Community

It’s amazing how quickly the public tone has changed as we talk about the growing crisis with the coronavirus disease covid-19. Last week we responded with humour, laughs and joviality about elbow bumps and heel knocks in the place of shaking hands with lots of laughter and a degree of eye rolling.   Social media was awash with posts about the predicted statistics of people affected with covid-19 being very small in comparison to people affected and dying of other illnesses and diseases.   Conversations amongst my friends tended to be of the view that things had been sensationalised by the media, leading to panic over something that would blow over quickly and soon be forgotten about.

A week later the tone has changed with a growing concern for the safety and wellbeing of the  ‘at risk’ category of people in our communities.  ‘I’m not worried about myself’ said one interviewee on the news perhaps speaking on our behalf, ‘I’m thinking of my elderly mother for whom coronavirus could be deadly.’

Panic mania has also intensified with footage of supermarket shelves decimated by the rush of people bulk buying loo rolls, sanitiser and tinned goods ready to self-isolate and protect themselves in the future weeks.

I’ve noticed this week how my inbox traffic has reflected this with people raising questions and concerns about the steps and precautions we are taken within the RBC community to keep people safe and support our frontline NHS workers at the forefront of the growing pandemic.

Where is the gospel distinctive for followers of Jesus being seen against this backdrop? My hope is that church communities can model a different behaviour and response that speaks into this situation.  One way is to be attentive to those who are vulnerable, at risk and find practical ways to help. This may mean collecting shopping or prescriptions if people are worried about leaving their home. If may mean offering transport for people concerned about public transport.  It may mean sharing our supplies with folks who have been unable to get to the shops.  This an opportunity for followers of Jesus to put care, grace and patience into action as we think about our neighbours and friends who may be quite isolated and feel lost at the moment. We might want to think about phoning or contacting folks who live on their own, just to check in on them and make sure they are ok.  Immediately as I write this, I think about some of our neighbours who I haven’t seen around for the last few days.

At RBC we are taking all the recommended precautions and will diligently monitor the situation as it develops. We are mindful not to put anyone at risk or make little of concerns people have, and of course we are encouraging people to stay away from our gatherings if they are feeling unwell.  Sadly, but inevitably our prayer list is growing – please do get in touch if you are unwell or self-isolating at the moment.  This weekend we are going to be asking for people to be ready to respond in some of the ways mentioned above as we put together a response team. We are encouraging everyone who is well and able to make themselves available to support those who are not.

And of course, we are praying that the crisis will pass quickly, that the anticipated casualties will be lower than anticipated, that the affected will recover and that the church community will be a true community to all at this time.

Our current response to covid-19 is on our website and will be updated as necessary, in the meantime if you have concerns, please contact the church office.

Stay safe, stay well and look out for each other

See you Sunday?

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