The Awareness Course is the education programme of the Awareness Foundation. The course has been described as helping "Christians develop an informed response to the religious and cultural diversity around them by being centered in their faith and secure in their identity." It is co-written by retired bishop Michael Marshall and Nadim Nassar, who is the only Syrian priest in the Church of England.
The Awareness Course has been taught in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine in the Middle East and in Hong Kong. Denominations offering the Awareness Course include the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of England, the Episcopal Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist churches, Middle Eastern Evangelical churches, and several charismatic evangelical churches in the UK. Teachers are known as "course leaders" and their role is primarily that of a facilitator and motivator rather than lecturer.
The Awareness Course comprises a number of course modules or varying lengths:
1. 8 Session DVD Module
Eight sessions designed to last 60 to 90 minutes each depending on the Course Leader. Every session includes two 12 to 16 minute videos presented by Nadim Nassar. The videos are professionally produced and the videos for The Diversity Code feature guest speakers from other Christian traditions (e.g. charismatic evangelical) and Jewish and Islamic scholars.
a. The Diversity Code
Today, diversity is a major issue for us all. The Diversity Code uses a series of ‘Biblical Case Studies’ to reveal the wonderful examples for dealing positively with diversity that Jesus set throughout His life and teachings, as did St Paul. The course also studies the lessons learned by the early Church as she struggled to accept her universal mission.
2. 5 Session Module (Suitable For Lent)
Five sessions designed to last 60 minutes each. Every session includes one 15 minute video presented by Nadim Nassar. The videos are professionally produced and the videos feature guest speakers from other Christian traditions (e.g. charismatic evangelical) and Jewish and Islamic scholars.
a. Living in a Global Village
This shorter course examines how participants can affirm their faith in the midst of a new, globalised world. The sessions cover topics such as hospitality & generosity in faith, preaching the Gospel by living it in our daily lives, and how we can celebrate difference and diversity without having to compromise our faith. Originally marketed as a Lent course, Living in a Global Village is described as being "suitable for any time of the year".
3. Day/Half-Day Workshop
Designed to last either a complete day or half a day according to the Course Leader’s wishes. The workshop includes four 15 minute videos presented by Nadim Nassar. The videos are professionally produced and the videos feature guest speakers from other Christian traditions (e.g. charismatic evangelical) and Jewish and Islamic scholars.
a. Speak Out!
This workshop is subtitled, ‘How to articulate our faith, and why’. To live an abundant life, Christians must reclaim their faith and be able to relate its meaning and its joys to others. Participants study why we should openly and respectfully share our faith, and how we can do so positively with people of other faiths and none. The Foundation say that 'Speak Out!' is intended to "help people of faith to understand the need for us to be able to speak about our faith to others, especially in today's increasingly fragmented world, and to guide people in how to speak out whilst retaining respect for people of other faiths, or none."
“Christians must be able to speak out with authority about their faith and how it applies to the real issues of the day,” says Nadim Nassar, the Director of the Awareness Foundation and author of the course materials.
The workshop, which features powerful videos with speakers from the three Abrahamic faiths, enables participants over half a day to understand the importance of their own role in spreading the message that faith matters, and that the true values of the Abrahamic faiths are love, forgiveness, respect and understanding.
Each module is packaged as DVD which contains the teaching videos, a course leader's book (approximately 32 pages) plus study sheets for those attending the course. These modules are available without charge within the UK.
Michael Marshall is President of the Awareness Foundation and Nadim Nassar is director. They are co-founders of the Awareness Foundation and co-authors of the Awareness Course. The director of the Awareness Course is the foundation's operations director, St John Wright, who has been with the Awareness Foundation since 2004; he is the son of British jazz guitarist Denny Wright.