It is estimated that three in five people will be carers at some point in their lives and with increasing cutbacks in welfare services, their burden is not going to become any easier. A survey done last year found that one third of all carers in Britain are so depressed that they don't want to wake up in the morning. Caring for an elderly parent or spouse who is showing signs of dementia and knowing that the authorities will do nothing to help until a crisis occurs, or having a child with a serious illness and having to cope with frequent trips to a distant hospital whilst trying to meet the needs of other family members at the same is incredibly stressful.
As Christians we are not exempt from any of these pressures, indeed sometimes more so, as we have Jesus' teaching about caring for one another and we feel that we ought to be doing it better than anyone else - and then feeling guilty when we can't cope.
At All Saints, Lyn Hoyles and Lu Seymour offer pastoral support for anyone who is a carer in our church. They can provide a listening ear, prayer and encouragement as well as organising regular gatherings where carers meet together in a relaxed atmosphere and support one another.
For carers there are no easy answers, no days off and taking it easy is not an option. We take comfort from the truth that God knows our situation, understands, cares and is always there for us, sometimes encouraging us through the scriptures and sometimes through the love and support of the church family.
If you are one of the carers we don't know about then please do make yourself known to Lyn or Lu.