Hope amidst Coronavirus


‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.’ Psalm 46 v 1-2 (ESV)

Welcome to this March newsletter, and thank you for your continued interest and support. As ever, please do invite others to sign up to receive our news, if you think it would be of interest. We hope you find this newsletter helpful. As you can imagine, we are focusing on matters relating to Coronavirus, but in the knowledge that God is sovereign and always with us.


God is our refuge and strength

A lot has changed since our February newsletter in which we were reflecting on our parliamentary reception, and thanking God for all He has done. Our Lord doesn’t change of course, and the work of Faith in Later Life continues, but all around us, society is starting to look quite different; and much is uncertain. How wonderful to be reminded of the truths of Psalm 46, that God is our refuge and strength, even when things seem most difficult, or worrying. Amidst difficult times, may we be reassured knowing that God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and an ever present help.


Speaking hope

With this Coronavirus crisis comes a huge opportunity, with the ‘permission’ of wider society, to speak hope to those around us. Many are understandably fearful, even perhaps those of us (who may have health conditions or be older) who have the assurance of Jesus Christ as Lord. Those who don’t know that Jesus is Lord, who don’t know the Holy Spirit with them, and who don’t know that their Heavenly Father loves them dearly- they may be very frightened indeed.

How then can we speak hope into our communities, offering support to the elderly living on our street? And how can Christian believers ensure we are looking after the older people in our churches who may be self- isolating? There are many simple things we can do to practically help people, as well as praying, as we shine the light of the Lord Jesus into this difficult time. We have written a number of blogs, ranging from practical suggestions around phoning and communicating with the older person in your church family who lives alone, to contacting your self- isolating neighbour, to thinking about how Coronavirus affects someone living with dementia. Do have a look here.

And we have ‘permission’ because society needs us. It needs us to be the hands and feet of the Lord Jesus. Last weekend my family and I walked down our street and dropped notes through each letterbox offering practical help to any older person who is alone and isolated. Within ten minutes of getting back home, the phone rung- the first older person calling in response to our note.

And the good news is that society still knows that at times like this, Christians have a reputation for reaching out, and helping others; and so people are interested in how churches are responding. This month I have spoken separately on BBC Radio Sheffield, Oxford, Humberside, Norfolk, Jersey & Guernsey, Lancashire, Bristol and Somerset, as well as the national ‘Talk Radio’ and TWR Christian radio. There is a huge opportunity for Christian witness, and whether we can support others practically or not, we can all pray.

To listen to some of the above mentioned broadcasts, do visit our website. We try to put links on our Facebook page too, where over 5000 supporters of Faith in Later Life regularly engage with us. Do ‘like’ our page and join our online community if that is of interest.


Faith in the Second Half conference

Sadly but unsurprisingly, we have decided we have no choice but to cancel our forthcoming ‘Faith in the Second Half’ conference at Keswick. We considered whether to keep our options open but in the last week it has become evident that matters relating to the Coronavirus won’t be concluded (humanly speaking) by the beginning of May. As bookings were made directly with Keswick Ministries, our conference co-hosts, for more information do visit their website or call 017687 80075.

We don’t want to just leave things there however, so we will be rescheduling the conference for next year (2021) from May 10th-13th. Again, do contact Keswick using the above details if you would like to rebook immediately.


Church Engagement

At the beginning of this month, I enjoyed fellowship with a gospel chapel in Essex, which was home to CH Spurgeon as a child. It was lovely to eat with the Seniors group, and then share a little about the work of Faith in Later Life. Clearly things have changed with churches, but we look forward to a time where we can again visit you and your church fellowship. In the meantime, many are still signing up to join our ‘Church Champion’ network, and we are sharing electronic versions of the free resources we would usually send you in the post.

And whilst church community will look different for the coming months, we want to continue to walk alongside you, with information, support and fellowship. So, if you would like any information or support in your ministries relating to later life, do get in touch.


Call to prayer

Many of you will have been aware of the recent national day of prayer which the ‘Churches Together’ denominational Presidents called. As I sign off for another month, I want to encourage us to pray even more; to pray for all those who will be afraid, who will feel vulnerable, who may be elderly and self- isolating. For our leaders, that they make wise decisions. And for protection of all the healthcare staff looking after the most poorly. In addition to our website, and particularly in relation to prayer, further helpful resources can be found on the Neighbourhood Prayer Network website.


Yours in Christ,

Carl Knightly
Chief Executive, Faith in Later Life