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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Giving and receiving help

Before the restrictions came into force: a member of Alton's Open Sight Club for the partially sighted

As much as we've tended to pride ourselves on our self-sufficiency, many are learning how to receive help graciously – as well as give it – in these strange times.

Autonomy, or self-determination, might have been something, almost, to be worshipped (how often have you heard an older person say, 'I don't want to be a burden'?), but if living under new rules is teaching us anything, it is that we need one another and miss one another badly when circumstances force us apart. It's dawning on us just how interdependent we are.


I like the Women's Institute's (WI) preference for the word 'cocooning' rather than self-isolating. It means 'to envelop in a protective or comforting way', and BRF's many resources can be stimulating and comforting in equal measure. For example, if you can't be with someone in person going through these challenging times, why not send them a spiritual resource package available from BRFonline? The handy box full of goodies to accompany one in one's solitude includes the following books:


Another colouring book with a religious theme comes from Illustrated Ministry, focusing on prayers for when you feel anxious. Click here to download.

Anna Chaplains

One of our Anna Chaplains, Wendy Gleadle in Chipping Camden, Gloucestershire, told us this as she adapts to the current crisis: 'As one of Boris’ “older vulnerables”, I am now on day 3 of 90 days of isolation! The phone service that my Anna Friends and I were offering to the isolated elderly is something I am now appreciating myself. Strange to be both the provider and the recipient!

'However, my church has decided that in view of the escalating situation for all church members, this scheme will be extended to include everyone. So we will need far more volunteers than just my Anna Friends.'

Wendy was having phone calls with church leaders this week to decide the best way to proceed. 'It is such a strange situation to suddenly be without all the activities that define me! But also an interesting challenge to discover new ways of being church.

Anna Chaplain, Wendy Gleadle

'I actually feel that the continuing pastoral phone calls will be very much part of my Anna Chaplaincy role.'

'Stay at home'

Wendy would appreciate your prayers 'for courage and patience in the next few months of being alone'. Indeed, we pray for our whole nation as every citizen – bar key workers and some others – is reminded to 'stay at home'.


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