I am single. I have to look after myself. No one to fall back on – husband, parents, siblings. As a single adult you’re out in the world on your own, with only the mercy of others to fall back on. As a single adult people may choose to support you and stand with you, but no one is obliged to. You’re on your own. Crippled by depression, you have to make your own way, organise your time, feed, wash and clothe yourself. Access services, push through paperwork. Alone.

Yet the bible says in Psalm 68:6 that, ‘the Lord sets the lonely in families.’

Is it not fair therefore to imagine that the church will act as family to those who are alone, struggling with depression or other chronic health conditions? A quick telephone call, email or text, an invitation for dinner, a small group or coffee morning. A hug at church and a genuine ‘ how are you this week?’

So often the church sees the singles as the worker bees. With no family, no responsibilities to others, they can focus fully on serving God. (1 Corinthians 7) Something needs doing…ask a singleton. Yet what happens when the singleton becomes unwell and burnt out…they’re just invisible. No one notices when they’re not there. No one misses them enough even to text.

I guess now is the time to come clean as to why a rant. A new city, a new church. So big…I’m invisible. No one notices me. No one talks to me…except those I once knew years ago.

I visit the church’s community project to ask for support. I don’t fall into their target groups. No you can’t pop in even for a coffee – that’s only for people over 70 and we’re strict on that. You’re young, you’ll manage. You’re not important to us… We can’t support you but for support from the church itself…sorry we can’t help…you need to talk direct to them, not us the community face of the church. You need to talk to so and so after a service.

I email the church. A week passes. I finally get a reply. No we don’t do pastoral care. The new peoples course isn’t running til autumn (6 months!) but Mr so and so said for you to introduce yourself to him at a service…oh and fill out the attached application form to join a small group so we can allocate you to one.

It’s a huge church. I’m depressed. Only 2 weeks ago I cried myself through the service, stubbornly not letting myself walk out into the darkness. Yet I’m meant to find this man. I”m meant to pluck up the confidence to talk to him, introduce myself, tell my story at the end of a busy church service.

So I sit and type this…single and alone.