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Town council and churches Renew Hope together

by Michael Ford last modified 24 Apr, 2020 05:10 PM

Weymouth Town Council has recognised the important role local churches can play in its own campaign to provide aid to those in need in the community amid the coronavirus lockdown.

In an email sent to the clergy, Community Development Officer Julie Hursthouse wrote:

“I am sorry to trouble you, but please would you kindly help us to spread the word about what we are doing in Weymouth to support our local residents.”

She provided a notice outlining the “Keep in Touch Essential Aid Project”, appealing for more volunteers to come forward to help keep services going, such as delivery of food parcels and essential medicines, and promoting mental wellbeing.

Our churches were quick to respond.

Weymouth Community Chaplain Neil Biles said:

"We are preaching a strong message that you ‘are not alone’ at this time of pandemic, and this reinforces the promise in a practical way."

Cherry Clarke, who coordinates the Weymouth and Portland activities of Refresh added:

"The appeal from the Council fits well with our own efforts and will help ensure we can reach to all corners of the community in need.

"Apart from Refresh, there is Christians Against Poverty (CAP) and food banks supporting struggling families, there is the Safe Sleep programme whereby churches in winter have been offering their premises to get rough sleepers off the streets, and groups helping seniors living alone to ease their loneliness – all sectors of the community the Town Council wants to assist."

In her emailed Easter notes to parishioners, the Revd Jo Haine, Vicar of Emmanuel and St Mary’s in Weymouth, emphasised the unique opportunity offered by the pandemic that has so disrupted “normal life” to focus on a new style of living that has no place for divisions, where mutual help is the norm. She said:

“It may feel like we are living in suspended animation, but, as bewildering as some of us are finding it, there is also inner fruit to be grown at this time. Our lives will be changed forever by these current events. So let us rest in these difficult days on God’s goodness, having faith that things will get better and remain so amid strong human unity.”

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