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CHRISTIAN LIFE IN LONDON | FEBRUARY 2021 EDITION
Helping Hands: How to Minister to your Community During COVID
CURRENT COMMUNITY STORIES
what we say matters...
February Prayer Prompt
People, We Are at War!
BookMark - Always Know; See Hear Love (BOOK REVIEW)
Children in need around the world to receive 373,000 gift-filled shoeboxes from Canadians
New Day – You Are Not Alone
Project Hope - London
FINDING PEACE IN NEWFOUNDLAND
Prayer Time (HUMOUR)
The Churches of London:
West London Alliance Church Arabic Fellowship
Londoners’ Generosity Extends Food Bank’s Reach
Reel Review - Charming (MOVIE REVIEW)



Written by Tony Kulpa and Kristine Abramoff

Few things are as core to the concept of Christian ministry as helping those in need. Feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, these were among the highest priorities of Jesus Himself, and among His most important commands to His people. Our mission and mandate as believers demands that we not turn a blind eye to those in need, especially in times of greatest need. Enormous numbers of people have lost jobs or seen their livelihoods shrivel. People face mental health problems unlike anything that has been seen before as people are forced physically apart. Many have lost dear friends and family members, or have become ill themselves. But despite the suffering we see, we find ourselves blocked from being able to help in all the ways we have before.

The COVID pandemic has put very unusual restrictions not only on our daily lives, but on how we do ministry. The needs, of course, have not disappeared, instead growing more serious. So in what ways can we reach out and make a difference, despite the restrictions of lockdowns, shutdowns, and physical distancing?

Investing in Relationships

Because of COVID, people are frequently unable to visit friends and families, or are cut off from part of their social circle. Visitation, once such an important part of Christian life, has become difficult or impossible for many. But the importance of relationships has not changed, only the way those relationships work. Never has it been more important to be intentional and disciplined about investing in our relationships with those around us, especially those we know are isolated or alone.

Many have learned to use online tools to communicate with family, friends, and our churches, but we don’t have to stop there. We must remember those in our lives that may not have someone to talk to, and take some time to offer support and spend time with them, even virtually. Make a point to check on your neighbors, acquaintances you don’t see any more because of cancelled activities, and anyone else that might be left on their own. Do what you can to provide them with some social interaction. There are so many ways to connect now. There are board game websites, puzzle sites, and many apps available that make it easy to spend time with those who need our attention. Even regular phone calls can make all the difference in the world.

Having a Giving Heart

There are many ways to give in the community, but things have changed since the start of the pandemic. For instance, more than ever, food banks need our support as people from all walks of life are finding themselves struggling even to put food on the table. The food banks also work with homeless shelters and soup kitchens to provide meals as they are not able to serve food to people in the same way. Prepackaged foods, including snacks and bottled water, are essential needs as organizations pivot away from sit-down meals.

The key is to get in touch with the organization and ask them what they need most right now. Don’t assume that what you’ve always done is still the most helpful thing to do. Take the opportunity to make the most of your gift.

Volunteering Your Time

Many charitable organizations have had to curb or even stop their volunteer programs, but there are so many ways to invest in your community directly. More than ever, families are struggling with their children’s education because of school closures. Those who have skills in math, reading, or any other subject can offer online help to those families whose children are finding it difficult to learn without as much support from teachers. Even engaging in a simple activity with children can be a lifesaver to parents who need a few quiet moments.

You can also make use of what you have to help others. Lockdowns and physical distancing is especially difficult for those without their own transportation. Taking public transit can be scary, especially for people who already have health issues. Offering to pick up essential items or making a grocery trip can make a huge difference to people who would otherwise have to significantly expose themselves to risk.

Being Attentive to Your Community

We are always called to see the needs around us and work to meet those needs. But often, those needs are not readily visible, so we must not be afraid to ask! Our responsibility to check on those in our community has never been more important. Talk to your neighbors to find out how they are handling the lockdown. Get in touch with people you haven’t seen or heard from recently to make sure they are okay. Ask people what they are struggling with, because it might be something you wouldn’t expect.

Lockdowns are hard for most of us, but for some they are especially difficult. Those without family closeby, students from out of town, the elderly or those with poor health, the homeless, those who struggle with mental health issues, and many others are facing some of the greatest challenges of their lives. Check with your church to see if they are coordinating grocery drop-offs and other services for those under quarantine, or others facing particular difficulties, and join in. If there isn’t such a program, get people together and start one. Find out who is suffering the most, and connect them with those who can make a difference.

Though we face tough times right now, we also face great opportunities for ministry, great opportunities to show the love and power of God. It only means that we must be bold and creative and reach out in new ways.