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  • Rachel Tranter

The Holy Habits home group: a place of sharing

'One of the precious things about the evolution of Holy Habits is the way in which a sense of community has grown as we have explored Luke’s gift to us together through the study of Acts 2:42–47. I would love to see that sense of togetherness grow as we journey through these eight weeks.' Andrew Roberts, Holy Habits pioneer

Andrew Roberts, Holy Habits pioneer, shared his hope for the Holy Habits home group: Sharing Resources series just before session one took place on Tuesday 21 April.

Last week we reached the halfway point of our journey through the series, in which we have explored a variety of challenging questions as well as uplifting stories about how we are experiencing and living out the habit of Sharing Resources during the coronavirus pandemic.

Throughout the series we’ve heard and celebrated stories we’ve seen in the news, like the story of bicycles being donated to NHS workers; the AirBNB proprietor who provided a room for a stranded singer; and the story of a 17-year-old care worker who gifted a 94-year-old gentleman a cushion printed with a photograph of his wife.

But more than this, we’ve been hearing and celebrating stories from individuals within the online home group itself.

'Over the course of this series a number of people have shared how either they are struggling with isolation at this time or they are offering emotional support to others who may be feeling that way.' Andrew Roberts, Holy Habits pioneer

We’ve been touched and encouraged by stories and comments from members of the group, sharing the challenges they’re facing, the blessings they’re receiving from others, as well as how they’ve been sharing resources in their local communities during these difficult times. Not only have members been telling us about the physical resources they’ve been able to share with others, but we’ve heard from those who have found great value in giving something as simple as their time or lending an ear to those who need to be heard.

In these stories from home group members, it’s evident that when we practise the holy habit of Sharing Resources, we are not just practising this one habit. When we hear about people sharing food they’ve been growing, we’re reminded of the holy habit of Eating Together; when we hear about those who spend time getting in touch with individuals attending church via virtual services for the first time in a while, we see the holy habit of Making More Disciples; and when we hear about children and families who are displaying messages of thanks to NHS and key workers in their windows, we celebrate the habit of Serving.

Following last week’s session on ‘What really matters’, one group member emailed us to share a story from her past, referring to it as ‘an experience of generosity that I have never seen equalled’. In this story we see Fellowship, Gladness and Generosity, Eating Together and Sharing Resources, all being lived out in one evening.

Some 20 years ago I visited South Africa on a tour of schools with a group of about twelve fellow head teachers. We were hosted by staff and heads of independent schools in half a dozen cities and that was very generous, but this story is from a particular experience in Cape Town. My host there was a teacher from an independent school whose staff worked in collaboration with teachers in township schools, volunteering time and resources, but acknowledging that they also learned from the township teachers. We were taken into the township to visit primary and secondary schools, who greeted us with the most wonderful warm friendship – the children sang for us and the teachers were marvellous. In the evening, the township community near the schools invited all our group to a BBQ at their homes. This was the poorest environment I have ever experienced – in the morning we had heard of the schools supplying loaves of bread at the start of the day and that the two slices per day that each child received might be the only food they had that day. And yet the community hosted us with the greatest generosity I've ever experienced, with no thought of reward except to enjoy our company. It remains the most humbling experience of my life – my plate was filled with meats I'd not experienced before and with all sorts of accompaniments. There was far too much for me to eat, but nothing was wasted, as any leftovers were gathered in. I've never forgotten the joy of that evening. Sue, Radley

In sharing stories such as this, not only do we celebrate the kindness and generosity of others, but we also find encouragement to practise and live out the holy habits ourselves.

As far as Andrew’s hope for the series goes, we are thoroughly enjoying seeing a sense of togetherness grow as we journey through the eight weeks of this series.

If you’d like to join the Holy Habits home group, follow the links below:

Tuesdays at 7.30 pm BST, followed by a live Q&A with Andrew Roberts

Wednesdays at 10.00 am BST*

*Please note that there will be no live Q&A on Wednesday sessions.

To catch up with the sessions, please visit the playlist on YouTube.

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