Anna Chaplaincy by bicycle
Updated: Jun 25
Anna Chaplain in Rochester, Kent, Christine Seth-Smith, has taken to her bike (with a consignment of biscuits in her pack) to visit those self-isolating during lockdown. We asked her how she was getting on and what kind of reception she's been receiving. Were people coming to their doors pleased to see her? Christine replied:
Although ‘visiting by bicycle’ is a new venture, I must have done about a dozen visits now. The summer weather lends itself to such an initiative and so far it has been very successful. During lockdown, everyone seems to be delighted with a visit, and also with their biscuits!
For many, their social life is through church activities which have ceased for the time being, giving them a sense of isolation, so they appreciate feeling connected. As Mary said yesterday, ‘It makes all the difference actually seeing someone.’
Rochester (on the North Downs) where I live, is quite hilly so the cycling is very good exercise! The homes I have visited so far are within a 2–3 mile radius of the city centre. It is really useful to be able to ascertain whether anyone is struggling in any way, and to offer help if they need it.
I hope to be able to continue these visits as often as possible, as they seem to be very non-threatening and informal, and I enjoy them too. The number of visits may grow as one discovers more people in need. I also send cards when I can and ring them for a chat. I would definitely recommend visiting by bicycle!
By way of a footnote, another Anna Chaplaincy network member has taken to walking round her 'patch' and lingering to chat to people in their front gardens while perched on a shooting stick!
If you have also found a novel way to 'loiter with intent' (as someone once described chaplaincy) and visit people while maintaining social distance then do let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org