Faith Focus: Love and creativity in a crisis

Dennis Stamps of Harpenden

Dennis Stamps of Harpenden - Credit: Archant

Our weekly faith column looks at current affairs from a religious perspective.

Every crisis is an opportunity. Trite but true. And we are seeing that in the crisis of this worldwide pandemic.

Unfortunately, some are using it as an opportunity for ill. Scams preying especially on the elderly and vulnerable have emerged. But on the other hand, people have seized this calamity as a chance to do good and be creative.

In Harpenden, as soon as the lockdown began, Cllr Mary Maynard with others mobilised the town council, local charities, agencies, and churches to come together to form Harpenden Cares. It provides assistance to any who call in or email requesting help. They also support neighbourhood initiatives. Projects like this have happened across the area, the nation and the world.

Equally, every church in Harpenden quickly identified the vulnerable and elderly in their congregations. Then they solicited volunteers, insuring they had appropriate safeguarding checks.

Volunteers were given a set of names to contact. Some volunteers deliver groceries and medicines. Others make regular telephone calls just to ease the loneliness.

And such goodness is not only in the churches, but neighbourhoods have done the same. There has been a real outpouring of kindness. People coming together to love their neighbour.

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One of the most interesting opportunities has been the creative dimension. Who hasn’t watched one of the videos on YouTube or Facebook where people have put COVID situation words to old songs and made us smile?

The internet is awash in creative learning, art, keep fit - all manner of positive input for children and adults to help us while we are cooped up in our homes and flats. Churches and choirs are using technology so that they can record individuals singing at home a song or hymn and then combine it to make a single recording of blended voices.

Our Easter service ended with the choir and members of the congregation blended to sing the Halleluiah Chorus. It was amazing.

As children of God, a crisis is an opportunity to let the creativity and the love of God shine through us to make our home, our town, our world a better place.

Canon Dennis Stamps is Rector of the Parish of Harpenden, a single parish with three churches.