Locked down but still connected

Liz Venable has led our Connect group alongside a committed team who have helped to build a really strong community this year despite all of the restrictions we’ve had to endure and we are truly grateful for her, Sarah, Emma, Hannah & Jon.

From the first moment we stepped inside Trinity College on the open day I knew that college was going to be our community and family, not just somewhere my husband went to study. This felt true even as we settled into life here in Bristol when we received two weeks of meals from people we barely knew as our daughter was born just before the first week of term. Connect sessions then started and I found myself in college more often than not. It became such a lifeline and quite early on I realised that I really wanted to serve on the next Exec to try to bless the community in the way that I had been blessed.

Fast forward to January, I was running for President and then taking over with the new exec at the beginning of the pandemic. Over the summer our, somewhat naive, plans for September had to change as we realised this virus wasn’t just going to ’bog off’ when the new academic year started. I remember praying with the exec for the newcomers, prayers that we would find community in the midst of uncertainty and physical distance. It was hard not to worry.

But, I needn’t have worried. God provides. God provided an incredible bunch of newcomers and returners who just threw themselves into everything. We were met with willingness to adapt and a desire to create community in whatever way the rules allowed.

When I think back, I can see God’s provision, especially with timing. Over the summer, we were able to meet for walks in beautiful weather; this is where connections were made. Now, whatever the weather, meeting outside has become a natural part of Connect life. Initially we were able to meet in the chapel for communal worship; being able to worship together was so encouraging and strengthened our sense of community. By the time everything had to go online we had already established trust and connection with each other. Which has led to sharing, worshipping and praying together over Zoom.

“I am so proud of how supportive this community is. Whether it’s a meal provided, a therapeutic walk or essential takeaway recommendations – everyone looks out for each other.”

Here we are now, having just handed over to an amazing new exec who are full of enthusiasm and fresh ideas. My prayer for them is that the sense of family that has been established, continues to be nourished and grow this coming year.

Connect is our spouses group which provides support and community to the families of our married ordinands. You can find out more about Connect here: www.trinitycollegebristol.ac.uk/connect

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