Running from 10-16 October 2021, National Carers Week is a time to recognise and celebrate the 2.65 million Australians, and 430,000 New Zealanders, who provide care and support to a family member or friend.
Carers are people who provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental health condition, chronic condition, terminal illness, an alcohol or other drug issue or who are frail aged – anyone at any time can become a carer. Many, many people in our Lutheran church communities are carers, and we remember and celebrate them this month!
Great resources for reflection:
Messages of Hope by Lutheran Media has excellent resources that reflect the reality of being a carer, and offer hope through this season. In the Chronic Pain series, you can watch episode 2, “What about the Carer?” to learn more about what it means to be a carer and reflect on how to support carers. Order a discussion guide from Lutheran Media to use as a bible study or reflection with your small group or family; it comes as an e-book or packaged with the Chronic Pain DVD series. Alternately, watch John and Maureen’s story in Dementia – this is our story.
So many people are providing informal, unpaid care for family and friends in our communities – let’s give thanks for them, honour their work, and support them in this essential role. God’s love comes to life when we celebrate and care for those people who compassionately care for people in need.
Easy ideas for a celebration:
Download the Christian Care Sunday resources at www.lca.org.au/ccs and plan to include a prayer for carers in your worship service in Carers Week.
In Australia, put up a poster for the Carer Gateway in your church so that those in care roles know there is Government funded support available to them. You can request posters and other resources free of charge from https://publications.carergateway.gov.au/ or by ringing 1800 050 009 in business hours. In New Zealand, provide ‘A Guide for Carers’ or other resources from Carers NZ, available online at www.carers.net.nz or by phoning 0800 777 797.
Host a morning tea for carers to chat and connect – perhaps even virtually over zoom if you are in lockdown, or people find it hard to leave home and their care responsibilities.
Celebrate the carers in your community with a card, a coffee voucher or chocolate bar, or a prayer of blessing. Order cards or tracts to use from Lutheran Tract Mission https://www.ltm.org.au/.
A prayer for carers:
Lord Jesus Christ, we remember how exhausted you often were as you gave yourself to all who came to you in need. In the midst of a raging storm, you slept in the bottom of a rough fisherman’s boat. Thank you that you understand how we can become drained and empty by the demands made on us as we constantly care for those who depend on us. Renew our strength that we may not flag in our service. Refresh our spirits that we may work with patience and with joy. And restore our love that we may serve in the same way as we love to serve you. We ask this for your glory. Amen.
Adapted from David Short & David Searle, Pastoral Visitation: A Pocket Manual, p. 83 – as reproduced in the Mental Health and Pastoral Care Institute 10/10 church resources pack accessed online at http://www.mentalhealthinstitute.org.au/resources/1010-videos
Short Messages of Hope to share in Carers Week on your social media platform:
Caring for someone you love with chronic illness https://youtu.be/xq-xKORMnxs
Who cares for the carers? https://youtu.be/rcGtTbYJbEw
Dementia – this is our story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUUxw-eJnGg&t=393s
If you would like support to celebrate Carers Week or Christian Care Sunday in your congregation, please contact the Project Officer, Anna Kroehn via email: email@example.com.