• Debbie Thrower

Finding God's kingdom amidst Covid-19

Updated: Jun 25, 2020

Revd Dr Joanne Cox-Darling

Methodist minister and BRF author, Joanne Cox-Darling, has oversight of 23 church buildings across 12 square miles of Wolverhampton and surrounding areas.

She has no idea 'how many of those churches will reopen, will be able to be financially viable, or who will have a congregation with enough confidence to return to face to face community,' she says.

What she does know is that, 'We have – almost accidentally – discovered that ministry amongst the housebound is not only possible, but desirable.  In turn, we are learning to confess where our routines have excluded those for whom physical isolation and exclusion, is a daily reality rather than exotic.'

Two loaves of bread

She concedes in an article for Churches Together in England, CTE, that:

I have been challenged to work out what a pastoral and sacramental ministry looks like when pastoral care is online or via phone; and what sacramental ministry means when Holy Communion is effectively suspended. My personal and imperfect experiment and exploration has led me to firstly bake two loaves of bread everyday – and to give one away to a member of the church. I might not be able to offer Eucharist, but I can take bread to God’s people.

Delayed grief

Joanne Cox-Darling also warns us, and this is a rallying call to the church in general and the Anna Chaplaincy for Older People network in particular:

'For the wider community, there are still huge implications of delayed grief and bereavement which will continue for years to come.'

Care homes

As she concludes the article, Joanne envisages a new way of working, specifically mentioning care homes: