Churches Together in All Lincolnshire's, John D Rose, shares how they have been helping people in their area affected by the coronavirus...
How can we speak to those affected by Covid? How can we offer compassion and hope to those who have lost relatives, or who are confused, fearful or anxious? How can we stand with them?
These were questions asked by our Lincolnshire Presidents in May in the growing impact of Covid. A four-fold response emerged.
First was a Presidents’ Statement, released to churches, media and public bodies. It was picked up and re-circulated by local radio, local newspapers and a national daily.
Second came a Presidents’ Prayer specially written, and of all the Presidents saying it.
The third element, by far the most ambitious, was an online service of remembrance – “Lincolnshire Remembers Covid, grief and hope” which went live on September 20. It was premiered on a large local church’s website, and subsequently on our website, and on various YouTube and Vimeo channels. A month later, new people are still watching it. Around 1500 people have now watched all or part of it.
On the first evening, 87 people participated in the LiveChat function and nine contacted us asking for prayer.
We included interviews with those directly affected in different ways; three specially commissioned musical items; readings and two talks, and a series of prayers for different aspects of Lincolnshire’s people and situation. All our member-denominations contributed a part. We also involved the community – an MP, a senior policeman, and member of the aristocracy – plus a hospital chaplain, an ambulance paramedic, a schoolgirl, the retired and of course many church leaders.
Putting a video production like this together was new to us, and an immense effort. But we did it! Two days before the live presentation that didn’t look likely!
At 85 minutes it was far too long – 45 minutes would have been much better – we started too late and ran out of editing time. But we have learned from that. It was extremely difficult to capture telling interviews with the right people who wanted to share their experience.
It was immensely worthwhile and the response indicates it was a comfort and many were encouraged to see the churches acting together.
Still to come - as this is written – a webinar on November 19 called “New Earth” looking to the post-Covid future. Our speakers will be UNESCO's Professor Ted Fuller, award-winning author Caroline Custis James and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg – not to be missed!
Read more about Churches Together in All Lincolnshire on their website