Diocese. You can find out more about it here.

              c.       You can feel “satisfied” after a meal.  How does the Eucharist satisfy you?


Session Five – Do this to remember me

              a.       Make a list of things Australians worship.  It might include people, places or ideas. Share your list.

              b.      Describe your typical feelings as you leave church after the Eucharist.

              c.       How has worship changed you?


Session Six – I am the bread of life

              a.       What’s an Australian metaphor for “the bread of life”?

              b.      In day to day life, what ordinary things disclose the presence of God to you?  Or to put it another way, where do you see God in day to day                             Australian life?

              c.       On the roadside Church noticeboard, a friend has seen that there’s a confirmation on soon.  How would you describe what that’s about?


Book Seven: The Bible

Session One – What is the Bible?

              a.       Is the bible more a street directory, instruction manual or cookbook for you? Or something else?

              b.      What values that people see as espoused by the bible are found in Australian cultures?


Session Two – The Bible as breath

              a.       Name an Australian who inspires you. Why?

              b.      What gets in the way of some Australians “entering the house” of the bible (referring to the metaphor on pages 25-26).  Therefore, what could                             assist them?


Session Three – The Bible as a stream of living water

              a.       Rewrite the similes in verses three and four (from the passage on page 31) in Australian vernacular.

              b.      What assistance does your church give to enable people/you to engage with the bible? What more would help?


Session Four – The Bible as a lamp

              a.       Did you have a favourite storybook as a child? What was it about that book that stays with you?

              b.      What’s a story from the bible that you think would resonate with everyday Australians? Why?


Session Five – The Bible as a two-edged sword

              a.       How has your understanding of the bible changed since you first encountered it? 

              b.      What might God find pleasing about Australian society? What might make God less happy?


Session Six – Daily bread

              a.       Do you have a basic pattern for ordinary weekdays of your life? (i.e. a time to get up, a time to do particular regular things etc) Describe it...

              b.      What gets in the way of you engaging more with Scripture, say, on a daily basis? What could change that situation?

              c.       Are there Australian resources that help you engage with scripture regularly? If not, head to www.formedfaith.org and search for examples...


Book Eight: Church & Kingdom

Session One – Praying though life

              a.       Christians are sometimes known as “followers of the Way”.  How would you describe the Way?

              b.      What kinds of things happen in your church between Sundays to support you following the Way?

              c.       What would help you pray more regularly? How could that happen?


Session Two – At home and at work

              a.       What are some traditionally Australian ways to rest and recreate?

              b.      How does worship happen in your life between Sundays? How could it?


Session Three – Living generously

              a.       What are you grateful for in our Australian ways of life?

              b.      “Australians are generally a generous people”. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

              c.       If your church had a windfall this year, what would it do to further God’s kingdom?


Session Four - In all my relationships

              a.       Who are you most grateful for in your life?

              b.      Who do you find it hardest to be generous to? Why do you suppose that is?

              c.       In what parts of your community could you take the risk of forming new relationships?


Session Five – Confronting the injustices of the world

              a.       Australians are sometimes known as people who value “a fair go”.  How would you explain that idea to someone visiting?

              b.      Who needs help in your community?  If you’re not sure, what keeps you from knowing?

              c.       Make a list of things your parish does to challenge injustice in your community. Are there gaps?  Where could you offer some generous                             help?


Session Six – Treading lightly on the earth

              a.       Indigenous Australians are often characterised as having a special connection to the land.  How would you describe your connection to the                             land?

              b.      What environmental challenge faces your local community? Since Genesis reminds us we are each called to be stewards of our land, what                             is/can your church do about them?


Here's my idea...

Got an idea to add to this page, something you used with your Pilgrim group to contextualise the material for the Australian community?  Feel free to send in your ideas that will help Australian groups achieve the aims of the session...

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