The Bredon Hill Group covers a number of villages around Bredon Hill.
With some of the parishes in vacancy, the Revd Allison Davies is covering a large area with mainly elderly congregations. She has been working to ensure as many people as possible remain connected to their church during the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Since going into lockdown, we’ve really just been trying to do the best that we can. With a number of different churches, we didn’t have lots of sets of information and contact details – it was a challenge to know how to reach people.
“Our first task was to set up village support networks for pastoral care. Our churchwardens co-ordinated lists using the electoral roll, with different people asked to telephone others regularly to make sure they were OK. We discovered there were already quite a few informal networks so we built on those.
“I then realised that we needed to try to get worship resources out to people and came up with the idea of putting together an email newsletter. This has turned into the Bredon Hill Group “Bulletin” and includes the lectionary readings, prayers and a short reflection from me. There is also a chattier section: ‘View from inside the vicarage’, where we signpost people to different resources. It is increasingly covering local news.
“The idea was to produce something simple that would involve the wider community. Our Easter edition included an Easter garden competition with a prize for adults and one for children; people sent me photos of their gardens. We also took part in the Easter ‘Sing Resurrection’ which saw many of us heading into our gardens at 10am on Easter Sunday to sing Jesus Christ is Risen Today and Thine Be the Glory.
“Each bulletin is produced towards the end of the week and sent out via email. It’s also posted onto local Facebook pages and our parish A Church Near You pages. Anyone is welcome to sign up and my distribution list is growing each week. Individual parishes have also been building on the idea as we get further into lockdown, continuing to produce their weekly pew sheet, or writing reflections and other pieces themselves; After all, we are all in this together and are just trying to reach out to the communities around us in whatever ways we can
“I have increasingly been putting more things online – recording A Morning Prayer service with a reflection for YouTube and A Church Near You and making my own Pascal candle; But the reality is that many of our older people are not on social media. Giving them a ring is still a great way to share Christian love into people’s homes – they’re really glad to have a short chat. There are lots of good online services out there for people to take part in if they want to and so I don’t feel pressure to do something similar. I’m getting lots of comments that the Bulletin is the best thing they’re receiving and they’re very grateful for it! Some have even reached as far as The Isle of Wight!”