Monday, January 29, 2018

Loneliness


   
Birthday celebration for Blanche at Friendship Coffee
The CBC news recently report that parliament in the UK has appointed a "Minister for Loneliness," following the report of the Jo Cox Commission that nine million people in the realm suffer from loneliness. 

     It may seems odd that a government tasked with national defence, public education, hospitals, roads, railways and a myriad of other large portfolios, would concern itself with the individual well-being of a few misfits in society.  Except, the number is in the millions and they aren't misfits or misanthropes.
   The elderly make up a good portion of the lonely. They've attended the funerals of most of their friends.  Their families have grown and left home.  Neighbours have moved to other parts of the country.  Gradually a senior's social circle shrinks to nothing.
    But seniors aren't the only ones at risk of loneliness. Teenagers who feel they don't fit in at school; university students who hide in a dorm room rather than face the sense of isolation they feel in the classroom; new parents overwhelmed with the needs of a baby and the loss of the work environment; empty-nesters; the unemployed; the disabled.  The face of loneliness is as varied as all of society.
    The growing phenomenon of loneliness has reached epidemic proportions on a global scale.  Experts believe it is responsible for as many deaths as obesity or smoking.  It has also been linked to increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. 

     The "cure" for loneliness lies in many areas--reconnect with nature, find a hobby, get a pet-- to name a few, but the most obvious solution is to connect with caring, engaged people.  That's where a congregation is your greatest resource. At SPPC we have whole committees devoted to ministering to the lonely.  We have hospital visitors, in-home visitors, prayer chain, Sunshine lunch, volunteer drivers, Bible Study, grief and loss support group, Friendship coffee--the list goes on.  
    Our church is open to the community in all these areas, but often people think our compassion is reserved for members of the congregation.  Not so.  To address this misconception, we are reaching out and advertising some regular events, offering a refuge for the lonely around us.

    The slogan attached to our mission statement includes, "a warm welcome awaits you."  The statement is true.  If you're feeling lonely, or even if you're not. come join us, for coffee, for worship, for study, and for friendship.


   







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