|Published by Michael Topple on Thu, 2 Jul 2020 13:36|
|Church Without Walls|
“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread…”
Volunteering for Colchester Foodbank close to the beginning of Lockdown has been one of the best things I could have done as a pioneer minister, both for my own sake and for the people in our community, some of whom have been hit hard by the onslaught of the virus. As a priest and Pioneer Minister in Stanway I am called to love God and to love my neighbour. Every day I pray these familiar words from the Lord’s prayer: ‘Your kingdom come; Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread...’ and every day, I ask myself the question, ‘what does that mean in practice?’. Part of the response to that prayer, especially in this time of great need during and after the coronavirus, is our opening of the Stanway Foodbank Satellite. On 23rd June our Mayor, Nick Cope, opened the Foodbank in St Andrew Hall. We will be open to clients every Tuesday between 11am and 1pm, meeting a very practical need for food - ‘Give us today our daily bread’ - but we are also building relationships, serving the Common Good, and working towards the day when the Foodbank will no longer be needed; the day when each person and family has the means to make or buy their own bread, and have enough left over to share it with their neighbour.
Like you, when the Coronavirus hit and we all found ourselves in Lockdown, I was trying to make sense of my life and vocation. My calling to proclaim the love of God in word and deed in the community of Stanway suddenly looked very different and difficult to do. Usually pioneering happens naturally through chance encounters or in gathered groups - in coffee shops, halls, schools and church. None of that would be possible during lockdown, and Zoom isn’t quite the same! My heart went out to the people who found themselves in real need, without the support of jobs, schools, extended family and community around them, especially those in need of food. Any of us could find ourselves in financial or personal difficulty through job loss or ill health or unwise decisions. Have you watched the moving, challenging, and humbling film, ‘I Daniel Blake’?
As I prayed for discernment, together with others, an opportunity to give actively and practically arose through volunteering for Foodbank. My first role was to pack food parcels as part of the team, which were given to people with food vouchers. Later I assisted by collecting some of the generous donations, made by shoppers, from Sainsbury’s and Stanway Co-op. After a few weeks, Mike, the CEO of the Foodbank, spoke to me about the possibility of facilitating the opening of a Foodbank Satellite in Stanway, to serve the south-west of Colchester. The process of finding a venue and gathering a group of volunteers began, and the rest… well, shall we wait and see how things emerge? It is a great privilege to be part of the Foodbank team, working together with church and community volunteers and serving the people of Stanway and further afield, praying, ‘Your Kingdom Come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’
I wonder what your Lockdown stories are, and how it is that God has been working in and through you to bless others in our community? I’m looking forward to gathering some of our Stanway Lockdown Stories together!
Lord, you have taught us
that all our doings without love are nothing worth:
send your Holy Spirit
and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtues,
without which whoever lives is counted dead before you.
Grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
A personal and theological reflection, Rev’d Wendy Pagden, Pioneer Minister in Stanway