Reviews by Joanna Cox and Tania Brosnan:
Joanna Cox, the Church of England’s National Adviser in Adult Education and Lay Development writes in the ‘Church of England Adult Education Friday Mailing’:
NEW RESOURCE: Caring Together __________________________________
I have just been sent a review copy of this thoughtful new “group study guide” by Chris Morley (published by Kevin Mayhew). It is aimed at those caring for others (not exclusively those technically defined as ‘carers’) and its recognition of the commitment, tensions and frustrations involved feels realistic, relevant, respectful and supportive. Each session starts and ends with appropriate prayers; each has possible questions for reflection / discussion based on a helpful extract (e.g. from Sheila Cassidy / Frances Young), a Gospel passage, and another perspective (sources as varied as Brother Lawrence and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy).
Maybe my positive reaction is partly personal – I wish this had been around when I was submerged in the “parent care” chapter of life. But I also think it could be of interest to those on the training networks. It certainly offers resources that could be valuable for pastoral ministry training. And it also offers an example of printed resource and website working in tandem – so (for example) it offers additional links to follow, it is possible to listen to reflections on a biblical passage as an alternative to reading them, or to download (for a small cost) suggested musical resources. The website is www.caring-together.com – where you can also see a sample session and the topics looked at.
It is suggested that this can be “most fruitfully used by a group”. A hospice chaplain tells me that this would work well – though my own experience of the unpredictability of crises when caring made me uncertain whether gathering for 10 group sessions would be easy. But I found this was a resource that could be valuable for individuals too – an encouragement for all of life to be a formative and learning experience.
Review by Tania Brosnan for the Magnet Magazine
This is an excellent 10 session study guide for those involved in caring for someone: a partner, friend, relative or member of your church community. The sessions deal with subjects such as looking after yourself, failure, anger, growing through pain and getting support. Each one includes suggestions for discussion and draws on the experience of carers, including Sheila Cassidy, Anthony de Mello and Stevie Smith, also on the teachings of Jesus. This is a very comprehensive and sensitively written course which would be an ideal resource for a group of pastoral carers who need training and support. But I think it is a comprehensive resource for individual reflection too. It also gives good instructions on how to lead a group of vulnerable carers through what can be an emotive and difficult subject. Chris writes “…people will, I hope, find their self-esteem boosted, their ability to enjoy life enhanced and therefore the quality of their caring deepened.
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