MESSAGE FROM JACKY EMBREY - MAY 1st
Creative coping mechanisms
God made an amazing and spectacularly diverse world and God made each of us in God’s own image (Genesis 1). It follows that we too are a varied bunch, just like Jesus’ first disciples were. So, each of us will be reacting differently to being in lockdown, to the changes in our worship patterns and to the new ways that we need to use to keep in touch.
Consequently, each of us will be finding different ways of coping.
One of the ways in which we can support one another is simply to recognise that and to encourage each other to do what works. As in so many situations, there is no right or wrong answer.
My own physical exercise and puzzles involve far less creativity than some, but they work for me. What are you doing today that is just for you? We may be restricted just now, but we are still called to love ourselves as well as to love others. (Mark 12.31)
May God bless us as we care for others and for ourselves.
Jacky Embrey, URC Mersey Moderator.
MESSAGE FROM THE MINISTER, Rev. Dawn Mather
Life with Lockdown
As I write this letter the sun is brilliantly bright. Although not as warm as the summer sun it still brings a feeling of hope that the winter is over. I can hear bird song in the garden and even in the house I hear people in the street caring for lawns and repairing homes.
Living alone I am finding that the contact during my shopping trips into food and chemist stores and on my daily walks have become more poignant as I watch people reach out to one another for reassurance and comfort and humour. Whilst awaiting access into shops where normally we may be rushing in and out without noticing each other we have the time to share.
One lady at the chemist was asking people to take her place each time it was her turn, I was the next in line and it struck me as she made the same comment, ‘you go’ to the person behind her, that the longer she stayed in the line the more chance she had of conversation and human contact. When I came out of the chemist, she turned again to make the offer and was refused, I saw the disappointment on her face. It was a reminder that all of us need human contact.
My concern during this time of social distancing has been that we will cease to perform social caring, but I believe the opposite has been true, I have seen such acts of kindness and support, shop keepers are more interactive, people in the street acknowledge strangers as well as friends, even within social media people are using the media to encourage and support one another. And each Thursday in our street residents come out and clap to support the carers in our community and interact from a safe distance whilst showing gratitude for others.
At a recent CAIM meeting I was encouraged by the number of denominations that have still been involved in social caring through their already established social networks.
I hope you have all found this to be true in your experience of social distancing, we cannot physically meet but life is still rich because we see and experience care through friends, family, community and church in a different way. If, however, your experience has not been one of encouragement and care that is a sign that you need to contact your elder or myself. We are just a phone call away.
There is also the St. Andrew’s URC Isle of Man website and Facebook page that is housing Sunday services, bible studies and links to other web pages alongside pictures and comments that may be encouraging to you. I have always preferred face to face interaction rather than using the internet yet now, because of these circumstances we can be thankful of other ways of communicating as a community of faith.
I want to reassure you of my thoughts and prayers daily. I have a book with all the attendees and members of both churches within it. Every day I pray through it, I remember each of you and your family and bring you into God’s presence asking for his care to comfort and strengthen you. Be strong, stay safe, know we care, and trust in His care for you.