Hey friends! Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Church. Who Needs It? We Do! by Yvonne Bennett, and I am bringing you a guest post. Enjoy!
The Church. Who Needs It? We Do! by Yvonne Bennett
Published by: Clink Street Publishing
Release date: 02/02/2021
Where to find: Goodreads | Amazon
Summary: A group of mums in South London living in poverty come together to form a group to help each other.
They talk of their struggles on Universal credit and the ways in which a pioneer Methodist missionary has brought them together. Not all have a faith, but all believe in the power of prayer. Their struggles escalate as the pandemic lockdown comes into play.
They start a blog and use this to express their feelings. This book is their voice.
The Importance of Community
Community has always been important in British society, the times of leaving your front door unlocked and everyone knowing their neighbours may seem to belong to a bygone era. However, over the past year as the country has endured lockdowns, restrictions and shielding, community has regained its place in society. It has never been more important. Being part of a community gives us a sense of belonging and during the pandemic it has also given us a sense of purpose. Community groups have sprung up throughout the country as people have striven to help each other. From delivering shopping, to driving an elderly neighbour to their vaccination appointment, communities are banding together, and people are getting to know their neighbours once more. Being a part of a community can make us feel as though we are a part of something greater than ourselves.
The past twelve months have brought great hardships, both financial, physical and mental. Yet I believe we must try and look for a glimmer of positivity, a slither of a silver lining. With many people working from home we have inhabited the same community space. We have looked out for each other, checked in on the elderly and vulnerable, clapped for carers and savoured the time we have had with those around us. As we took advantage of being allowed out for exercise, we took the time to stop and talk to our neighbours, be that at a safe 2m distance. We have gotten to know our neighbours.
The women of Mummies Republic do not live in one neighbourhood, their community is one that exists, at the moment, online. A community can flourish in both physical and virtual spaces. What defines a community is that it works within specific boundaries meeting the needs of the people. The women come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, some live with their partners and children, some are single parents. Some have a faith, others do not. What they all have in common is that they are mums and that they are all living in low-income households; they share the same struggles as they try to make ends meet. They share the same concerns and have similar hopes and aspirations for their children. Their community boundaries are not geographical but social.
Through the Wednesday meetings, the women came together in solidarity. This community is for women by women. As the pandemic swept through the country and lockdown was enforced the women set up a WhatsApp group and, initially, met weekly through Zoom. Their community became part of the virtual world but that did not lessen its significance or strength, in fact it had the opposite effect. The support the women gave each other was no longer a weekly event, it is now available 24/7. When my own father was hospitalised through COVID-19 the community were there for me. They checked that I was OK, checked that I was coping, offered their prayers and their empathy.
This community suffered a devastating loss when Laura, a core part of the group, was killed in an accident in August 2020. She was a larger than life individual, a woman with a big smile and a bigger heart. Many of the group went to her funeral, and although, with COVID restrictions they were unable to go into the church they stood outside and formed a guard of honour. Our book is dedicated to her and she is sorely missed. Our community has an empty space, Laura’s space.
Yvonne Bennett is a fifty-seven-year-old mother of four. Originally from Greenock in Scotland, she’s lived in Sevenoaks, Kent for over twenty years. First a District Nursing Sister with a speciality in end of life care, Yvonne retrained as a Montessori pre-school teacher after taking a career break to have her children. Following a chance meeting with an Open University lecturer, Yvonne decided to study for a degree, something which she had felt was beyond her means when she was at school. She relished the academic focus and soon followed up her BA in religious studies with an MA; she has just submitted her PhD through Canterbury Christ Church University. During her studies, she worked part-time as a volunteer teacher with the now disbanded charity Kids Co., which led to her involvement with Bermondsey Central Hall Methodist Church. She describes herself as a Christian atheist; a nonbeliever who values the sense of community and positivity that can be afforded by churchgoing. You can follow the group’s blog at mummiesdayinlockdown.wordpress.com.