Pause for Thought September 2011

As I write this the huge news items are all to do with the riots which started in the streets of London and the aftermath of questioning how it could have happened. The Prime Minister is also making it very clear that all those involved will be punished. While others are looking for someone, not least the police, to blame.

Yet there was a piece in one paper yesterday, written by someone who had done a great deal of work with teenagers living on the poorest estates and belonging to gangs and she pointed out that these young people had lost all hope of ever finding a job or leaving the estate. One lad, who had never known a father and had a small room, keeping his belongings in a black rubbish sack while eating take away meals, had told the writer: ‘No-one cares.’ It was a bleak picture.  This lad had walked away from the looting along with his two friends, but what a sad story this was.

‘No-one cares.’  This is an indictment of where our society is today – because around the corner in all those estates is a parish church, which will mostly go unnoticed (and has in all probability been vandalized in one way or another) – but is a place where people will care. So how does the Church get the message across? The simple message that fundamental to our belief is that each person is made in the image of God and therefore must be respected and encouraged – and loved.

In our churches we are fortunate that not only is there day to day care for all our neighbours – but also a special team set up to show that care. The sick and those in special need are visited, those coming for baptism are prepared and shown how to continue their Christian lives, wedding couples are well prepared and those who have been bereaved are offered support. This pastoral group works away quietly at all times. They each did some initial training and some have taken that further.  Mary Hanna undertook training in order to become a Chaplain in mental health at Peterborough Hospital and was licensed by Bishop Donald. This month Mary Gowers has completed two years training and will be licensed in the Peterborough Cathedral on Saturday September 17th. For us this is exciting – both Mary’s are able to bring new insights to the parishes – they tell of new studies and meeting others following the same path. Everyone is enriched by their experiences.

We are so lucky – we have churches that care, we have a school where all children learn and learn about being cared for as well as how to care for each other, we have communities that care. Please think about those who live in indescribable environments and think about how we could show them we care and God cares – and forget about punishment and blame.

Margaret

Our best wishes and prayers go to Graham Dunn on his ordination this month.