PCN Newsletter 4th June 2020
In our eleventh newsletter Adrian gives news of our film project.
Do you go outside, at eight o’clock on Thursday evenings, and clap? What started as a way of saying thanks to doctors and nurses has now been expanded to include staff in care homes and nursing homes, not to mention the army of paramedics, physiotherapists, radiographers, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, porters, cleaners and all other supporting staff, from the managers who make things happen to the operatives who collects the waste. So, we clap. The practice of clapping started several weeks ago. People came out and clapped and then went back indoors again. Recently however, in a number of places, it has assumed other and unexpected dimensions. At eight o’clock, on cue, neighbours emerge from their lockdown locations, they clap and, , socially distancing of course, they talk of friends and family, talk of their lockdown experiences. They didn’t used to do this, a nod, a good morning, was sometimes as good as it got, when we passed one another. Now, greetings are shouted from the pavement on one side to the pavement to the other, even down the road to more distant neighbours. In one location, a lady with a good voice, leads community singing and, in another two violinists set up their music stands and sheet music and play to their neighbours. In another neighbourhood a socially-distanced bottle of wine together with cake and biscuits has been appearing. As the effect of the Pandemic is running it course, we have been aware of caring for neighbours in the community at an organised level as well. Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch Council, Christchurch Community Partnership, Christchurch Foodbank and other organisations have played a leading role in caring for neighbours who have specific needs. The eight o’clock clappers have shown and continue to show that they care, in a different way, not only for those caring in the NHS, care Homes and in the community but also, in a quite unexpected way, for one another. The New Testament records nine occasions when the familiar phrase ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ appears and I suggest this is what we are trying to do, when we go and stand outside on a Thursday evening to clap. But it is at three levels. Yes, love your neighbour in the healing and caring professions, love your neighbours who live next door or across the road, but love also those whom Jesus highlighted on the story of the Good Samaritan. Remember how it finishes? “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” (The man who fell into the hands of robbers was a victim of the violence in the society in which he lived at that time.) There are victims of a different sort in our society today; victims of homelessness, victims of domestic violence, victims of a failed welfare system, Victims of loneliness - too often ignored by a society that has failed them. In answer to the question that Jesus asked: who do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” May we look at others as if through your eyes, less judging, more loving, and seeing them, like us, as not perfect or finished but as a work in progress that will be completed in due time by your hands.Last week, having bemoaned in the newsletter the fact that I was missing seeing family and friends, just as the emails were being sent the Prime Minister was announcing that I would be able to do just that. Granted that still doesn’t include my parents as they are in Wales and more than five miles from the border but all in good time. On Sunday I was at my archery club which has just restarted and was talking to a couple who, before the pandemic, used to babysit my daughter once a week or so. I told them that we would be happy to host them in our garden and made tentative arrangements for this week. After we had finished chatting I went back to the shooting line and the archer next to me (seven metres distant and fully compliant with Archery GB rules) asked whether I was related to the couple in question. I replied no, that they are simply friends but that my daughter is a sort of surrogate granddaughter to them. She smiled and said “So they are family, the family you chose. That’s the best kind of family.” That got me thinking about how I am fortunate to have a good, strong family. We have had many problems, we often forget birthdays and we don’t see each other as much as we would like but on the whole, and remembering that no family is perfect, I would also choose the family that I was born into. As blessings go, that’s a big one. Sarah Guilfoyle, PCN AdministratorAmen.Eric Johnson, PCN Member