GBCP Newsletter Decemeber 2014 Churches’ Edition
Almost a year ago I wrote my “Pigeon Piece” for Greater Bedminster Community Partnership as the representative of BS3 Churches Together on that body and so this time I want to reflect on a couple of issues that are good examples of where Christian faith can have important contributions to the well -being of society in its local sphere. The first is to do with the Community Partnership’s proposed plans for reducing the causes of isolation felt by many elderly people who live on their own and often find it difficult to get out, to go places, and to meet others. As I thought about this I found myself recognising that in fact the churches already do considerable good in this sphere. Quite apart from “Sunday services” most of our local fellowships do make provision for the elderly – with coffee mornings, lunch clubs, mid-week meetings and the like. In addition very often transport is provided. It is great that there is already such provision although of course the beneficiaries are in general those with “church connections” – sometimes over very many years. However it is now a remit for me to see how we can extend this work and with this in mind I am hoping that a proper audit of what is available will be carried out and then we can see how such services can be extended and, most importantly, how we can fit in, help out, and generally add to all that other social oriented local bodies may do in this respect.
The second issue is regarding the contribution that local churches may be able to make in our area to promote the concept of Bristol being the “European Green Capital” for 2015. GBCP has this high on the agenda at present and there is to be a meeting soon (by the time you read this it will hopefully be a past event!) of “blooming Bedminster” reps and local church reps that will look at church gardens, green walkways, congregational responsibilities (perhaps some of our youth organisations – guides, brownies etc. – could be involved) and funding questions as well. We need to be geared up in this part of the city for a really good show and churches should make their contribution. Incidentally I am pleased to report that the various “church projects” that I mentioned last time continue well and are proving sustainable - food banks, child contact work, Salvation Army projects and the like.
So here we are in December and Christmas time looms once again. Over the years Christians have tried hard to “keep Christ in Christmas” so I finish with a quote from Giles Fraser: “Christmas cards used to be about mangers, kings and shepherds….then about reindeer…. but now more about “us”. (A S Byatt wrote “Religion has gone away and all we are left with is ourselves”). We once followed a star, now stars. Maybe the star is a better guide, at least it doesn’t lead back to ourselves. It is more about reality less about fantasy”.
Why not come to church this Christmas – a warm welcome awaits you!
, Bristol Green Capital
, Cinnamon Network
, Faith Action Audit
, Les Potter
, Social Action