One body, many parts – what can you do?

‘Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ’. 1 Corinthians 12:12 (NIV)


Welcome to this ‘Faith in Later Life’ May 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.


One body, many parts

I have been reflecting recently, amidst the challenges (and for many, suffering and loss) of the coronavirus pandemic; and again and again what has sprung to mind is how we, the body of Christ, can all make a difference to those around us. To those in our church family, our family and friends, and our neighbours. And as the above scripture references, we all have a part to play (and many of us are already doing lots), no matter now insignificant we may feel. Across society, locally, nationally, in the media, in schools, in politics, in our neighbourhoods, there seems to be a renewed openness to the Christian message.

Even if we can’t leave our house, we can have conversations over the garden fence, or on the phone. And of course we can pray for specific individuals who may be struggling in this current season. For more reflections on what we can all be doing during this coronavirus crisis, have a read of this blog by Gavin Calver, of the Evangelical Alliance.

This month we co-hosted a roundtable alongside Evangelical Alliance, bringing together Christian care home providers, denominational leaders and a group of practitioners and experts, with a focus on thinking through our response to covid19- thinking about messages to government, but also across the Church. Please pray as this work progresses.

At Faith in Later Life we are also continuing to produce free bite size blogs and resources, to provide hopefully helpful reflections and suggestions, as we seek to navigate through this season together. We also wrote out to our ‘Church Champions’ earlier this month, seeking their views on how we can support them more, and we were greatly encouraged to hear of all that individuals and churches are doing to support each other and their wider community. If you are interested in joining our Church Champion network do read on for more of this later in this newsletter.


Daily Hope – update

If you missed it in the newsletter last month, and haven’t heard of it elsewhere, last month we worked with the Church of England, and the ‘Connections’ initiative at Holy Trinity Claygate, to launch a free 24/7 telephone service called Daily Hope. This is free for anyone to call (irrespective of denomination- or whether the caller is even a believer), and when someone calls they will have the option of listening to some comforting old hymns, or hear a prayer, or to listen to some helpful talks and reflections. We want to minister to older Christians who may not be “tech savvy”, and we want to reach older people more broadly, with the good news of Jesus.

In one month over 108,000 calls have been made, with total call time of over 1.2 million minutes. And it is wonderful to hear from people who have benefited and who are telling others:

“What a brilliant idea! I have already passed it on to many people at church. Several of them have no computers, this will be a lifeline for them”.

The number, free to call from landlines or mobiles (in the UK) is 0800 804 8044. Spread the word!


Book of the month

Our May book of the month is ‘Beyond the Big C’ by Jeremy Marshall. ‘Beyond the Big C’ chronicles Jeremy’s extraordinary relationship with cancer and, more than anything, his extraordinary relationship with the person who promises life beyond the prognosis. The essence of Jeremy’s story is that despite the sickness and disease present in the world, a life lived in light of Christ’s death on the cross means there is hope for the future no matter what.


‘Finishing Well’ – Coming soon!

You may be aware that we have been in the planning stages to have our forthcoming book published. Written by Revd Canon Ian Knox, ‘Finishing Well: A God’s eye view of ageing’ is finally being published next month and we are really excited! We hope it will be a blessing and an encouragement, and we will be publicising it more in our next newsletter. If you would like a taster do download this free PDF from our website.


Join our network?

As mentioned earlier in this newsletter, we are continuing to seek to provide resources and support across our ‘Church Champion’ network, and we recently surveyed our network of Champions, gauging their views on their local context but also how we at Faith in Later Life can effectively support them. We have plans to grow this network this year, and gather people from churches in the UK and beyond who are involved with or passionate about, ministry with seniors.

Especially in the midst of this global pandemic, now is a critical time for us as Christians to move forward together, serving and empowering our older church members, and reaching older people for Christ. If this is an area of ministry you are already involved with at your church (or you would like to be supported in), would you join our network? If you have any questions you can email me or give me a call, I’d love to chat with you about it. There is no cost, and journeying together will be a blessing for us all. You can register here.


Looking forward

Despite not being able to meet in person, we are still seeking to support and equip churches and those who would like to hear from us. So if your church would welcome a ‘virtual visit’ from us, do get in touch. In the coming weeks we are planning a number of webinars, and the first will be in collaboration with the organisation Jubilee+, and this will provide an opportunity to reflect on the key issues facing older people (who are of course not a homogeneous group) during this pandemic; and how the Church can demonstrate the love of Christ at this time. For more information or to book here (free), click here.

Yours in Christ,

Carl Knightly
Chief Executive, Faith in Later Life