Lockdowns & quarantines highlight the strength of healthy community. There are many, many stories of people looking out for one another. Help like folk in Mildura offered frontline staff, attest to community strength. In our pastoral care ministry, we use the phrase ‘circle of support’ to describe the family, friends, and community a person can rely on in challenging times.
I meet people who have very few within their circle of support, at times only their life partner (or less). Their rationale may carry a theme of independence: ‘I don’t need anyone else’, ‘people let you down’, ’I don’t ask for help’. Others have found poor choices, changing cities, relationship breakdown and more has dissolve their support. These people, despite their bank balance, are socially ‘poor’, and therefore vulnerable. What is your assessment? Do you have a strong circle of support? Are you socially ‘rich’? If not, why might you be able to do about it?
Church community can enrich people socially, but it is not guaranteed. Sunday church services cannot be your only means to build significant social connection. Even with a hospitable congregation, the attendance is too sporadic, those online are not present, the morning tea conversations only go so deep. In our church we rely on our Growth Groups, service opportunities and growing friendships to expand people’s connections. If your circle of support or your connection to our church community is limited, Growth Groups or service are the best place to start. From there deeper friendships can grow. If you are not in either, why not make contact to get the ball rolling?