A report shows what most worries churches in the wake of the pandemic – loneliness, social isolation and adult mental health and well-being.
Surveying hundreds of churches, charities, dioceses and cathedrals which the grant-making body the Allchurches Trust has supported since 2016, a picture emerges, in Hope Beyond Research – Church Survey Results, of just what most concerns such organisations as Covid-19 takes its toll on individuals and communities.
For example, of 632 churches who replied to the question: 'Looking three months ahead, what do you think the biggest needs of those served by your church are likely to be as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic? (select a top five)', the percentage listings were as follows:
78% Loneliness and social isolation
53% Adult mental health and well-being
40% Physical health needs of those who are still at risk/vulnerable/older
38% Spiritual input
Likewise, looking a year ahead and asked the same question, they answered:
58% Loneliness and social isolation
49% Adult mental health and well-being
46% Spiritual input
37% Rebuilding community cohesion
Asked, 'If the necessary funding and resources were available, what kind of support and activities would your church like to offer as a direct response to the changing needs caused by the Coronavirus pandemic?', the top five replies were:
59% Initiatives to tackle loneliness and social isolation among older people
41% More online worship
29% Technology equipment/resources to help people access online services/support
29% Mental health and well-being groups for adults
27% Digital/online training for older members of congregation/community
(610 churches answered this question)
840 responses were received to this summer's Allchurches Trust survey, though not all respondents answered all questions.
I can't help but feel that Anna Chaplaincy for Older People – the work of our 147 network members and dozens more volunteer Anna Friends – has never been more relevant to the public debate surrounding older people, coronavirus and community cohesion than it is now.
You may read the full report here.