Alice Ruhindi from St John, Catford, writes…

The Woolwich Area Lay Conference far exceeded my expectations. Since lockdown, it was the first time I got to see so many people gathered remotely. As people started joining the morning Zoom session, I was filled with joy as numbers kept going up. To see familiar faces and also meet new people in break-out rooms and workshops was a blessing. Singing while muted on Zoom felt strange initially but once I started, I forgot that I was muted.

I was inspired by the keynote speaker Mark Greene who said that we should make a difference wherever we are. I am interested in his book Fruitfulness on the Frontline and I am sure it will become very useful source of material for group study at St John The Baptist, Catford.

I was encouraged by discussions in the grandparenting workshop which I led. We attempted to look for ways in whichwe could support grandchildren whose parents did not go to church. Although this is not always easy, we agreed that we could work with parents by encouraging and supporting them rather than imposing. Be available to introduce the grandchildren to church if parents do not object. Pray for the grandchildren and maintain contact and dialogue.

Ivan Ibuno from Holy Trinity, Rotherhithe, writes…

Saturday 6 March 2021 will indeed be marked as a blessed unique day in the Woolwich Episcopal Area in the uncertain times in which we find ourselves. A period in the Christian calendar when we stop to reflect and do all we can to renew our minds to grow in our understanding of God. The Lay Conference themed around “Everyday Faith” was just the right subject matter to encourage us as Christians, and for me it further reminds me to do all that is possible to let the light of Christ within shine daily.

The conference was well planned and well received going by the number of persons who attended. The day started with Bishop Christopher leading us in an act of worship, then we had our keynote speaker who talked about “God in Your Everyday Life”. This was delivered powerfully to inspire and reinforce the love of God for all people. The conference ended with an act of worship and blessing from Bishop Karowei.

I was humbled to have led one of the 15 workshops, my subject matter “Black Lives Matter”. The workshop was well attended and participation encouraging as we all agreed amongst other ideas about how to approach this relevant but still sensitive subject that it is not OK to be quiet but as Christians we need to be aware of the need to be aware that inasmuch as all lives matter the “black race” still cries out that their lives matter.

The question then is, if we believe that we are all created in the image of God then it is not OK to have part of the human race cry out that their lives matter as they are marginalised. So, how as Christians can we show practically how we are going about ensuring this plays out in our daily lives and Church? We used John 13.34, “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you, and that you also love one another” as our guiding scripture for the workshop.

The message, going forward, is that it is hoped that we will stand with those who experience racism and speak out against this injustice by the “special grace of God” and come to understand that we have been given power to not just create, but effect change in our lives and Church.

Read more about the Woolwich Area Lay Conference in April’s Bridge newspaper.