Ruth Harvey 03 Apr 2020
In these tender times, we are grateful for the friendship and support of the Place for Hope community. We are conscious that you may have family, friends, and colleagues who are vulnerable. You may indeed be vulnerable yourself.
Threads on social media offer encouraging reflections on the regeneration of community and environmental life in the face of this virus. For the seriously ill, those anticipating hospital postponements, or those afraid of long stretches alone or in vulnerable contexts, life may be tough even though new routes of compassion and care are opening up.
In this context there are many pearls of wisdom and delight. The Digital Nun offers wisdom on prayer, the sabbath and welcome, including thoughts on the ancient art of self-isolating, or hermit-dwelling. Richard Rohr is 'self-isolating' and reminds us in his recent post that 'Love always means going beyond yourself to otherness.' Jo Williams, leader of the Blackley Centre for Reconciliation and one of our partners in Reconcilers Together is choosing to talk about 'spatial isolation and social cohesion' rather than social isolation - an important and careful choice of words we recognise as one of the arts of mediation. Another of our RT partners, the Corrymeela Community, is offering 'daily prayers for community in a time of pandemic' while one of our own Practitioners, Fiona Bennett, minister of Augustine URC in Edinburgh led the Time for Reflection at the Scottish Parliament this week on vulnerability and compassion for the other. The Church of Scotland and other denominations are updating their advice and support regularly with important information about worship services, funerals, weddings and pastoral care, including a joint statement from the World Council of Churches and Regional Ecumenical Organisations. Many denominations are are sharing their worship online, such as Church of Scotland's Weekly Worship. These are tender times indeed. Sharing resources of prayer, reflection and community lead us to deeper self-care and social outreach. Let us dwell in the strength of this community and reach out as we can to each other and those in greatest need.