Thought For The Week - 27-03-23
‘God sets the lonely in families’
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Family, a word that means very different things to different people. For some, that word sparks joy, happy memories, perhaps recent times or times gone by. For others, it is not a joyful word and can bring about painful thoughts and emotions. For some, family means those that we are related to, for others, it is those we choose to be our family. However we understand family, we all need people around us to have fun with, laugh with but also to walk alongside us in the difficult times. A common phrase we use in my church is to ‘do life with’ and we need people to ‘do life with’.
We often talk about all the church schools in our Diocese as the ‘church school family’ and this is something we, as the education team, truly mean. We see ourselves as part of this family: we love to support you in any way we can, celebrate your joys and walk alongside you in the difficult times. Whenever I come to visit a school, I always feel welcomed as part of the family, which is a great privilege.
However, we know that not everyone feels part of a family, or that you can belong to a family and still feel lack of support or loneliness. Statistics show that loneliness is a growing epidemic and it’s not just about people being on their own. Loneliness is as much about being surrounded by people and feeling isolated. It can be related to poor mental health, struggling to cope with life or not being able to relate to those around you (https://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/the-facts-on-loneliness/)
The first part of Psalm 68:6 shows that God does not want anyone to feel this way. To be lonely or isolated is not God’s will for us. God’s greatness can be seen in His compassionate concern and care for those who are in need and lonely. There are many verses in the Bible that show God asking his people to care for the needy, marginalised and disadvantaged, something you as church schools do so well (and increasingly more of). As part of this week’s thought for the week, I wanted to introduce you to an organisation called Safe Families, an organisation recognising the need in families and supporting them in lots of different ways. They are living out Psalm 68:6 by putting people in families, making sure those that need support get it.
No one should feel alone. Facing life alone is hard, and when you feel there is no one there to support you, it is a scary place to be. At Safe Families, we exist to create relationship and connection because everyone deserves to belong. We offer support, hope and belonging to improve the lives of those in our communities by linking children, young people and families with local volunteers who can offer them help and support.
We currently partner with over 35 Local Authorities, as well as a small number of Multi Academy Trusts, to identify families most at need who can be helped and supported by trained and equipped volunteers.
We have different types of volunteers: Family Friends who work directly with families, coming alongside and giving support to parents and children when they need it most, making sure they feel less isolated; Host Families who open their homes to look after children from a night or two up to a couple of weeks, giving a regular break and space to families dealing with issues or challenges; Resource Friends who are able to provide (or transport) useful items, such as a cot or children’s clothing, as well as those with helpful skills, such as cooking or gardening.
At the heart of all we do at Safe Families is the desire for families to feel seen, heard and understood. We want to break the cycle of loneliness, isolation and overwhelm, so that families can flourish and thrive.
We are thrilled to be having conversations with Safe Families from Lincoln, but working across the geographical region of the diocese, to see how they can work to support your school and your families. If you would like more information please do head to their website, https://safefamilies.uk/. I would also be like to hear from any school that would be interested in find out more about the organisation and how they can work with your school or MAT.
As part of our church school family, we would love to invite you to come and be part of our Leadership Conference, this invite is for Headteachers, Senior Leaders, Chair of Governors and clergy. It is a day to hear from national speakers to inspire, challenge and encourage you in your work. There will also be opportunity to network with other leaders in our church school family. To book and for more information please use the following link
from Lynsey Norris, Assistant Diocesan Director of Education