Church and Community in Service
Amidst all the hardships of the Covid-19 lockdown, there have been many shining examples of people reaching out to people; one such was the Linlithgow Coronavirus Support service. St Michael’s played a leading role in setting up the service and managing it, but it was a true partnership project involving all the main churches in the town as well as Linlithgow Community Development Trust and the Community Council.
Twice a day, 7 days a week for 20 weeks, a team of coordinators responded to calls for help from local people. There was a marvellous response from the community, and 120+ local volunteers signed up to help. Around 90 grocery shopping trips were arranged and nearly 80 prescriptions delivered, with other callers wanting advice, or personal support, or simply the reassurance of knowing the service was there to help if required.
A big thank you goes to St Michael’s finance team, who promptly reimbursed the volunteer shoppers, and then recouped the cost from the recipient. With the lockdown easing, the service has now ‘paused’, but it was a real example of the church and community pulling together and sincere thanks are due to all the many volunteers who so willingly gave of their time to help.
Disaster in Beirut
The statistics on the effects of the massive explosion in Beirut are grim enough – more than 100 dead, 300,000 homes destroyed and more than 5,000 injured. But this is in a country with a failing government and a huge refugee crisis as well as the Covid-19 pandemic. Three hospitals were destroyed, as was a massive silo containing 85% of the country’s grain supplies.
The Church of Scotland partners National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL) responded immediately, as did Embrace the Middle East and Christian Aid, with emergency supplies, mobilising volunteers to remove rubble and finding temporary shelters for families.
Please remember the people of Beirut, the organisations bringing relief, the Lebanese government and international commitment to help in the aftermath of this catastrophic disaster.