Rev Karen Hendry is the minister of Yoker Parish Church in Glasgow. Her church is launching a new partnership-delivered friendship activity group called 'Friends in Yoker'.
The project was developed between Rev Karen Hendry and the North West Area Social Work Co-ordinator who had attended a seminar on loneliness. Aware of the need within the communities he worked within, he approached Karen and they agreed to look at developing something that might meet the need of those presently isolated and lonely, and those who are in danger of falling through the support networks.
No.1 Befrienders Agency are working with Friends in Yoker to provide training to volunteers. The hope is that the group will hold tea party style events to bring people together, but also have opportunities for meeting with people one-to-one where that would be more beneficial. If the pilot proves successful at Yoker Parish Church, the social work team hope to replicate the model across other areas of Glasgow.
Here, Rev Karen Hendry has written an Advent prayer on the theme of loneliness.
Call out to us from every bright corner,
loud music blaring forth a cheerful tune,
and people making plans for that time again.
Everyone seems so busy, busy, busy,
no time to slow down,
no time to be unseasonable at all.
Season’s greetings, they just make me want to greet sometimes,
for the relentless loneliness of it all.
Where O God, are you in all of this?
Where O God, I cry out, are you for me?
As my heart breaks I sense that You are there in this season of my living,
as you have been in every other season;
You connect the fragments of my emptiness
and fill them with a depth of joy that runs deeper
than any hustle or bustle that surrounds me.
I am thankful that you are indeed this season’s greeting in
my unseasonal times.