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Covid-19 - A Virtual Church Related Community Worker?

Our latest article, by Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) Simon Loveitt, reflects on what it is like trying to serve your community in such unprecedented times. Simon works at the Manor Church and Community Project in Sheffield. Read his reflection here:

What a difference a week makes!

At 5pm on Monday 16th March, we had the first Prime Minister’s Covid-19 daily press conference, and life was about to change.

CRCW’s enable churches to strategically engage with, to transform and to become more relevant to their local neighbourhoods. Much of the work is through face to face meetings.

A week on and my diary has changed dramatically.  I work ecumenically, and the URC, Methodist and Anglican churches have cancelled Sunday worship till further notice.

Instead, Marian and I had our own service at home on Sunday morning.Flower Simon Web2

All user groups at the three churches in the Parish, except essential groups, have now had their sessions cancelled.

Of the two groups that remain, I am chair of Manor After School and Kids Klub (MASKK), a local charity who run after school and holiday provision and run sessions for children with special needs.  This is still running on a reduced service, following the guidelines from Sheffield City Council.

I am also treasurer of the S2 Food Poverty Network, a large, independent Foodbank and Food Club for the S2 community of Sheffield.  We have reduced the days we operate, but are still running.  Demand has increased.  Donations to the Foodbank have increased dramatically.  The difficulty of sourcing enough food from supermarkets to provide food parcels has become a substantial daily challenge.  Change in the supermarket rules means we can only buy three items of one kind.  That is causing us massive logistical challenges.

A Covid-19 appeal for the 20 food banks in Sheffield is about to be launched, which the S2 Food Poverty Network has offered help co-ordinate.

There are questions too of the re-development of the Temple Park Centre.  It has already been a rollercoaster of a few weeks, with increased costs, and asbestos removal to cope with. Now, with the Covid-19 crisis, will building work actually be able to start?  

I end this reflection with the prayer written by Jamie Kissack and Simon Copley for the Sunday morning act of devotion:

Father, help us discern the activity of Your Holy Spirit in our current crisis that we may respond with the love of Your Son, Jesus Christ.

Bring health and healing to all who are unwell and faith and confidence to all who are fearful.
Strengthen and guide all who lead the nations of the world, particularly our Queen and her advisers, our Prime Minister and his cabinet, those who lead the nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and all local government.

Give wisdom, compassion and strength to all in business, farming and public service who have power to provide for us and influence our way of life at this time. We pray, particularly, for strength and health of all who work in our emergency services and our health services and knowledge to those who are researching a cure for the virus.

Be with children as they are sent home from school and help them, along with all who are feeling isolated and under-employed, to use this time creatively. Help mothers who are caring for children at this time.

Help us find ways to give practical support and comfort to all who face financial difficulty, unemployment and loss of businesses.

Guide and lead your church that we may be a light of neighbourly love and care in our communities and a rock of compassion in our nation at this time.

Help us, individually, to respond in Your name and so find the new life of Your Spirit, through whose power you raised Christ from the dead.

Amen

Simon Loveitt

 

Would you like to know more about Church Related Community Work and how you can be an agent of social change? You may be a church member involved in community work already and want to find out how you can do even more? Let the CRCW office give you advice and guidance by calling the URC switchboard on: 020 7916 2020 or emailing us.

 

 

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