How are you coping?
This must be one of the most asked questions of late and we are delighted that branches across the diocese have been ensuring that members have been contacted on a regular basis ensuring that members and non-members have been supported during the lockdown.
Our Mothers’ Union Chaplain, Revd. Sandra Birdsall, has provided Devotions for members to use during Lent, Holy Week, Easter and twice weekly on Wednesdays and Sundays. These are published on our website, our Facebook page and they have been sent via email to Deanery Leaders and Branch Leaders throughout the Diocese to be disseminated on a regular basis to members. Our Facebook page shows that in the last month, we have reached around 1,500 people with over 700 engaging with our website.
We have heard wonderful stories of how these have been shared through telephone conversations with those who are not on social media. In Eglwysilan and Caerphilly branches, committee members telephone members on a regular basis and pray together and reflect on the devotions. The neighbouring branches of Treharris and Llanfabon MU have set up a What’s App group to keep in contact with members and non-members providing great support. MU members across the diocese have been making good use of their daily exercise and taking the opportunity to post Revd. Sandra’s devotions through members’ letterboxes (some members have even rang the doorbell and run to the end of the drive and engaged in face-to-face conversations at the designated distance). The Deanery Leader for Penarth and Barry, Revd. Sue Stevens, is in daily contact with the branch leaders in the Deanery by way of a ‘thought for the day’ which they then disseminate to their branch members.
These initiatives, replicated across the diocese, have provided much comfort for members, especially those who live on their own and the regular contact has provided much needed emotional and spiritual support.
The Board of Trustees have been in regular contact with each other and have been holding virtual meetings through Microsoft Teams. As with all charities currently, we are looking at our finances and we are grateful for the meticulous management of funds by our Diocesan Treasurer, who is keeping a careful eye on our budget. We took the decision to close the AFIA Caravan prior to the government ruling on closing caravan parks, but we are hopeful that at least some of the families, especially those affected by the floods at the beginning of the year, will be able to take a holiday sometime this year.
The Deanery Festivals, planned for May across the eleven deaneries, have been cancelled and we are so disappointed that members will not be able to meet and share worship and fellowship; but oh what joy there will be when we are able to meet together again and praise the Lord our God for all his wondrous works.
We have heard distressing news from our link diocese in Nebbi, Uganda. They are asking for our prayers as the Corona virus is affecting them badly. There is no public transport and cars are banned as well. People have to walk a very long way to market and supplies are short. Nebbi is on the border with the Congo and borders are porous.
The lockdown may be difficult for many of us at this time, but we give thanks to God for the many blessings he has given us. We pray that our Lord God gives us the strength to cope, the tools and skills to help others in whatever way we can and the sure foundation that Christ is with us always.