Good News Stories - Edition One

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In this time of much challenge, sadness and grief, we also want to remember the good news stories and positive things which are happening throughout our communities. Below are a short collection of some of these positive stories.

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Photo by Alyssa Stevenson on Unsplash

Good News Stories

Appreciating Nature

A number of people have been in touch with us about the positive impact that they have noticed in the natural world due to the decrease in polution, traffic and general human busyness in the world. There has been much joy found in spending time in gardens, actually watching nature grow and emerge in Spring, listening to the birds. This has helped people overcome the sadness at not being able to travel to some of their other favourite spots.

Heather and Ben, from Selly Oak Methodist Church, wrote into us with the following thought:

There has been some recent news coverage about nature particularly wildlife taking advantage of the quietness. Goats from the Great Orme in Llandudno are running around the town centre eating the gardens and whales close to coast lines.

Last night as Ben and I returned from our daily walk a badger ran across the lane in front of us and into the undergrowth to the side of Hay Green Methodist Church. Never before have we seen a live badger only what they do or when they have been run over.

It made our evening and In amongst all of the sad news around at present it lovely to see the wildlife out and about.

Thank you to Heather and Ben, as well as the many others on Social Media and elsewhere who have been drawing our attention to the natural world at this time.

Zoom Prayer Meetings

We saw in their most recent newsletter that Dorridge Methodist Church are holding their prayer meetings online, as indeed are many, and we are encouraged at how so many people are engaging with new virtual forms of meeting, especially the effort and bravery of those for whom it is a bold new world of learning and stress. Seeing familiar faces and hearing familiar voices has been such an encouragement to so many and we're hearing very positive things from those who have engaged with these meetings.

Sign Posting Websites and Communications

We're really grateful to all those who are busy signposting folk in our churches to the various different types of communication out there at this time. Reverend Mike Claridge has developed a particularly good set of resources on his website which you can find here, and we've also been very impressed with the quality of the communications from many of our other churches which we've seen, with many communications volunteers clearly having put a great deal of time and love into their work. This communicaitons work is so vital at the moment, please don't forget to show your appreciation to those who are working so hard, especially those who do so voluntarily.

Helpful thoughts and letters

As you will be aware, our Superintendents are themselves writing thoughts each week, read the latest here, but there are so many others who are writing helpful and thoughtful words at this time. See below a Tweet sharing a letter by Reverend Mindy Bell, the Methodist Chaplain at the University of Birmingham.

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Helpful Contemplative Material from Chaplaincy Plus

In recent months, Chris Whittingham, Partner and Head of Education Law at Anthony Collins Solicitors, has been providing regular meditation sessions in the city centre. These have recently gone online and are a great resource for those who find meditation helpful. Click here to hear the latest meditation.

You might also find some of the meditations from Leeds Methodist Mission helpful in the same way. Click here for a list of their recent reflections.

New Ways of Socializing

We also recognise the many different ways in which people are continuing to maintain social contact in these trying times. Tom Milton, our Communications Officer, shares some of the ways he has been doing this in recent weeks.

This difficult time in which we find ourselves is a challenge, it sits heavily on me and I think it'd be fair to say that I'm still learning to adapt and process the range of emotions which are involved in coping well with it. Practically it has required adaptation too and I'd like to share a few different ways in which this has happened in our family life to encourage you all to step out and be creative in looking after your own wellbeing and that of others.

Early on in the beginning of this, once the rush of adapting work had happened, we reflected as a family to think about how we might continue to stay in touch with people. There were some easy wins, we video call with our parents regularly, often while our children are finishing their evening meal, but there are also some more intentional ways in which we've tried to support our own wellbeing and that of others.

We moved our bible study group online and now meet virtually every Wednesday instead of in person. Just this last week we've worked out how to get reasonable sound so that we can involve music (you have to tinker with the sound dampening and mute everybody else to stop them coming back as an offputting echo, even if they're good singers), we've worked out ways of sharing and praying, and we've even had increased engagement from our mission partners in South Africa at a time when they need our prayer more than even we do.

We have created opportunity for positive moments, creating a WhatsApp group for film nights every Friday, we jointly pick a film and then all press play at the same time. It allows us to focus socially on something different than 'The Virus which shall not be named', a banned topic in the group.

I've also noticed the need as an extrovert to make sure I'm staying social. One evening I had a wonderful conversation with a friend whilst led outside on a seat, wrapped up warm, looking at the stars. The city is so quiet and peaceful at night at the moment. I've also made sure that I'm touching base regularly, both within work and without, with people to energise me and bring out the best in me. All of these moments and contact points have become ever important as I now spend most of my day either in solitude in our little office at home working, or in chaotic play with two small children. I didn't realise how much I would miss my 'bus friends', the people with whom I get the bus most mornings, or my wonderful work colleagues and those who work at The Church at Carrs Lane, with whom I share life and whose passing conversation and laughter supported me more than I knew.

I want to encourage everyone, in your own way, to be creative both in your own self care and in the ways that you support those around you. It is in the little things which I am seeing the biggest impact at the moment.

More Stories Soon

Thank you to everybody who has contributed to the stories above. We'll share another edition once we've had chance to collate them, please send in your stories.

The Circuit Communication Team.

 

Good News Stories - Edition One