The aim of the courses is to help each of us to understand ourselves better. The material helps to foster new perspectives on ourselves and our relationships and the ability to relate better to the people who matter in our lives.
There are four different courses - or 'Steps' - each one building on the previous step. It is helpful, therefore, to follow the course notes through in order. For details of each 'Step' please see below. The Understanding How to Help course builds on the principles in Steps One to Four and offers valuable insights into some of the underlying causes of mental and emotional health concerns and knowledge that will enable you to give valuable support to others.
These courses were originally run as residential weekends. The material developed for these weekends proved to be life-changing for so many people and the course notes are therefore available on the website for personal study.
On Step One we discover our combination of temperaments, how our two main temperaments interact within us and the significance of that interaction. We look at how our past has helped to shape who we are today and how our identity is formed - plus many more fascinating insights.
Click the picture of Southwold harbour for further explanation of the course materials - andhere to go to the Step One course notes.
Step Two gives an opportunity to explore in depth the understanding and application of the material covered in Step One as well as introducing new insights, including how to become truly objective. It gives the opportunity to explore the power of how we feel about ourselves and how to properly value ourselves and others. Click the picture of Woodbridge for further details of Step Two and here to go to the Step Two course notes.
This course builds on the first two but demonstrates how to use what we have learnt to make a real difference in the lives of others. Click the picture of Thorpeness for further details of Step Three and here to go to the Step Three notes.
The Step Four course completes the quartet of 'Steps' and consolidates the concepts shared in previous courses. Click the picture of the river Waveney at Beccles for further details of Step Four and here to go to the Step Four course notes
The purpose of this course is to provide an understanding of some of the underlying causes of mental and emotional health concerns and equip you with the knowledge that will enable you to give valuable support to others. It is important to have an understanding of the Steps One to Four material before reading through these course notes. Click the picture of Southwold harbour for more details and here to go to the Understanding How to Help course notes.
Who has written these courses?
John Sparkes was in Christian ministry for over forty years. John attended Bible College at Berwick-on-Tweed, where he met his wife Merle. They married in 1973 and moved to Suffolk to work as evangelists, initially with Counties Evangelistic Work, and founded Halesworth Community Church in 1975. During his ministry John was involved in many aspects of church life and always had a desire to help people to understand themselves and to equip them to build meaningful relationships.
He counselled hundreds of people over the years and developed courses that provide help with and insights into the practical challenges that people face in everyday life. John was active in his local community as Chair of Governors of a local school and as a magistrate. He and Merle have six children, four boys and two girls, and eight grandchildren.
These are a few of the many testimonials from people who attended the residential courses: "The course explained the reasons why I feel like I do." "A great help in developing my understanding of myself and others." "An incredible valuable experience." "The best and most practical Christian course I've ever been on ... when we understand temperaments and can see God's vision and created purpose for them it transforms the way we think about ourselves in a real and practical way."