Participatory Church and BEC's

The following courses aim to introduce what is a Participatory Church in the World in an experiential and spiritual way.

  •  COURSE 1

The first course revolves around ‘names’, reflecting on how church changes its name based on the way people experience it.

  • COURSE 2

This course further defines what a Participatory Church in the World is and talks about encouraging maximum participation in everything we do in the church. It proposes tools for consultation and planning for implementation that encourage the involvement of people who are not active in church life and mission.

This course also shares a tool on how we can integrate spiritual experiences and new spaces to experience God, in our activities, meetings, events, formation, etc.

Bukal believes that a Shared or Common Vision – a vision shared by as many people as possible – could be the uniting and motivating factor for a faith community, be it a church organization, BEC, parish or diocese. However, most vision statements we have come across with were decided on by a few leaders of the church. Therefore, only the leaders also feel responsible for ‘pushing’ for the implementation of the vision. Bukal has therefore designed a Participatory Visioning Process (PVP) that maximizes participation of the baptized and therefore ownership of and commitment to implement the vision.  For the complete PVP Manual (which contains the whole process, steps for implementation, the formation sessions, the community liturgies, the consultation tools and monitoring tables, etc. Please contact Bukal if interested).



This course wishes to teach the theology of BECs: where do they fit in the holistic way we see, understand and live church. It describes what BECs are – four marks – and what can be done so that each mark becomes a lifestyle in the BECs.

It also teaches the tools of community-organizing starting from immersion in the culture and context of the communities to designing organizing approaches that will fit such context and culture. Participants also train on facilitating basic activities in BECs such as leading praying meetings, bible sharing and encouraging engagement in social issues in the neighborhood.


This course is designed for those who have done BEC–organizing for at least two communities. It deepens one’s understanding of BECs and focuses on making BECs more outward-looking and action-oriented. It builds up on the skills of BEC-organizing Course 1 and especially on what they have experienced from community organizing and what they have learned from them.


This course upholds formation as the thread that binds all efforts and processes of developing a participatory church in the world. It reflects on what kind of formation is needed to promote such a church. It presents awareness-raisi

ng as a method appropriate for adult learners, especially for empowering adult faith communities. Awareness-raising focuses on life issues that concern the community and becomes a space for the community to talk about and analyze the reasons for the concerns they are facing. Awareness-raising also encourages the community to do something about the issues they are facing, especially after reflecting on the Word of God. This course focuses on basic skills of designing formation sessions and facilitating them. It also reflects on the different roles and spirituality of the formator/formation team.


This course builds up on Wholistic Formation 1 but focuses on designing formation modules – a series of sessions – and advanced facilitating skills. It also trains on other and more modern methods of doing formation such as events, activities, use of media, in malls, markets and streets, etc. – not just having formation sessions or seminars i

nside conference rooms or halls.

This course also talks about formation structures – how is it set up that involves participation from different sectors of the whole parish community, especially from the grassroots and the masses. It also explores how formation can network with other ministries and commissions in a parish or diocese.


This course combines formation and liturgies. Community liturgies are a good way to put formation at the level of the inner self in touch with God. More than discussing issues and sharing insights, prayer and sacred spaces challenge our attitudes and values. Different methods are used on how to integrate prayer and spaces to encounter God in formation sessions, modules and events.


Liturgies provide the spiritual ground and energy for building up faith communities. In this course, we reflect on participative liturgies for a participatory church in the world.

Several tools for designing liturgies are shared in this course – designing community prayer coming from the Sunday gospel, designing liturgies for neighborhood settings during liturgical seasons, designing liturgies for anniversaries and other personal and community celebrations, etc. It also reflects on the role and spirituality of prayer leaders facilitating the community liturgies.

All tools start with the profile and context of the community celebrating the liturgies to ensure that their daily lives find intimate link with the liturgies they are celebrating and they can experience God’s presence in their very own situations.

‘Creative’ does not mean adding a dance, drama or modern light show. For Bukal, ‘creative’ means ‘life-giving’. The tools help designing teams respond to the question: how can we help create spaces for encountering God as very much alive in our daily lives?  How do we make the community liturgies more life-giving: new, interesting, and relevant moments to be energized for the daily following of Jesus in their own lives and communities?


This course builds up on the contents and methods of the first course and teaches other tools for designing liturgies – fresh avenues for evangelization (short liturgies that happen in the streets), community liturgies tackling different socio-political issues, thematic liturgies for triduum and novena masses. It also talks about the liturgy team in a parish/diocese, what structure best serves the goal of participatory liturgies and how does the liturgical team work with other ministries.


Bible-sharing is a very important energy for the life of any faith community, especially BECs, majority of which cannot celebrate Eucharist on a regular basis. Bible-sharing is therefore their most important source of spiritual nourishment. However, we have observed that most BECs use or know only one method for bible-sharing, which they use again and again, year in and year out. Bukal has collected several others and designed a few more, to date about a dozen bible sharing methods in its course manual.


In most parishes or dioceses that have BECs as basic structure of church life and mission, preparation for the sacraments (of marriage, baptism, confirmation) happen already at the village level – BEC clusters or zones – instead of holding such preparation seminars at the Center. Usually the head of Family Life of particular areas, trained by the heads of Family Life Ministry at the parish or diocese, facilitate these seminars.

These seminars, however, even if they were held in the BECs (village, clusters or zones), still have the same content and method as those held in the (Parish) center. This course helps to redesign seminars for the preparations for the sacraments that: 1) considers the attendees as active participants and resource, not recipients; 2) looks at sacraments not as a single event that one has to attend in an obligatory way but a special moment in a continuing story of discipleship; and 3) to emphasize the communal nature of the sacramental celebrations and also their social significance to the society.


This seminar focuses on creativity in the Sunday Eucharistic Celebration. It is the last course to be given chronologically because we believe that renewal of Sunday Liturgy does not start at the altar but in the lives of the communities. The Sunday gathering is the ‘culmen et fons’ of a community’s weekly journey of faith. Creative Liturgies Courses 1-4 are intended to build up a community’s relationship with God, with one another, and with the wider society. The first four courses then prepare the communities/liturgy teams for Course 5 because a community’s growth in faith manifests and is felt in the Sunday Eucharist Celebrations.


The known lacuna of BECs is social action. How do BECs move away from bible sharing, liturgical and other prayer activities or better yet, allowing such spiritual activities to flow into action and social engagement? This course deepens the concept of community and its connection to ministry and how does a church of participation look at ministry. With a deepened concept of ministry, setting up different ministries especially Family Life, Youth and Social Action at the level of neighbourhood are looked into in terms of formation and skills needed.


This course focuses on the bigger concept of mission, especially its connectionto the Reign of God or the Kingdom of God. It especially focuses on the more difficult challenges of the wider society and the need for deeper social analysis and more complex community engagement and action. It also trains the participants on the skills and attitudes needed to network with groups ‘outside’ of church circles – local government units, people’s organizations,  other religions, civic groups, etc. – in responding to wider social-political and environmental issues. A spirituality of ministry and mission is a good reflection point of this course.

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