Connection, Care, Community
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
These are difficult, unprecedented times that mean that we’re all having to do things differently, think differently, and act differently. We’ve done some thinking about what we can do to create connections, care for people and continue to be community together and with those around us.
We know that in difficult times one of the critical elements of good mental and emotional health is connecting with other people. The Coronavirus pandemic means that we need to look at ways to connect using technology of different types. We’re planning to use the following, some of which we’ve been using for a while already:
Email: The Brockley Bulletin will continue to be published each Friday with updates and information. We’ll also send out interim updates as and when required.
WhatsApp: We’ve made sure (we think) that everyone is part of a WhatsApp group if they’re on WhatsApp, or in some instances we’re using email, to make sure we’ve got a way to communicate with everyone if or when we need to. If you’re not part of one, please let us know and we’ll connect you with one.
Zoom: We’re just getting up to speed with this and are planning to use it to gather virtually on Sunday and at other times. It’s a bit of an experiment, so bear with us as we get our heads round it and work out how it can best be used. It will be different to meeting together, but different gives opportunity for new things.
Phone: Good old talking to each other! Pick up the ‘phone and find out how someone is doing. There are some in our congregation who don’t have access to all the tech so are reliant on ‘phone calls for connection. If you want to call someone and don’t have their number, get in touch with Philip or one of the other leaders.
Letters: Go really old school and write someone a letter or a card. It’s amazing how it feels to get a real, proper letter from someone! Again, if you need someone’s contact details, get in touch.
Although the government advice is not to gather with others, it doesn’t mean that we can’t look after one another.
Some of the ways in which people might need help are:
Physical: Shopping for food, other supplies, banking/getting cash, just knocking on the door and (standing a couple of metres away) having a chat.
Emotional: Loneliness and isolation are experienced by many people during normal life, but situations like this increase it, and increase the number of people experiencing it. Getting in touch with someone helps to reduce it and their levels of fear and anxiety. Little and often is just as helpful as a long time all in one go. Do what you can and what works for the other person.
Spiritual: Sending a message to ask what you can pray for someone else is another way to show care, connect with people, and engage with being part of BCC. You can also pray for someone, ask Jesus for a scripture, word or picture for them and send it using one of the methods above. Keep reading your Bible, accessing podcasts, listening to talks online, having quiet times, listening to worship music, talking with Jesus, and share things that inspire you, encourage you, help you to connect with Jesus, or maybe even challenge you.
Although it will feel different, maybe a little awkward at times, it’s important to continue to be community together, to be the body of Jesus. We’re going to be ‘meeting’ in the following ways and encourage you to be involved in at least one of our community times during the week.
Children: We’ll be providing links to some media and materials that families can download and use for some worship time together as and when it suits you best. It’ll be participative and help you to share in it together.
There may be opportunities to run a short midweek virtual session for children, but we’ll do some canvassing on whether that’s what people want before we go ahead with planning.
Youth: We’re working out the details, but we’re trying to find a way to help our young people connect both on a Sunday and at other times. We’ll be in touch with the youth and let people know the details when we’ve sorted it out, but we’re already missing Jordan!
Adults: We plan to have a ‘gathering’ on Zoom on Sunday morning (10:30-11:00) that will comprise worship (not necessarily singing), prayer, a short reflection on a passage followed by some discussion in small groups (now you’re intrigued!), as well as getting used to the technology and thinking about how else we might use it.
Homegroups are encouraged to use Zoom or similar to connect at some point during the week. We’re not going to be out on the tiles every night for the foreseeable future, so you may want to gather virtually more than once.
We’ll also schedule some different times for prayer together using Zoom and will let you know when those are happening.
If you’re frontline workers or key workers, including teaching staff, we’d also like to make time during the week to support you specifically, so please let us know if you’d appreciate a time to ‘gather’ for prayer as well.
This is a new and rapidly changing context for us as church family (and for the world!), and we want to do what we can to care for and support those who are within BCC so that they are best able to play the role that they’re required to do either within their family, their usual occupation, or the wider community.
When things are different, they give God a new space in which to act and have an impact. Let’s look to him to help us navigate this challenging season together, and please help us by letting us know what’s working or not working.
BCC Leadership Team