STEPH SAMBIDGE

There are many ways that I have seeing God in our community during this pandemic.
Every phone call someone has made to a friend, neighbour or even a stranger via a befriending service and asked “how are you, is there anything you need?”
A simple friendly face with an ‘hello’ in the supermarket queue could make someone’s day.
How many of us stood outside on a Thursday night at 8pm and clapped for the NHS and our key workers. I certainly did and through this I got to meet new neighbours and chat to them  - at a safe distance of course!
Through our church community we have delivered Christmas cards, newsletters, order of services for those not online and recently, palm crosses to those unable to collect one from outside church.
We have also shared prayer time and have light a candle to show support to a very dear family of Short Cross Methodist Church.For me these are definitely examples of God at work in each of us.

However, one example stands out for me and that is our toddler group at Short Cross. We started Wesleys about 2 years ago and little did we know the impact this would have on our local community of Halesowen.
Very quickly a strong bond of friendship, knowledge and experience was shown on a Tuesday morning. It was a pleasure to be part of such an inspiring group of parents, carers and volunteers. When we knew that we wouldn’t be able to stay open because of the pandemic it was devastating for everyone. Fortunately we had already set up a WhatsApp group so we could all keep in touch or ask questions during the week. This became a lifeline for everyone, photos of the children are shared every Tuesday (the day we meet) so we could all watch the children grow and develop. We have shared 1st, 2nd, 3rd and even 4th birthdays together.

There have also been some difficult times for one particular parent who was experiencing some domestic issues. Because of the bond we had made she felt able to privately reach out to me for help. I was able to talk to her confidentiality and give her advice and offer contacts for more professional support.

Finally, as I sat down to write this, the door bell rang? I wasn’t expecting anyone, who could it be?
A lot of you know how important our holiday club is in the summer school holidays is at reaching out the the young people in our community and sharing Gods love for them through craft, dance and song, puppets and of course lots of fun!
I have a friend who has a lovely son and  I have a soft spot for him.  Sadly she doesn’t have close family near by so a few years ago I thought I would help out with childcare during the 6 weeks break and would also introduce him to ‘holiday club’ at the same time! He loved it and has taken on board the message of Gods love for him. Well, this is what was being delivered - a hand made Easter card beautifully coloured in. It made me so happy.