All public services in Tower Hamlets circuit are currently suspended
See Worship at Home and Prayer & Meditation for alternative resources
YourNeighbour.org is a network of over 1000 churches from over 40 denominations (including the Methodist Church). They coordinate a UK church response to the Covid-19 crisis working with churches, the Government and the NHS.
Together Apart - a new free resource from youthscape.co.uk is a short series of curriculum resources enabling you to explore life and faith with young people, and is designed specifically for use in the context of an online youth work session.
There are live events which then become videos and can be watched anytime.
These are well presented and informative. Have a look?
TOWER HAMLETS INTER-FAITH FORUM
Monday 1st June, 2pm – 4pm
The next meeting of the local forum will be on-line, by Zoom. Everyone is welcome to join the discussion:
- How has your organisation fared during the lockdown?
- What have been your biggest challenges?
- How are you planning for the future and any issues that may arise?
Rev Alan Green, Chair of THIFF
Mayor John Biggs, Tower Hamlets Council
PC Rich Poolman, Metropolitan Police
The Bishop of Stepney, Venerable Dr Joanne Woolway Grenfell, will also be in attendance. There will be an opportunity to put questions to the Mayor. PC Poolman will provide an update on hate crime, along with an overview of the police’s work during the crisis. There will be an opportunity for some questions to him too. (Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 25 May).
18th – 24th May – Mental Health Awareness Week
The special week may have ended, but the ideas behind it remain true.
Perhaps we can begin to look forward to some normality in the coming weeks.
We are creeping in the right direction, one small step at a time.
The theme this year is kindness. Never has there seemed a more appropriate theme. We’ve all seen such amazing acts of kindness during this very difficult and challenging time:- NHS and social care frontline workers, council workers and local people going above and beyond to show kindness, compassion and support. The value of kindness is unquantifiable; it can feel really rewarding to put ourselves out a little to help someone else, and receiving kindness from others is special. In the current circumstances particularly, we should also make sure we are being kind to ourselves.
There is much to challenge and test us at the moment, so it’s vital we look after our mental as well as our physical health. I encourage everyone to do one kind thing for yourself every day this week (and keep it going if you can!). This can be anything from having a nice relaxing bath, listening to favourite music for half an hour, going for a walk and being in nature, writing in a journal, reading, cooking a nice meal. Another challenge alongside the theme of kindness is to do 30 minutes of movement each day – this could be tidying up your flat or joining the Zacchaeus Pilates zoom session! Or, if you are able to go out, taking a safe walk and enjoying the sun.
The most important thing is to look after ourselves, body and mind, so we can help others too as best we can. I hope you get to give and receive kindness this week.
Band for Life project leader
14th May News From The Zacchaeus Project
The small steps towards easing the lockdown that the government announced earlier this week will have come as welcome news to people. It’s encouraging that the protective measures being taken to keep ourselves and others safe have meant that these first steps can now be taken. Here at The Zacchaeus Project the centre remains closed in line with the government guidelines, but we are continuing to support our members remotely and are still available for advice and guidance, or for a chat.
Several members have been enjoying Adina’s online Pilates class on Wednesdays at 11am via Zoom, and if anyone else would like to give this a go then please let us know. This class is free of charge and is open to any member, including people who don’t usually attend the class at The Zacchaeus Project.
For those of you who are looking for other practical ways to stay busy, the government is now suggesting that people wear face coverings in enclosed spaces where social distancing may not be possible, e.g. public transport and shops (though this is not currently mandatory). There are plenty of tips available online for making one’s own face covering, including some without any need for sewing. BBC hints
12th May The end of the beginning, though not yet the beginning of the end
The freedom to go for a longer walk, outside your own gates, is a welcome start. On Monday, the queue for the Post Office (which has been empty most of the time for the last weeks) stretched right across Chrisp Street Market Place. There were no stalls there, to be in the way! Every shop that remains open had a well-spaced queue snaking around outside. So many who have been unable to go out are emerging into the daylight. Maybe this limited release will be enough to help us carry on a bit longer.
30th April TOWER HAMLETS INTER-FAITH FORUM writes:
People of all faiths, and those of none, are now required to follow new guidance and restrictions to reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19. This is most apparent when we cannot visit loved ones in hospital, be with them at the time of death or hold funerals as we would wish them to be. We all share this pain.
In these circumstances, local faith, health, council, funeral, mortuary and other partners are working together to ensure that families are supported to the best of our abilities if they experience a COVID-19 related death. Read more
Bow Food Bank (update 9th May)
The foodbank is working from Bromley-By-Bow Community Centre, St Leonard’s Street, E3 3BT
The local food band is now distributing approximately three times the amount of food and toiletries compared with before the crisis began. This has been possible thanks to the logistical support given by the council, the collaboration with other partners, the generosity of donors, and the ingenuity of different members of the management team in finding sources of bulk supplies. Read more
Six weeks in, it's not easy at all, is it?
It's really starting to bite. This is what living with long term mental illness can be like; anxious about staying in; anxious about going out; paranoid about people in the street or shops; terrified of illness or death - it's all there, very sobering. Sarah (Band for Life) recommends less constant exposure to News and worrying discussion, replaced by therapy of doing one nice thing for yourself each day. Add an extra phone call, email or prayer for someone else's well-being, too?
A support service for residents of Tower Hamlets
TOWER Hamlets Talking Therapies has now moved online and is able to offer support to all residents over 18 who would benefit from some support during this pandemic. They offer free 1:1 online and phone support for anxiety, depression, stress, worrying thoughts, sleep difficulties, dealing with long-term health conditions, etc. They have specific programmes tailored to the current COVID-19 situation and how to manage self-isolation. They are also offering their wellbeing workshops as webinars. These can be arranged for a group at a time that suits everyone, and a topic that you can choose.
Please go to website or contact 0208 475 8080.
we enter another week on lockdown, Band for Life members are coping as best
they can, but it’s a challenge for everyone to cope with forced isolation. People are really valuing the support calls
Sarah is making, keeping everyone in the loop about each other and making sure
people know there is help available. With people spending a lot of time alone, it
can be difficult not to watch the news too much or get drawn into the various
theories and debates about how this situation has arisen; so one thing we are
trying to do is to encourage people to limit the amount of news we watch and to
do one nice thing for ourselves each day, as a way of trying to look after our
mental health too, whilst we wash our hands and do all the things we need to
protect our physical health. One question constantly asked is “when we will
be able to do music again”, and the answer is we really don’t know, but we hope
that this difficult time will pass soon.
The Whitechapel mission is continuing to serve a cooked breakfast to the homeless and hungry every single day. We are seeing many new faces from different parts of London as most other places are now closed. Please will you will hold the staff in your prayers as they are working very hard to meet the needs of our guests. And for the guests themselves, as they cope with the fallout from corona virus lock-down
From the Zacchaeus team:
Our members are taking the government guidelines on board; feedback we’ve had is that although lock down can be frustrating, people appreciate the need to take preventative measures to keep themselves and others safe. Where possible, members are going out for exercise and occasional shopping trips, and we’ve spoken to people unable to leave their homes who are being supported by friends, family and neighbours. Our staff (including volunteers) are keen to help as much as possible, and we encourage people to contact us if they need any help, or just for a chat. We are still supporting people with general advice queries, though at the moment this is via phone or email.
Debbie and Louise are working remotely and can be contacted by email, by the usual phone number, 0208 983 1568, and by text or Whatsapp on 07712 32324. See Zacchaeus website .
Help when someone dies
When someone you love dies, saying goodbye in some formal way is important. With the current restrictions on movement in place, it may not be possible to attend a funeral. To help you say your formal goodbyes whilst in your home, see here
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Government Website
Further government advice and guidance on the virus
Lucia writes that, speaking to many in the Circuit, she has been struck and awed by the number that come in the "Hidden low-pay Hero" category. You are playing your part in keeping Britain running and helping others, showing love for your neighbours (both those up the street and in the Biblical sense).
Jesus bids us shine, with a pure, clear light
Like a little candle burning in the night.
In this world of darkness, so we must shine -
You in your small corner, and I in mine!
Council Hotline for people particularly vulnerable to coronavirus 020 7364 3030
Line Open: Monday–Friday 8am - 8pm, Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm
Tower Hamlets Council has a phone line to support residents who have been identified as being extremely vulnerable and at the highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19
This number is for Tower Hamlets residents, their families or their carers to let the council know if they have any urgent requirements. The line can also be used to discuss any concerns around social isolation and help people may need with food supplies, access to medication or worries about debt for example. It can also be used by other vulnerable residents that need help during this difficult time, including the very elderly, people with disabilities or those self-isolating with underlying health conditions.
For more information, please visit the council website Check again later for important updates and developments.
Contact with the circuit office is now on this number: 07545 445217
The Whitechapel Mission has now suspended all volunteering and outside service provision. The current evaluation of risk is that people should not be travelling to the Mission unless absolutely essential. Food is the highest priority for those sleeping on our streets. Warm clothing, medical attention and support must be sustained as long as possible.
We recognise that we offer services through our projects to some of the most vulnerable people in our community. This means that we will continue to offer reassurance and support through providing our daily breakfast at Whitechapel Mission. Whitechapel Mission is managing to maintain its breakfast service and material support through the commitment and determination of our staff team, for which we continue to give thanks.
The Mission remains Open and Serving
From the Superintendent (March 25th)
Our wonderful Circuit staff team have spent the past 10 days trying to respond and react to a very different pattern of life; one where most of the usual ways of doing things has to be different. One of the hardest challenges is to be separated from people – from those we want to celebrate the joys of life with – from those we want to hug and console at life’s challenges and disappointments. Although the physical separation is very real, it does not mean we have to accept all the limitations. Please use whatever means you can to stay in touch – with our church, with each other and with God.
You know that, as Paul writes, “ For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-9.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ.
Whatever you do, may your time be blessed with the knowledge that God is with you in Christ Jesus – now and always.
Lucia Banks, our new Lay Pastoral Worker, has started work with us
Lucia is getting in touch with members and friends in the Circuit, focusing her efforts on getting to know the congregations and staff - by phone and video call. I am you sure you will join me in giving Lucia a really warm welcome.
Grace and Peace John
A reflection from the superintendent minister (22nd March)
ONE thing we can all do is to continue to pray - pray for our churches, our churches’ work, our families and friends, our neighbours and those who persecute us. Please take care of yourselves, follow good advice (medical and spiritual!) and let us know if you need help. One thing that almost all of us have, and will have, is access to a phone. At the beginning of Philippians, Paul speaks of being ‘imprisoned for Christ’. Although we are not actually imprisoned, I am acutely aware of how important physical connection is to us all. It seems as if we will have to live our lives with restrictions and challenges, some of which are like being under house arrest. Perhaps as Christians we will all need to take a lead from Paul’s perseverance and faith and, as we adapt to these new circumstances, my prayer is that we will continue to rejoice, speak with boldness and proclaim Christ with love. – with grace and peace to you all, the Rev'd John Hayes
Health Advice (21st March)
The national government website, WHO and BBC websites are being kept up to date with the latest news and advice on the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation and how to protect yourselves. Please look here for health advice rather than on social media; while social media is a very useful way for people to stay in touch and support each other, there is a lot of unverified information and fake news circulating on some of the sites.
Announcement from Circuit (17th March)
(See Methodist website) We are suspending all worship services, groups, meetings and activities where people gather together in our churches. We shall support people through phone calls and help whilst the suspension remains in place. Pastoral care will be offered by phone, email and appropriate social media. We encourage everyone to advise us of anyone who needs help, especially the vulnerable or self-isolating.
Andrew Brown, Circuit Executive Officer. John Hayes, Superintendent Minister
Charity Number 1134888