A message from our Minister, The Rev Dr Neil Dougall - February 2019

201902Mary’s life changed when she had a fall. After she’d had her hip replaced she made a good recovery. With support from the physios and the OT she was able to go back to her own home. She has, though, become housebound. She’s not able to go out on her own.

It’s been a big adjustment for Mary. All her life she’s been active. She was born with a determined and independent streak. Over the years she’s been involved in lots of different groups. She’s made many friends. In lots of quiet ways she’s made a huge contribution to the life of her community.

She’s struggled to accept that those days are over. She misses the contact and the stimulation. Every Monday she gets a DVD of the Sunday Service. She is able to worship God in her own home. What she can’t get is the warmth that comes from being with others in church on Sunday mornings.

Carers come twice a day. Friends phone. The trouble is, most of them are the same age as she is. All of them are realizing that their visiting days are over.

If you suspect you know who Mary is, you’re right and you’re wrong. Mary is not a single individual. On all our streets, Mary lives. The wonderful advances in medicine in the last decade mean that people are living longer, and are doing so in their own homes. It’s great that they can maintain their independence. It’s a tragedy that many feel isolated.

This presents challenges to our society. It also raises issues for us as a church. How are we to show God’s care to people in our community who are stuck in their homes? That’s such a big question, it’s probably best if we begin with something more manageable. How might we show God’s care to members of our church who can’t get out any more?

We’ve decided to see if we might be able to organise some befriending. We think it might be possible to pair up people in the church. The way it would work is that people who are active might volunteer to become befrienders. Then we would match them with one person who’s no longer active.

The befriender would then visit. They might visit once a week, or once a month. The visit might last anything from 20 minutes to an hour. They’re not volunteering to do jobs for the person, but to spend time chatting to them.

Befriending is not difficult. The clue is in the name. It is simply offering friendship to another person. That being said, society regards the people being visited as vulnerable. So we will give some training and are required to organise PVG clearance.

I think there are plenty people in our church who would be great at befriending. I’m sure they’d be happy to give an hour or two a month simply to pop in and chat to someone who can’t get out any more.

Even to your old age and grey hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4 )


When the signs of age begin to mark my body
(and still more when they touch my mind);
when the ill that is to diminish me or carry me off
strikes from without or is born within me;
when the painful moment comes
in which I suddenly awaken
to the fact that I am ill or growing old;
and above all at that last moment
when I feel I am losing hold of myself
and am absolutely passive within the hands
of the great unknown forces that have formed me;
in all those dark moments, O God,
grant that I may understand that it is you
(provided only my faith is strong enough)
who are painfully parting the fibres of my being
in order to penetrate to the very marrow
of my substance and bear me away within yourself.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.

Picture: Isle of Man Government, used under CC2.0 Licence.

To see other messages from Neil, click on the appropriate month in the table below.

December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 September 2019 October 2019 November 2019
Joomla Templates: by JoomlaShack