Covid-19 and Being a Community Initiator image

Covid-19 and Being a Community Initiator

While at the moment the threats, known and unknown, posed by coronavirus are fairly overwhelming, this is also a time of real opportunity.

Just how thin civilised life may be has been exposed by scenes of shoppers fighting over toilet rolls: that life can so quickly descend into chaos over something so insignificant is truly worrying. Yet alongside those signs of concern we are also seeing an upwelling of community kindness. Covid-19 is both driving people apart and causing them to come together.

We – the church – have an incredible opportunity to be community nurturers at this time. Part of the way we can ‘run towards the plague’ is by taking the initiative in our neighbourhoods to demonstrate care and kindness to others.

On Sunday afternoon Grace & I did what many others are doing and went round to our neighbours with a flyer suggesting we form a community support group. As with many British streets, most people in my road don’t have much interaction with the people they live close to and are unsure about how to form connections with neighbours. Our flyer simply said who we were and explained,

At this time of uncertainty caused by the coronavirus it would be good to keep an eye out for one another in our neighbourhood. If you would like to join a WhatsApp group for our street please message us. If you are having to self-isolate let us know. We can try to help with picking up shopping or if you just need a friendly phone call!

We delivered this flyer to about fifty addresses in our immediate neighbourhood and most people responded immediately and with considerable enthusiasm.

There is a real desire to help one another at this time. As well as helping us through the immediate crisis, my hope is that this will lead to a stronger neighbourhood and more opportunities for witness once the coronavirus threat has passed. At the least, having a WhatsApp group which includes most of our neighbours will make it so much more easy to organise drinks at Christmas or a summer barbeque.

These strange times are making it so easy for us to connect with people in new ways. Let’s make the most of that opportunity.


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