Update June 2021
It's been a privilege and joy to collaborate with Business, Charities and other Organisations to provide a meal for those in our Deanery and wider afield who have suffered during the pandemic though isolation, illness, loss of a loved one and/ or loss of income.
During the first, second and third lockdowns my aim was to ensure that these groups of people had access to a hot meal at least four times a week. The food was well prepared and nutritious and I give deep thanks to Cook Food ( See video) who have an excellent social responsibility focus through its ‘Kindness Fund' and also locally The Magdalen Trust who through grant funding from Europe were able to feed many families in a local primary school. Magdalen Trust continue to generously provide for the community with fresh organic eggs and activities for Familes.
Working across Ecumenical thresholds with key individuals across the Deanery we were able to identify people living alone, couples, the elderly, and families who needed kindness to help them though this unprecedented time. We collaborated with Village Agents Network, Primary schools, churches and Safe Familes for Chlidren.
Through building these supportive networks through love, hope and trust we continue to re imagine Gods mission and care to those we live and work alongside and re discover how this will take shape as we come though this pandemic.
As Springtime approached Hope raised its beautiful head through the colours that offered the promise of Joy in Spring. Through conversations with Village groups there was a desire to turn isolation and perhaps at times loss to join with others and be creative, restoring a sense of community. At times in lockdown people still had to work alone but collaboratively the most amazing tapestries, carvings and collages were created which literally ‘lit up' walls, notice boards , church / village hall railings across the Deanery. Spring had arrived and with it a renewed sense of Hope.
Early in the first lockdown as the feeling of disconnect hung over us all I invited groups to meet for coffee in my kitchen, not ‘in person' but online. Meeting now for just over a year, in the Blackdowns the joy of meeting has developed deep and lasting friendships, new friendships have been discovered and lost friends have been reunited building community across the parish divides.
Though all these initiatives building community has been the focus. Working with key people and those ‘willing and able' with the necessary risk assessment taken, we have together built confidence in hope-rising for the future.
Re Imagining Mission in a pandemic has required thinking outside the usual channels. There have been initiatives which I have long prayed for but fallen on stony ground, I have learned to have grace to let go and let God lead. That's been a difficult learning curve over years.
[Please watch this video - https://youtu.be/kwjQPVpL-P4]
I ask us to pray together as we set out on an unknown path as we think of how we offer Love, Kindness and Care which is discovered through our deeply held belief within the gospel message we whisper to each other.
God makes the path, let's look for it and walk this way together.
Deborah Perreau June 2021