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Walking the Way News

Thamesmead rAndrew and Sally Willett, ministers of West Thamesmead Community Church, explain how the current crisis is affecting the congregation and the community around it:

The devastating effect of Covid 19 has had serious effects our corner of South East London. Many people here are already reliant on foodbanks, not eligible for benefits, often living in cramped tower blocks. For them, lockdown has been especially difficult. Some of our congregation have not ventured outside since before lockdown, fearful of infection in over-crowded outdoor spaces. Others working in the care sector are still risking their lives daily, without adequate PPE. In these strange times, any glimpse of life and hope we can get is crucial for residents in estates like Thamesmead.

Read more: Glimpses of light for Thamesmead

tolworthWith social distancing continuing, Heather Lodge, a member of Tolworth URC, explains how this south London congregation has been holding the community together in supporting the most vulnerable in these strange times:

It is sad to see the church doors closed during this pandemic crisis. The building looks so lifeless.

So, at Tolworth URC, we decided, early on, to link up with our local foodbank to deliver food packages to shielded persons and families, at the time when the crisis first hit, and the government was looking for ways of supporting people who are locked in.

Read more: #AloneTogether in Tolworth

Field r‘Buy my field at Anathoth, because as nearest relative it is your right and duty to buy it.’ Jeremiah 32:7

Dave Fraser, one of the Missional Discipleship Mentors serving in North Western Synod, shares inspiration from Jeremiah in a time of isolation:

Over the last few weeks we all have been trying to come to terms with being church at this most difficult of times. We have all discovered new and different ways of leading worship and offering pastoral care to church members. It’s taken a great deal of effort, but Holy Week was remembered and celebrated with joy.

As we have overcome the numerous obstacles that the first three weeks of church building lockdown has presented to us, we now have to discover new ways of carrying on the Jesus-shaped mission we are tasked with.

From the Bible, I am reminded of Jeremiah in prison. He was having a tough time, locked up, hungry, isolated, and yet God invited him to bring a word of hope to others who were also fearful and afraid.

Read more: Feeling isolated? Buy a field!

New Zealand rEarlier this year, Simon Peters, project manager for Walking the Way, reported on a visit to the New Zealand Area of Derby. Vicky Longbone, Church Related Community Worker, explains how things have changed since lockdown began:

Here in Derby, some amazing work is being done! So many people are helping each other, with organisations, both statutory and charities, working more closely together to make a real difference to the most vulnerable across the city. The Derby A2C (Ashbourne Road to Central URC) Churches in Community project, which I help to lead, is involved in a lot of this work, enabling people to help each other, and themselves.

There are three particular pieces of work going on, expanding on previous projects that we’ve been involved in. Our little seeds are growing…

Read more: Our small seeds are growing…

Edinburgh rLast year, we reported on the contextual Bible studies which Augustine United Church, Edinburgh offers twice a week, helping people to engage with Scripture, who might not otherwise, in ways which are meaningful to their own, every day realities. Since then, the current crisis has prevented the studies from happening physically, but that has not, by any means, stopped them, as Church Secretary Kathleen Ziffo explains:

Through the power of Zoom, we we are able to continue our twice-weekly Tuesday and Thursday (around lunch-time) contextual Bible study sessions, around lunchtime. With online discussions, it is better to keep the numbers relatively small to allow individuals to participate more easily, but this has not stopped people from participating and has, in fact, seen a growth in people who are engaging.

We are attracting people who do not normally attend or contribute to these studies, as they look for something relevant to engage with in, what is, a very difficult time for many. Some of those now attending are not able to work at the moment, dealing with family concerns or other issues which make this time particularly challenging.

Read more: Lockdown can’t stop the Word of God being shared

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