18 June, 2023
This week we move onto “working with”. Let’s do a quick reminder of the definition of “working with” that Sam Wells gave us a couple of weeks ago.
“The second I would call “working with”. You’ve brought together a body of all different kinds of people, including the homeless person themselves, and local businesses and so on, that's what I'd call “working with”. It's a little bit like community organising.”
This is the approach where we are working alongside or with the people we are trying to help. There are some great examples of this such as cafes who employ those with disabilities, the homeless, or those who cannot get a job and this helps them with self-esteem, with self-worth and gives them a place in society. Just like “working for” this is really important work. It helps people to create their own outcomes and reach levels of independence they may not have been able to reach alone.
In our reading this week we hear of the appointment of seven deacons to work with the widows to ensure they are not neglected and have the opportunity to be valued members of the community. These tasks were not for everyone, hence the setting apart a group of people to undertake these tasks, but they were important and necessary for the community of believers to thrive.
Working with, for me, helps to reduce the divides that can be set up between those who have and those who don’t, between people who are different to me and between people who don’t believe what I believe. I also believe that working with allows us to be aware of being with. There is that human interaction, relationships are begun and can grow, we get to know the other person better, and that can only improve our lives as well as theirs.
If given the choice, working with would be my preferred way of offering help and support to the broader community. As I said before it gives dignity and confidence that just giving handouts doesn’t. Each of the workings – for and with – have their place in our mission approaches, both are important for different reasons, but being with still under girds them.
Are there situations and people we could be working with to help the community around us?