Pocket hugs bring the church community together

Physical distancing rules not only mean congregations have been forced online, it also means that for some people it has been months since they have had any physical contact from a friend or loved one. 

But some of that absence has been compensated for by a team from Ackworth parish, who have shared over 120 "pocket hugs" with people in the village. The wooden discs, many of them produced from the boughs of a yew tree from the church graveyard, have been delivered to anyone associated with church, whether that be through Sunday services, coffee mornings, or children and youth work. 

"I feel one of the main things with the pandemic is being unable to hug someone either as comfort, or to show you care or love them," said Kirsty Morris, one of the organisers. "A pocket hug is tangible and tactile, can give comfort, and people then know that other people care for them."

Members of the congregation took on different roles, from cutting and sanding the wooden discs to decorating and distributing them. 

"It connects the church family together in an effective way. They have been given to church members, the bereaved, and people going into hospital. They bring a smile and often have been received at an opportune moment when someone was struggling." 

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