When I needed a neighbour
Loneliness is a chronic condition that can strike us, whatever our age, whatever our income, wherever we live. For some, it may last for only a short period of time, for others of us, it may last years. There have been many studies showing how it affects health, both mental and physical. It also erodes community, as people withdraw and the community loses their skills, resources and contributions.
We are running a digital campaign in the run up to Valentines Day, from 8-14 February, using the words of the song When I needed a neighbour to show how loneliness can affect all of us – and that as Christians, God’s love is there for us in our darkest and loneliest moments. We hope people will use the hashtag #wereyouthere to share stories of reaching out, of sharing the love more widely – or simply to say thank you to those who were there for them.
In many areas of Devon and the UK, the Church is responding to the challenge and reaching out to those in need of friendship. The Church is still at the centre of many communities, and in some rural areas it is often the only public space where people can come together. Many of our churches offer groups and space for people of all ages and backgrounds to meet, to make friends, to hear each others’ story. Some of the projects underway can be found on the Serving with Joy page of this website.
“The solitary human being is a contradiction in terms. We are created for a delicate network of relationships, of interdependence with our fellow human beings… We belong in one family – God’s family, the human family… the greatest good is communal harmony.” Desmond Tutu