Building lasting relationships
The Growing Good Toolkit has helped the congregation of a church in Bristol to recognise they had persevered in being present to the local community through a difficult time.
Rev Clive Hamilton, who became vicar of St Barnabas’ Church in Knowle West in January, said that many people in the congregation were frail and after volunteering, shielding, or suffering illness during the pandemic, felt a considerable fatigue. The church had been in an interregnum during the pandemic, the previous incumbent having left due to poor health.
However in the last year the church has begun hosting a food bank, a monthly Messy Church and a Warm Space café. In Lent it ran the Growing Good course, which attracted people who came to the café as well as congregation members.
“Recognising the perseverance behind the activities that have created stepping stones for people at St Barnabas has been important. We can see how, as people have made a connection with us through these activities, they have become present with us just as much as we have been present with them; new lasting relationships and community have been built.”
“I think it is by maintaining an open conversation and acknowledging the tiredness and challenges, that we begin to work through these things and can continue to be present with people.