Updated: Apr 7
Church leaders are encouraging us all to pray for an end of the coronavirus; for all those who are falling sick; and for strength for the people looking after them at home and in hospital.
Likewise, for the millions unaccustomed to being home alone, one way of avoiding cabin fever while confined is to enlarge one's perspective through prayer.
Southampton Anna Chaplains have come up with a simple formula to guide people into home prayer. Leader of the team, Canon Dr Erica Roberts, City Chaplain for Older People, said, 'I thought you’d like to see one resource that we’ve produced for Home Prayer – please share it if you think it would help.'
The booklet offers some suggestions as you come to pray:
Find somewhere comfortable to sit
Light a candle
Be aware of your body as you still yourself
Take a deep breath in and be aware of God’s presence with you
Wonder what God might have for you in this moment.
'We’ve sent the leaflets out to all those who have no internet and those whom we know would value something to hold rather than read on a computer!' says Erica.
'All our care homes have received them and are using them in different ways. We plan to update them monthly and devise a separate one for Easter.'
Other ideas from our Southampton Anna Chaplains include a weekly newsletter for their 'Classic Cuppa' group of friends who used to meet regularly, with jokes, quizzes, stories and spiritual encouragement.
Another great idea has been to do a shared knitting project. One church is setting out to do figures for a Noah’s Ark set (making woollen figures like the one pictured left) and also knitted hats for the Southampton-based Sailors' Society.
'So something practical, done in their own homes but connecting through a shared goal and purpose.
'The Anna Chaplains are posting or delivering wool and needles, or just the pattern, as required,' she said.
In addition, Erica has printed up cards entitled 'Caring for the Older Community', listing resources including, of course, BRF's Bible Reflections for Older People, for which she is a regular contributor. Editions are published three times a year, and a subscription makes a good present for someone you know who'd appreciate the wisdom of seasoned writers reflecting on themes common to all in their later years.
Despite movement being restricted for our Anna Chaplaincy network, Erica says,'Life feels busier than ever pastorally, and in terms of connecting across the city.'