The Coronavirus is affecting people from all walks of life, including the new Family Worker at Trinity URC, Wigan.

Ruth Parker tells her story 

The first of March had arrived. I had spent the two previous weeks relaxing and visiting friends and family. I was ready to go. Start a new job, a new challenge. For the first couple of weeks, things were pretty much as I expected, going to visit the groups that met in church. Getting my work area at home organised.

Then the world tilted. We had known it would be coming but were trying to hang on to the last bits of normality, do the last big shop, some taking that rather too literally. In all this, my grand plans as the new Family Worker suddenly came to an abrupt halt. Starting with the postponement of ‘Aladdin’. Coronavirus – the biggest social diary clearer in recent history.  

Think outside the box

Boy showing activitiesIn reality though, it has been an opportunity to think outside the box, learn new skills and most importantly, new ways of communicating. After all, this was going to be the way to keep the church family together, and hopefully to reach out to those who have not yet found us. So I looked at updating the Church Facebook pages – Trinity players have one too. Then we thought about how to cheer the younger member of our community up. We put together some Holy Week activity bags, with a craft activity for each day during Holy week. Early Palm Sunday morning these were placed in the Peace Garden and by lunchtime they had all gone. Our actions were being watched too. More than 800 people viewed my post advertising the bags online. Our positive message being read by others.

On Good Friday, the children received an emailed quiz to complete giving them clues as to where to find some Easter eggs on Easter Sunday.

After the success of the Holy week bags, we discussed a Spring Bag full of activities and a St George’s day quiz. These were put out on the 19 April and were all gone by the afternoon.

A young girl with her activityIt is also important to remember and stay in contact with those younger members in our community who are at Sixth Form, University or working on the frontline as Key workers either in the NHS or Education. I keep in contact with these young people to assure them of our prayers in an uncertain and frightening time.

It has been a pleasure to assist in the production of online services, either reading or playing the piano. Again, these services have reached a wide audience into the hundreds. The pantomime rehearsals have continued for the adults online, so that we are ready when the time comes. We have kept in touch with our younger actors via email too.

I’m sure that we have all realised things about ourselves during this time of lockdown. For me it has been how much I need social interaction with others, and how much I need my family! Sometimes, it has been easy to feel frightened and wonder if there will be an end to this. I have been reminded of the prayer of St Teresa of Avila. It is a simple prayer but has kept me focussed that we will come out on the other side, changed for the better as a world, I hope.

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things will pass away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.