|Watching for dawn|
With a vaccine and a roadmap, we can begin to take responsibility for the future again. We don’t know what it will be like, but here are a few things we do know.
Many will be poorer, and a few will be richer. The pandemic’s shadow will fall longest on the young, and those in the poorest health. And we have opportunity to create a society that reflects God’s Kingdom that will probably not come again in our lifetime. Everyone can play a part in taking up this invitation.
Our parishes will have lost members – some to Covid, some for reasons we may never know. Newcomers will stumble in to our churches, looking for welcome, healing and hope. As a community of faith, we have been changed, and we’ll need to find out how, and who we are now.
This edition of Grapevine highlights a number of ways to awaken to this Gospel moment, and reach out with healing to a wounded world.
Jesus says ‘stay awake, because you do not know the day or the hour’ when the bridegroom will come (Matthew 25.13). Actually this is one of those rare occasions when we do have a clue – so let’s get ready!
Paul (Programme Leader for Social Action)
|In this issue:|
– Support for a telephone befriending scheme in your parish
– Prepare the Future: workshop on 18 March
– Protect vulnerable families on Universal Credit – petition
– Here: Now: Us – catch up on the Open Evening
– Make your parish a beacon for young people
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New support available for developing a parish scheme
Many parishes have set up telephone befriending as way to keep in touch with isolated parishioners. As we approach light at the end of the tunnel, some are looking to put their scheme on a more robust footing – a move which can also enable them to reach out to those in need beyond the Catholic community.
Now, if your parish would like to set up a telephone befriending scheme or develop one you already run, help is at hand. We are developing support to set up such a scheme, with a view to helping anyone who is lonely or vulnerable.
The Diocese of Nottingham is teaming up with the charity Linking Lives and our ecumenical friends at Transforming Notts Together. They offer a package of training, templates and good practice called Two’s Company. Meanwhile we at the Diocese can help you ensure it all dovetails with the Church’s safeguarding, data protection and insurance requirements.
Find out more about ‘Two’s Company’
|Between us, we’ll help you get your scheme up and running. Telephone befriending will be on the agenda at our next Prepare the Future workshop described below. It will be an opportunity to think through the practicalities and with fellow Catholics from around the Diocese. We’ll see you there!|
Book here for ‘Prepare the Future’
|Prepare the Future: workshop 4|
Building parishes of welcome, listening and hope
Thursday 18 March 2021, 3.00 – 4.30 p.m. on Zoom
People from about 20 parishes gathered for the last Prepare the Future workshop. They found it so useful that we were asked to make it a regular thing. Here is the kind of thing they said after the last one:
‘Good to hear what others are doing and share our own experiences, and seek advice’
‘Excellent…meeting us where we are at the moment’
‘Helps me discern what a way forward for our parish might be’
Among the issues we’ll cover at the workshop are the following:
– Establishing a telephone befriending service, as described above
– Developing a toolkit to help you navigate safeguarding, data protection and other requirements
– Building a new census or database for the post-pandemic missionary parish
– Reaching out with minority ethnic and diaspora communities in our parishes
– Exploring a model for mutual aid and practical support for families and individuals, rooted in Catholic social teaching
Let us know which of these are of most interest to you when you sign up. We look forward to meeting you!
Book here for ‘Prepare the Future’
|Here: Now: Us is a three-part programme to help you put your faith into action, bring Catholic social teaching to life, and build your parish into a confident, outward-looking community. For you, your faith, and your parish, it offers a three-stage journey out of lockdown with fellow Catholics from around the diocese.|
– A seven-week programme of Scripture-based workshops on Catholic social teaching, ideal for parish groups, starting in May 2021 on Zoom
– A Saturday workshop in your parish when Covid restrictions allow – it’s not too early to start planning
– Support for your post-pandemic mission and outreach through the new diocesan Caritas network.
A second Open Evening will be held on Tuesday 13 April, 7.00-8.00 p.m. ‘Dip your toe in’ to see if it’s something you and your fellow parishioners would be interested in. It’s an ideal opportunity to satisfy your curiosity, ask questions, and find out what’s involved.
Book here for the Open Evening on 13 April
|In Lincoln? Got some space?|
Lincoln Foodbank needs your help!
Lincoln Foodbank is looking for new premises to store the many tons of food that is donated and given out to hundreds of people throughout the week. They are looking for approx. 1500-2000 Sq ft of space within Lincoln. This could be a warehouse or a church building. If you have any thoughts or have any space to offer, please contact Amy Colley on firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Keep the £20 lifeline|
Many charities, faith leaders and MPs are urging the government to retain a vital social security lifeline introduced during the pandemic. Without it, the foodbanks in Lincoln and elsewhere will likely see an upsurge in demand as vulnerable families run out of money. We invite you to add your voice by signing this petition.
Please join us in asking the government to keep, and make permanent, the £20 uplift they rightly extended to millions of families earlier this year. Cutting the lifeline this April, as planned, would not only have significant impacts for the economy but would mean around 16 million people experiencing an immediate and devastating loss of income. Extending the uplift to legacy benefits will benefit a further 1.5 million people, the majority of whom are disabled, sick or carers, and so have been most at risk during this pandemic.
Find out more and sign the petition here.
|Could your parish be a beacon for young people?|
Support available from Million Minutes
We all know of the impact on the wellbeing and mental health of young people from this prolonged lockdown. Now the charity Million Minutes are looking for parishes who want to take their work with young people to a new level: to go “beyond the regimented approach and transform the way they see to develop the Church’s mission with young people”.
|Million Minutes are inviting parishes to take part in their Beacon Parishes scheme. Over two years, participant parishes will gain training and support. from Million Minutes and each other, to:|
– Identify and commit to a vision for your youth ministry
– Identify and engage others to join you on the journey
– Understand the reality, gifts and needs of young people in your parish and local community
– Discern your priorities
– Develop pastoral plans to extend your mission to young people
Once your initial plans are formed Million Minutes will continue to accompany you as you begin to implement them (in collaboration with others).
Find out more on Million Minutes’ website
Let us know if you express an interest
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen for daybreak,
more than watchmen for daybreak. (Psalm 130: 5, 6)