Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
If any of you have ever had the task of applying for a grant you will no doubt have been asked to describe the needs of the area and how you (the church) intend to meet them.
Most Christian service begins with meeting the needs that are seen in others. This could be a project that works with carers and toddlers, asylum seekers, homeless people, young people, those with addictions – the list goes on. Some who have been involved in such projects would argue that the key to their success is the listening to and building of meaningful relationships with people to discover what their real issues are. In fact, some would say that the relationships are an end in themselves.
When I was asked at the beginning of a particular ministry what services we wanted to deliver, I responded that we were not in the business of providing services. Rather we were wanting to create a space where we could connect with others as human beings – human beings who were equal to us. Then as we get to know each other, and as our confidence grows, we can encourage each other and with the help of the Holy Spirit try and discover solutions to the problems.
To quote the words of Deacon Eunice Attwood, the Methodist Church’s Church at the Margins Officer:
STOP Stop believing we know the answers to other people’s needs. LOOK Find out what others are doing to challenge injustice and join in. LISTEN Connect to people and listen to the voices and wisdom of our communities. LEARN Be willing to be taught by others, recognising the gifts within the community.
Caring Jesus Help us to listen to those we are wanting to help, To those who feel excluded and separated from their communities. Remind us that they are your voice and words for us today. Amen
Marie Trubic is a Church Related Community Worker in the Priesthill and Shawlands project in Glasgow.