‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy’. Proverbs 31 v 8-9 (NIV)
Welcome to this June newsletter, and thank you for your continued interest and support. As ever, if there is any content you would like to see in our newsletters that is currently missing, then do get in touch– and please do invite others to sign up to receive our news; you can do this by pressing the ‘forward’ button at the bottom of this email. We hope you enjoy reading this month’s newsletter.
This month marked the annual national Carers Week. This provided an opportunity to take a moment to remember those who so tirelessly and often without being paid, care for others, often elderly loved ones, who need extra support. Both on BBC local radio and UCB, I spoke about how Christians and churches can be getting alongside those they know who are carers and offer them some practical support, as well as a listening ear.
Our website ‘book of the month’ this month is a free to download article which provides information on carers, what it means to be a carer and how churches can support carers. To have a look, click here.
Remembering and reflecting
It was good to see the respect and love shown to the veterans during the D-Day Celebrations earlier in the month. Theirs is the generation described as ‘the greatest’ by American journalist Tom Brokaw, in a book of the same name. He wrote that these men and women fought not for fame or recognition, but because they felt it was the “right thing to do.” Despite living through much social and economic turbulence, including the Great Depression of the 1920s, they helped to build our country back up after World War II. Interviews with them during the D Day celebrations showed so much of their empathy and wisdom. Hopefully, they will have helped lessen the ageism in the UK that creates a false dichotomy between the generations and prevents older people being respected as the ‘elderhood’ that God intended; not to lord it over people but to be points of reference, mentors, and encouragers. Above all, ‘telling the generations’ about God’s faithfulness (Psalm 78). It’s something to pray about.
The faces behind the Social Care crisis
No-one watching the Panorama programmes on the crisis in social care in Somerset recently could fail to be deeply moved. At a preview screening, the economist Andrew Dilnot, author of the Dilnet Report on Social Care, said he wept. In opening its doors to a film crew for 10 months Somerset County Council showed the human tragedies behind the statistics – the daughter caring for her mother with severe dementia, desperate for the smallest respite after the only Day Centre that would take her mother closed: the profoundly disabled man saying how grateful he was for the care he is being given but that the only way to ease the burden on his wife because his care is ‘too expensive’ was to take his own life; the mother of three who needs 24 hour care but whose husband is so exhausted that social workers fear he may collapse; and others whose care needs could only be met in part.
In an interview on UCB radio, I was asked what churches could do. I said that as Christians we are told to bear one another’s burdens. We are also called to be a voice for the helpless. We can support and befriend caregivers, like those we saw on Panorama. We can be there for them in a multitude of little things – when they need to have the grass cut, or shopping done, or whatever is needed. And we can all email or write to our MPs asking for them to raise these matters in Parliament. And of course we can pray.
On the road
As Faith in Later Life continues to grow and gain increased momentum it has been a privilege to share our work with a variety of people, both on the radio and in person. I recently met with the Christian MP, Jim Shannon, who holds a number of influential positions in parliament involved with leading committees on religious freedom as well as loneliness. Mr Shannon is a staunch defender of the Christian faith and was most encouraged with our work, which he committed to sharing about, both in his Christian networks and across parliament.
It was also very encouraging to be invited to St Augustine’s theological college in South East England recently, to lead a session with a group of Ordinands, promoting our work and underlining the importance of serving and empowering older Christians and reaching older unchurched people for Christ. Please pray that the Lord would continue to open doors.
Thought of the day
Each day this week I have been sharing a ‘later life’ focused Bible “thought of the day” on Premier Christian radio, and the final one airs tomorrow (28th June). It has been wonderful to be able to have an opportunity to hopefully encourage those listening, about Gods purposes and plans for later life, and how precious people of all ages are to Him.
The Faith in Action Directory identifies many services and activities which are being provided across the UK for those in later life. There is a huge variety both in terms of what is provided and who is doing the providing. Do let us know what your church or Christian organisation is doing by completing the form on our website – by clicking here.
Yours in Christ,
Director, Faith in Later Life