Landings: third London course this spring
Landings London, based at Farm Street Jesuit Church in Mayfair, is about to embark on its third course. Across Britain, Landings aims to offer a safe, welcoming environment for people who have become disconnected from their Catholic faith to explore ways of returning to it. It is active in parishes from Aberdeen to Birmingham, and from Wakefield to Epsom. With three in the permanent Landings London team and more wishing to join, it continues to grow in the capital and the future looks bright. Introductory sessions will start at Farm Street on 26 April, with full Landings meetings taking place throughout May and June.
"The real joy for all concerned is the sense of belonging and camaraderie that permeates each course with follow up meetings and social events," says Kevin McDonnell from Landings London. "We are using contact details from original Landings parish communications, some dating back to 2003, to get in touch with parishes that invested in Landings. This exercise is enabling us to build a picture of the status of Landings in the UK in 2017. We are learning that, down the years, there have been many changes of Landings people across the country, that Landings has died in some parishes, that it is alive and thriving in other parishes and that there is a desire out there to either revisit Landings or look at it for the first time. We are also learning that Landings has made a quiet but very positive difference where it has taken root."
Founded in the USA during the 1980s and now running in parishes across the UK, the programme takes place over eight to ten weeks, offering a welcoming experience and "a safe place to land". The aim is to provide a place where the returner’s voice will be heard and where they will be listened to, where they will be able to ask questions in confidence and reconnect with their faith as an adult. The organisers stress that Landings is not where the 'saved' welcome the 'sinners', where any pressure is applied to encourage returners or where all the answers to the 'big questions' are guaranteed.
A welcoming, safe environment
The Landings programme is run by people who have themselves returned to the Catholic faith and who now wish to share their journey and beliefs with others. Many participants have found Landings to be a powerful and very personal experience of reconciliation, reconnecting and returning.
The national director of Landings UK is Fr Dominic Robinson SJ. "Landings is a well-tested process which has helped thousands reconnect with faith here in the UK, in the US and the Far East," he says. "We have a wonderfully diverse and gifted team who represent the different groups of people we hope to accompany on their journey back and look forward to this initiative providing a vital outreach to anyone thinking of coming back through a welcoming safe faith environment where hospitality and acceptance is the key."
Landings London's latest research will enable the team to develop a strategy to reinvigorate Landings. Within this strategy they will use their improved Landings materials, greater teamwork exploiting today’s communications channels, the knowledge that they have gained from their experiences, the skills that they have built up throughout the UK and publicity for what Landings has already achieved.
The four Landings London information sessions are on April 26 & 27, and May 3 & 4, between 6.30 and 8pm at Farm Street Church. The Landings meetings start on Wednesday 10 May for eight weeks. Contact Ruby Almeida, Fr Dominic Robinson SJ or visit the web site for more information.
The Inaugural Landings Lecture, entitled Welcoming the Wounded - Becoming the Church of the Good Samaritan, will be given by Fr Christopher Jamison OSB, on Tuesday 7 March at Farm Street Church, 114 Mount Street, London W1K 3AH. He will focus on how Catholic parishes can welcome those who feel spiritually wounded.