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Norwich seminar teaches how to share hope in a crisis

40 Christians from across East Anglia attended the first Sharing Hope in Crisis event hosted by the Diocese of East Anglia. Rebecca Bretherton reports.

Leading the seminar at St George’s church in Norwich on November 3, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team asked us: Do you know what to do when someone else is hurting?

A Crisis can happen to Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime

Using a mix of film, presentations and group discussions, Ian Macleod, the Head of UK Disaster Relief, led sessions in which we learnt that over 70% of the people we meet every day could be dealing with a crisis in their own lives.

People are living with disasters that do not make the news but which can create the same trauma and despair for them and their families. Sometimes people are living with several disasters they are trying to deal with at once. We considered the Church’s teachings about where God is in our suffering and pain and how we can offer support to others.

We are all ambassadors and ministers of God’s Hope

We should be ready to share that the Good News as the Gospel message is for everyone, but we learnt that we must be sensitive to people’s circumstances and to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes just being present can go a long way in sharing the Gospel.

Eldred Willey, a parishioner at St John the Baptist Cathedral, gave us examples of opportunities in his work in Iraq and Nepal and in his everyday life when he had listened to people in difficulty and offered them prayer and a witness to God’s compassionate love.

God has called us to share the Good News

Throughout the day, Ian and Eldred gave us practical advice about what to say and, as importantly, what not to say to people in distress. They asked us: How would you give an account of what you believe as a Christian? Are you familiar with the Gospel message? By preparing a response to these questions, we will be better prepared when the opportunity comes to speak to someone we meet.

Pictured top are some of the seminar participants.