Blessing of care workers spreads around the diocese

BISHOP Ruth has been offering socially distanced blessing for staff and residents in local care homes as part of a campaign to draw attention to the commitment and work of care home staff and care staff working in the community

She has invited fellow clergy and Christians around Somerset to support her by blessing and praying for their own local care home staff and residents and all working in social care.

Among those offering blessings has been Rev James Harris, in Long Ashton, and Rev Anne-Marie Bird, who shares at holy communion at The Chocolate Quarter home in Keynsham, with pastoral coordinator Lisa Loveridge.

On Friday 26 June, Bishop Ruth will go to the MHA Torrwood home in Horrington, Wells to send in gifts to staff, and bless all those in the home.

The blessing followed a virtual gathering in which Bishop Ruth heard from care home staff about their experiences, both before and during Covid-19.

Bishop Ruth, the Bishop of Taunton, said: “Many of us have hugely valued those in our society who have continued in key work during the lockdown.  Our appreciation has been particularly shown to NHS staff through the Thursday ‘clap for carers’ and this has extended to others too.

“One of the seemingly forgotten group of keyworkers, over a number of years, has been those who work in our social care system.  Care homes in particular have come under huge pressure from the virus and are reaching breaking point.  Having heard some stories from care workers both in the media and through personal contact, it’s become apparent that they often feel overlooked, undervalued and yet have a deep commitment and passion for their work.

“I have been grateful to hear their stories first hand, and to go out and show my appreciation for them this week. I hope others will join me in blessing their own care homes and praying for care staff.

“I’ve also pledged to share some of the experiences and learning from the conversation with our local MPs, to encourage them to act to ensure those we rely on in the social care sector are paid a wage that reflects the importance and value to society of their work.”

Citizens UK: Ideas for Blessing Actions

  • Deliver cakes or flowers for the staff
  • Give them a potted plant/seeds to represent the emergence of care workers into the public realm as the campaign develops
  • Offer chaplaincy or pastoral care to the staff
  • Draw rainbows in chalk on the pavement outside the care home o Write supportive messages for the staff to read as they walk into work
  • Organise people to applaud outside the care home at 20:00 each Thursday
  • Help the staff with practical issues like securing PPE, or offering lifts if they want to avoid public transport
  • Learn the names of all the care workers, and have the congregation write individual appreciation cards
  • Invite a care worker to share their experience with your congregation
  • Organise the care recipients to sign a letter to the local MP supporting the call for a Living Wage
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