A message from the Faith & Policy Unit to encourage you in your contact with your Branch Indoor Members/Seniors at this time of uncertainty. Remember it is through prayer we build our hope and confidence in the Lord to sustain and lead us through this time of anxiety with Covid-19.
Maureen Paige, Indoor Members Contact – Connor Diocese.
Update on Branch meetings in Connor
Many members have been asking when branch meetings will resume in the diocese, so we included an excerpt from All-Ireland President, June Butler’s recent letter to members. The full article can be found on the All-Ireland MU website All-Ireland MU website
“With great regret but much common sense, we decided that, while we will still plan for a more connected and “normal” MU year in 2021, the time is not yet right to resume branch meetings. That position will pertain until at least the end of November and the Trustees will review that decision at all future meetings. We obviously have to abide by the guidelines and legislation of our governments and the Church of Ireland and the immediate future for gatherings of people is at present just not clear. Our primary concern is for the safety and welfare of our members. At the meeting, we also considered some of the plans already in place for 2021 and we will let you know about those events in due course.”
A Personal Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your disciples, ‘’I am with you always.’’ Be with me today as I offer myself to you. Hear my prayers for others and for myself and keep me in your care. Amen
A Prayer for Peace of Mind
You will keep them in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you.
Heavenly Father, in your love and wisdom you know the fears of all your children. Your Son, Jesus Christ, said to His disciples: ’’Do not be afraid, it is I,’’ and to the tempest: ‘’Peace be still.’’ We ask not only for ourselves but for all others especially our Healthcare workers, our Government, that we may cast all our cares on you, for we know that you care for us. Give us peace of mind and unshaken trust in you and guide us into perfect peace. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
(Archbishop Jackson & Archbishop McDowell)
Our All Ireland Faith & Policy Coordinator, Beth has asked us to share this prayer with our members.
Faithful Lord, at this uncertain time in our land, we pray for our Indoor Member Contacts that they may be given strength and courage as they help and support our Indoor Members in their dioceses.
Lord, we thank you for these Indoor Members who give so much to this worldwide organisation. These members have supported us in their own homes by prayer and words of wisdom and we ask Lord that you keep them safe at this time and that they may feel the peace of your love.
As we walk into the future with faith may our pace be set by our perfect guide in step with you our loving Lord.
CH5 17 v2: We are pilgrims on a journey, and companions on the road; we are there to help each other walk the mile and bear the load,
God bless you all, Beth
Some other prayers which you may find useful:
God of compassion be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation. In their loneliness be their consolation; in their anxiety, be their hope; in their darkness, be their light; through him who suffered alone on the cross, but reigns with you in glory, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
We pray for those who are self-isolating because they are more at risk. Give them comfort and hope. May they use their time creatively and productively and grant them good rest and patience. In Jesus name we ask it. Amen
Heavenly Father please grant your faith, hope and love to church leaders as they consider the best ways to protect people from being exposed to Coronavirus. Show them any practical measures needed and inspire them by Your Spirit as they minister to their congregations. Amen
Almighty God, we remember those who are working on the front line in our medical services as they work to ensure people who are unwell are well looked after. We ask that you would give them your peace and wisdom at this challenging time. May they know your presence and have a new zeal for caring for their patients. Amen
Some verses of scripture:
Isaiah 41: 10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Psalm 62: 8 – Trust in Him at all times O people – pour out your hearts to Him for God is our refuge.
Psalm 91 and Psalm 121 – are also psalms people turn to in times of anxiety.
Some activity suggestions:
- Set a time every day e.g. 8 pm to pause and pray for your neighbours, church, community and MU members
- Leave a posy of Spring flowers from your garden for an Indoor Member or an elderly neighbour or a lonely person
- Some children/teenagers might practise their handwriting and letter writing skills by writing a letter to a lonely person or elderly relative
- Share a devotional item with an Indoor Member either by telephone, email or a handwritten note
- Phone an Indoor Member, someone living alone and chat about the weather, the plants growing in their garden, the birds which they feed daily
- A Neighbour Care card showing practical Christianity – Those confined to their home can have prescriptions collected, shopping picked up; their dog walked or have a friendly chat by telephone with someone.
- Why not knit a heart which can be given to families unable to visit relatives nearing the end of their lives to remember them by. A suggested pattern can be found below.
The knitted hearts should be posted to a hospital [put two the same in a freezer type bag with the date, from whom they came etc] where they will be kept for 72 hours to reduce the risk of infection before being given to a Covid-19 patient and their relative.
A single knitted heart can be given to someone in residential care as visitors are not allowed at the moment. They can also be given to someone who is very lonely and possibly self-isolating to show them someone cares.
On behalf of A&O Unit Projects Contact Rae Scott, may I bring to your attention some information about delivering items within the Belfast and Northern Trust Areas.
All donated items for the Belfast Trust are to be taken to The Hall, Knockbracken, Saintfield Road, due to the present pandemic. Please contact KATE – Monday to Wednesday at 028 9504 3516, and TERRY – Thursday to Friday at 028 9504 5257. Someone will meet the person delivering at The Hall which is signposted.
There are new protocols in place during Covid-19 for delivery of items to Northern Trust – Branches please select one person to make contact with Nursing Admin Team at either Antrim Area Hospital – Tel: 028 9442 4000 or Causeway Hospital – Tel: 028 7032 7032 and organise a date and time for drop off, someone will come along and collect the items from the boot of the car.
Take 5 steps to wellbeing
Based on the Take 5 steps to wellbeing, the downloadable leaflet below offers tips on supporting your mental and emotional wellbeing while staying at home during the current coronavirus outbreak.
COVID-19 bereavement resources
The Public Health Agency has produced the three booklets to provide advice for people who have experienced bereavement during the COVID-19 pandemic period. The booklets offer advice on dealing with grief and bereavement, practical advice on dealing with those aspects of a death that may be different during the pandemic period and the third booklet deals with helping children to cope with the death of a loved one, and was prepared by Psychological Services at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.
For further information on Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and keeping safe at this time please follow this link to the Public Health Agency below: https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus