At the start of lock down we quickly divided the church congregation into network groups each over seen by a member of the PCC, the leadership team in church. We had to work quickly so at first these groups were made up of just those people that we had permission to use contact details for. GDPR works for churches too. However, the groups began to grow as other people were able to join in. the groups are there to provide support for each other in whatever way they can. So, some groups have been able to share shopping slots, collect prescription, meet together for coffee on zoom, deliver print outs of services to those in the group who don’t have access to the internet, and pray for each other. The main thing has to been to be there for each other when contact with people outside the house seemed impossible. If you, or you know someone who would want to join one of these groups then do let us know, you can send a private message to our Facebook page or contact us via the website, christchurchstannington.co.uk. Or give Tim or me a ring, our numbers are available on the website too.
Now Joe has moved on we are going to use the midweek thought slot to hear from these groups and see what has been happening in them and how the groups have developed. And a little about what we have learnt through this time. So, not surprisingly we are starting with my group.
The core of our network was made from a new house group. We were just getting to know each other. Being part of a network helped us to hold onto those connections. We knew the people who were needing to shield and understood their anxieties and were able to pray for them in an informed way. Initially there were some things that we could do for those who were shielding in the way of a little bit of shopping, though I don’t think we ever did source the brown bread flour. But people soon made adjustments. I think we felt the frustrations for those who were shielding especially when the warm weather brought hay fever complications.
So, what have we been learning, we have been caring for each other, learning how to keep connected both spiritually and with each other? The online service videos have been a great source of connection with each other and it has been encouraging to hear how people are making use of personal time with God, using their own resources or looking at the suggestions on the website resources page.
Currently some people are beginning to look outside the group making similar connections with others. Prayers for the energy to sustain this and the opportunities to share God’s love tangibly with those in need would be appreciated. And always, always, prayers for the safety of those who are key workers, especially those who work in hospitals and are in direct contact with Covid 19.
As I said before, if you would like to know more about these groups do get in Contact with us. We have just published our latest magazine on the website, there is a link to it on the front page under latest news to keep things simple, so if it’s too rainy to go for a walk this afternoon, there are a lot of interesting articles in there to read and some great photos of the Stannington scarecrows to enjoy. If you would like to join us for worship, then our online service is released every Sunday from 8.30 in the morning. They are all available through our website, or on our YouTube account.
Thanks for listening , I look forward to telling you more about some of the other networks next week.
Take care everyone. God bless