FROM TWO TO ONE – A COMMUNITY OF PRAYER
For many of us, this is a time of transitions – from winter to long-awaited spring, from winter coats to shorts, from the final days of this school year to the beginning of summer! Others are hoping the transition to warmer weather will improve our health.
At Chronic Joy, we’re transitioning from two monthly newsletters: Invitation to Prayer and Invitation to Community, to one, under the continuing name, Invitation to Community. Because prayer is the heartbeat of Chronic Joy, our goal is for that strong foundation to be evident in all we do.
We’ve sent this first combined newsletter to each member of our community. If you’d like to continue to receive this new single monthly newsletter, please subscribe here. (If you are a regular subscriber to Invitation to Community, there’s no need to sign-up.)
Henri Nouwen wrote, “By prayer, community is created as well as expressed.” We think that beautifully sums up the spirit of this new newsletter.
CHRONIC ILLNESS SURVEYS
We are excited to announce the addition of several new tools to help community members share their chronic illness stories as well as to improve understanding of our God-designed need for community. For some people, writing about their chronic illness journey is as natural as breathing. Some might find a tool like our FREE printable Writing the Story of Your Illness helpful in getting started. For others, we offer a new option: two quick and confidential surveys.
These two surveys offer an opportunity to express how chronic illness has affected your relationship with the Body of Christ, specifically the local church. Whether you are the one with illness, or you are the spouse, parent, sibling, adult child, or caregiver of one with illness, you are affected, and you have a story.
Over the next twelve months, we’ll be inviting everyone affected by chronic physical and/or mental illness to share their story by responding to the surveys. We invite (and encourage!) you to share the For Individuals survey with friends, family, neighbors, and even co-workers, and the For Churches survey with your pastor and other church leadership.
While survey results will provide significant and vital insights, the surveys were also designed to give you a voice, to validate your experience with chronic illness, to reclaim your dignity which is sometimes trampled in the midst of illness, and to provide another means of sharing this important piece of your story. The prevalence of chronic illness is far greater than many people realize, and we hope the surveys will facilitate valuable conversations.
We invite you to take the For Individuals survey today, and ask that you prayerfully consider inviting others to take it too, because every voice makes a difference.
We would also ask you pray about inviting your pastor and other church leaders to take the For Churches survey. We know his may be difficult and that it may take some time. The surveys will be available all year. For today, we just ask that you begin to pray.
Our hearts’ desire is that these surveys begin to broaden our traditional understanding of church attendance, small groups, and serving, fostering necessary conversations and birthing beautiful new expressions of what it truly means to be the Body of Christ, which remains incomplete so long as a single precious life is missing.
Does your church effectively serve and include those affected by chronic physical and/or mental illness? Do you have 3 minutes? We’d love your help! Include your voice. Take our short SURVEY FOR CHURCHES.
Dear Jesus, by prayer, community is created and expressed. Kindle in us growing and life-giving conversations. Remind us that through suffering You draw us closer to You and also to one another. Strengthen and encourage us as we step out in faith, fan the flame of fresh hope, and guide us into an ever greater understanding of the fullness of Your Body here on earth. Amen.
This month, we are:
- Praying for those who take the survey to find encouragement and validation.
- Praying church leaders to take the survey and to begin to rethink the churches response with those affected by chronic illness.
- Thankful for all our Heavenly Father has done and is doing in and through the ministry of Chronic Joy.
- Praying for all those affected by chronic physical and mental illness.
- Praying over the prayer requests received from our community.