The 2020 annual Cyprus Social Outreach Forum was held via Zoom on 7 September, bringing together 35 community and religious organisations working with trafficked women, children in need, refugees, migrants, the elderly and the mentally ill.
Convened by Archidiaconal Social Concern Officer the Reverend Anne Futcher, a recurring theme of the meeting was that despite its significant challenges, the pandemic had served as a catalyst for more people to engage in community outreach, in new and different ways. At the same time, there was a clear need for peer-to-peer support to counter volunteer fatigue and anxiety.
Archbishop Michael paid tribute to participants’ “sheer resilience”, describing their persistence and imagination as “humbling”.
Imam Shakir highlighted the unexpectedly large number of requests for help during lockdown—from Muslim and non-Muslim alike. “It was impossible to reach everybody,” he said. “But I am happy that we did our best.”
“We cannot live atomised lives,” Archbishop Michael concluded. “If there is one good thing to come out of Covid-19, it is to remind us that we are organically one.”