Making our voices heard for good of community

Published on: 30 Jun 2013

paul petersen

Over these past few months the Downend Voice has been just that - a voice for our community. I’ve enjoyed reading about the activities of local schools and community groups, and local interest stories. It’s got me thinking – how can I, and how can each of us, be a voice for good in the places we live and work? 

It’s all too easy to moan, grumble, deride and undermine – we’re good at complaining about the weather or the pot holes or the state of our green spaces, the weaknesses of our boss, or the failings of our local football teams, but how often do we offer encouragement, praise and gratitude, thus building people up and enhancing our shared lives?

As I reflect on my own life, I recognise key people who have encouraged me – teachers, youth leaders, ministers, friends, colleagues; who in simple and sometimes profound ways have voiced affirmation. They weren’t doing so to get something back, they simply chose to voice a few positive and affirming words in a way that brought strength.  I’m immensely grateful to each of them.

In the Bible there’s a man called Barnabas who was known as the encourager – he was generous with his time and resources; when people argued, he was a peacemaker; when people doubted one another, he gave them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps we can learn from his example!

Let’s each choose to be a positive voice in Downend – it doesn’t mean we won’t challenge things that are wrong or need improving, but we can do such things with humility and respect. From the councillor to the shopkeeper, the bus driver to the guide leader – we all need encouragement and affirmation to flourish as our creator intended.

How might your voice be heard in Downend in a way that enhances and builds our community’s life?

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