Alton Webteam: November 2016
At the end of September I was fortunate to be invited, on behalf of the Anna Chaplaincy, to a day conference entitled:
'What is possible if we work together to build more supportive communities?'
It was by invitation only and the Social Services Sensory Team, with whom we have good links, put our name forward.
Over 60 groups met and the excellent format enabled us to speak in small groups with a diverse range of agencies. Together, with a skilled and sympathetic facilitator, we drew some of the threads together at the end.
It was exciting to realise what a key role out churches are playing in this work of building more supportive communities.
Here are some of the phrases used during the day that resonated with me in the light of the vision we in GAP are formulating to create a more inclusive compassionate sense of community in Alton:
Create a ' WE CAN ' culture
Break down barriers
Each Partner Equally Important
Identify Shared Goals
Bring Young and Old Together: Age Fusion
We recognised the many challenges in society today. For example:
The challenges of Brexit
Diminishing funds for preventative initiatives
The negative (as well as positive ) impact of electronic devices, for building community, especially for young people.
Above all, I was struck by the simple small steps shared by people during the day that make all the difference at a micro level. Steps that so many of us in our churches take, almost without registering what we are doing. Yet together WE CAN make such a difference by prayer and action. I find it an inspiration to work alongside you — young and old, as we reach out into the community beyond the doors of the church.
Just last week there was an article in The Times about a 87 yr old woman from Southend who spent 4 days in the bath before a waitress at the cafe where she was a loyal customer grew worried and raised the alarm. They had been friends for ten years since Doreen's late husband had moved into a Care Home. It seems to me that good neighbourliness like this is just what building community is all about and we in GAP can hold our heads up high as we reach out to others in old and new ways.
Helen Jesty September 2016
popular recent storiesAlso in the news
The Lunch Club celebrated Christmas with a wonderful roast turkey lunch with all the trimmings followed by a chocolate desert and then cups of tea. This was served by willing helpers complete with Christmas attire to around 65 people. Carols were then sang with festive readings and some pictures of the 'Alton Angels' that had been knitted by some of our members (including Doris 100 years...
The Open The Book Schools Team have presented the Shepherd's Story at 3 different venues: Andrews Endowed School, Wootey Junior School and at the Hard of hearing Club's Christmas service in All Saints Church. The photographs were taken in All Saints Church...many thanks to Allison who donated the angel costume to our resource...
Many thanks to all who knitted the little angels — I estimate that we had about 600 in total! All were different and many were quaint characters!These were collected together ,sewn up and labelled with a greeting — many hands helped with this task. As I write the angels are being distributed around Alton- perhaps you have already seen some or been lucky enough to have one in your garden! We...