WHAT ARE WE SEEING? WHAT IS GOD SAYING TO US?
Each time we meet online with sisters and brothers around the Anglican Communion an implicit question arises: what is COVID-19 showing us about the world as it is and what is God telling us about the world as it could be?
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives his followers a powerful and radical image of the world transformed into the Kingdom of God. Jesus proclaims the blessings of God’s Kingdom and offers us a vision of our world redeemed by love.
The Beatitudes (Matthew 5: 1-12) have inspired, comforted and challenged Christians over the centuries, speaking afresh into each time. What do the Beatitudes say to us today in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic? What do the blessings tell us, singly and all together, about the Kingdom of God? For example, Jesus said ‘blessed are those who mourn’. This is a blessing for those who have been bereaved, but it is also a blessing on those who grieve in anguish about the injustices of the world, where the most vulnerable and marginalised are those who suffer most from the impact of the pandemic and other inequalities. And again, Jesus said ‘blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness’. At this time this is particularly a blessing for all those who stand in solidarity to see an end to racial injustice.
Our journey this past month with all those who, together, make up the Anglican Alliance has been intense, but also a profound privilege. We continue to connect frequently through regional online consultations across the Anglican Communion to hear from churches and agencies on how they are responding to COVID-19 and all its related challenges. In the articles below we highlight some of the many profound insights and lessons that we learn each day from Anglicans and Episcopalians across the world on how they are continuing to worship God and love their neighbours at this time – especially in loving and serving the most vulnerable and marginalised.
We have continued to develop our COVID-19 resource hub. Since our last briefing a range of new resources have been added, which we outline below. Please do visit this hub to see areas that are of use to you and please also share with others.
We also recognise that we are entering a new phase when the focus on controlling the health pandemic must also be connected with the deeper emergencies of our world – social, racial and economic injustices and the climate and ecological emergencies. We are beginning a conversation around the Anglican Alliance family on what kind of world we want to emerge from this crisis.
This extraordinary period is a time of great challenge and distress, but it is also a time for reimagining our world. What is God saying to us about the coming of the Kingdom here on earth at this time of pandemic and as we emerge into a changed world? May God’s Kingdom come, God’s will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Revd Canon Rachel Carnegie, Executive Director
Illustration by Bill Crooks
WHAT’S NEW ON THE COVID-19 RESOURCE HUB?
The following can all be found on the “COVID-19: how can churches respond?” pages of our resource hub.
Further Bible studies
A further three Bible studies have been added to our ‘Faith in the time of COVID-19’ series. These latest studies, beautifully illustrated by Bill Crooks, can be found here. They explore:
- Living in isolation: 1 Kings 16:29 – 18:1
- Turning fear to love (ending stigma): Luke 10: 30-37
- What is God showing us about his kingdom? Matthew 5: 1-12
The first 5 Bible studies are now available in Spanish, Portuguese, French and Arabic. The most recent ones will be translated and uploaded shortly.
Domestic abuse and COVID-19: how churches can respond
This major new resource has been written by Mandy Marshall, the Anglican Communion Office’s new Director for Gender Justice. With a foreword by The Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Domestic abuse and COVID-19: how churches can respond looks at: what the Bible says about domestic abuse; what domestic abuse is, how big a problem it is and its impacts; how COVID-19 has affected domestic abuse; practical actions church leaders and good neighbours can take to address domestic abuse; actions survivors can take; engaging men; actions repentant perpetrators can take; advocacy.The resource is currently being translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French and Swahili.
Impact of COVID-19 on refugees and migrants
Our resource COVID-19: impact on refugees and migrants looks at: how can churches respond? What are the main problems faced by migrant workers and refugees as a result of COVID-19? What could the impact of COVID-19 be on refugee and migrant worker populations? What is being done to help / what support is needed? How can churches support refugees and migrants during the pandemic?
Other practical guidance has been added on Caring for people with COVID-19, including looking after people who have COVID-19 at home.
There is also a new section on supporting people through dying and bereavement (towards the bottom of this page), with resources on:
Talking about death and dying: a page on conversations you might want – or need – to have which provides tips for helping to start the conversation and making it go well; ideas for some of the things you might want to think and talk about; and advice on talking to children about death and dying. It also has a going deeper section for professionals.
Palliative care: a page of information on providing end of life care. This has been written particularly for people with no experience.
When someone has died: a page of resources on handling the deceased with dignity and respect, safe funerals and alternative goodbyes (for when you can’t attend a funeral in person).
Bereavement and grief: our page on bereavement and grief has a selection of resources to help families who have been bereaved and the leaders who minister to them and a section on lessons learned about grief from faith responses to other epidemics.
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