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This month’s Pastoral letter comes from Tony Jeans, CURC Lay Preacher

Dear Friends

 

Do you know someone who is lonely?

All of us will have probably seen the leaflets from Age Concern telling us about older people who have very little contact and interaction but an Internet search shows a wider problem, for example:

BBC News 10 Apr 2018 - People who are single, middle-aged, living alone and with poor health, were identified as another peak of loneliness.

 

Independent 1st May 2018

People of all ages are at risk from diseases brought on by loneliness, new data has revealed. According to figures published by the Office for National Statistics, 2.4 million adult British residents – of all ages – suffer from chronic loneliness. That number, combined with research highlighting the medical dangers posed by loneliness, could see the condition being recognised as the UK’s most dangerous health issue.

 

On 17th January 2018, the Government announced the appointment of a Minister – Tracey Crouch - who is also Minister for Sport and Civil Society.

There has been a big survey this year run by BBC R4 and the University of Manchester, Brunel University, and the University of Exeter. It was funded by the Wellcome Trust and will report in the Autumn.

 

Loneliness is not the same as solitude. When we choose for practical, personal and spiritual reasons to seek isolation, we know what we are doing and why. Jesus took time out alone to be in communion with God the Father but there were times when he needed support from his friends, for example in the Garden of Gethsemane. Loneliness is not a matter of choice but something imposed.

 

Those at Prestbury and at Warden Hill both have Community social groups.

 

Is this something to which St Andrew’s could and should also respond? We have already activities that engage people – Forum, Lunch Club, Teas, Qi Gong. We have users of St Andrew’s who also offer excellent social experiences and we have good premises and facilities.

 

At St Andrew’s the Elders are considering if we can offer something as part of our mission to the community, perhaps drawing on the Synod Mission Fund for support. If you have any ideas or thoughts on this, please write or talk to the Church Secretary. In the meantime, do what you can with prayer and action to help somebody who is lonely.

Tony Jeans

 

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