40acts day 14

Act 14: Befriend
by Dan Hames
The vulnerable, lost and lonely are all around us but easily slip under the radar. Today, let’s forego the chance to chat with those we’re familiar with and instead focus on someone new. Look out for the newcomer or the one hovering on the fringes. We’re sending a message, loud and clear: I noticed you. God sees you. You matter.

“rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness”.
Philippians 2:7 (NIV)

Choose how to complete this act…
GREEN OPTION:Go out of your way to strike up a conversation with someone who is new or somebody you haven’t noticed before.
AMBER OPTION:If a new person has joined your church or school or workplace, invite them along to something and check how they are settling in.
RED OPTION: Determine to befriend someone on the fringes and help them feel that they belong for the long-term.

I went into school for a session with year 11 pupils and took in some chocolates and a card for a group of staff that I know are under stress at the moment. The card said I was praying for them. When I was speaking to the pupils as well as saying I was there as chaplain to offer spiritual, religious and pastoral support, I told them that I prayed for them and especially for those who were in detention (the lists are sent out daily with staff bulletin emails which I receive). I explained that they were perhaps in need of prayer if their behaviour wasn’t good – a sign that things weren’t quite right in their lives. So I have committed publicly to praying for them which means I had better keep up the prayer! I know that studies have shown that people who are prayed for in hospital do better than those who are not prayed for. Therefore praying for troubled pupils should make a difference. We will see.

Today I attended a Community of Chaplains day. It was good to network and meet chaplains from various places – school, hospital, workplace, prison etc. When I arrived there were only 2 others already in the room. I stared to chat with one but as other people arrived I realised there was one person sitting on her own looking rather uncertain and nervous. So I went over to her and sat down. It turns out that she is in her first year of being ordained and so very new to being a chaplain in her workplace. We chatted for a while and I reassured her that she wasn’t the only person there for the first time. She settled down and fully participated in discussions. Overall, a very enjoyable day. I am glad I went. We had communion in the middle of the day, presided over by the Bishop of Lichfield. It seemed a little odd not receiving the wine as well as the wafer – due to the Coronavirus guidelines – but not enough to spoil it.

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