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Coronavirus is spreading an epidemic of fear though our country. As churches we want to counter fear with practical love and service, and we want to be prepared to give the reason for the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15).

Good Neighbours scheme 

As well as the Government's GoodSamApp initiative, there are lots of examples of people setting up good neighbour schemes. Tell us who is being a Good Samaritan in your area; how is your church supporting and serving your community at this time? We are collecting stories to share encouragement on social media - contact us by email office@hopetogether.org.uk

If you are making legitimate deliveries to someone who is self-isolating, we have created a photocopiable sheet of cards you can include offering support - with or without a copy of the Hope for All magazine.

As Coronavirus is contagious please wash your hands regularly, especially before preparing cards for delivery to homes. Also, use hand sanitizer as you deliver them, home to home, making sure you are spreading only kindness as you post through letterboxes.

Download the Help and Hope cards for use with Hope for All magazines
Download the Help and Hope cards for use without magazines
Download Help and Hope Logos for use with your social media and publicity materials

United church response

We are better together than apart. Here are some of the ways churches can offer practical help and bring hope.
  • Respond as a church or a group of churches in your town, offering help and asking civic leaders for their priorities.
  • Set up a prayer relay involving different churches praying for civic leaders, medical staff and people in your area.
  • As chaplaincies, visiting schemes and community hubs are suspended or closed, redirect volunteers to Good Neighbour schemes.
  • Set up ‘phone a friend’ campaigns to combat the mental health issues that come with enforced isolation.
  • Ask local Residential Care Homes how you can provide support for staff and residents with no visitors, perhaps by phone, letter or cards giving encouragement.  
  • While children are at home, can you provide online activities for families connected to your church? 
  • Ask your local foodbank how you can help in the face of shortages especially as families struggle to cope when family-members can’t work. Does your foodbank need help to make deliveries to families who are self-isolating?
  • How is your community supporting rough sleepers while there are no cafes to provide a hot meal? 
  • Be aware of safeguarding issues, especially with young people online. Here's a useful guide from the Baptist Union.

Creating virtual communities

‘Let us not giving up meeting together,’ (Hebrews 10:25) Let’s find creative ways of keeping in touch as virtual communities to encourage one another and people in our communities. If churches need to restrict our meetings, or older people are unable to attend, let’s find new ways to keep connected such as:
  • Live steaming services on Facebook or YouTube - visit a beginner’s guide to going live with your service or event from the Church of England here
  • Whatsapp groups to encourage one another
  • Small groups using video-conferencing using Skype or Zoom 
Be aware of who in your congregations has not got internet access or is not confident to use it. Find ways to include those who don’t have access to online communities.

Helping people find hope

Idiscover-logon a crisis people often look for spiritual answers. Use the Discover Bible App to read the Bible together in virtual groups. The app is powerful because it allows ordinary people to engage with scripture, become an obedient disciple and share their faith others. The questions are simple and memorable, which means that anyone can lead a Discovery Bible Study with anybody, anywhere.
As churches let’s be communities that spread hope, generosity and gratitude.


 
Glenys
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