Masses gathered outside St Peter's Church, Machynlleth on Sunday at the service for the missing 5-year-old, April Jones.

About 1,000 people from the local community had walked to the church in silence from Bryn-y-Gog, the estate from which April went missing last Monday. So many had gathered that they couldn't all fit in the church.

News headlines on Sunday picked up on Rev Kathleen Rogers' poignant words. April's family friends could trust in the 'sure and certain hope that she is in the arms of Jesus'.

It struck me that this was a powerful message to an unbelieving world. There are two common responses to God in such terrible circumstances; to turn to God when all other hope is lost, or to question why God would allow April to be taken from her parents and let her suffer.

But in either case, this is where the church should be: at the heart of the pain and suffering of its community. Though we encounter suffering and grief, we are not without hope. After the cameras have left and life must inevitably resume its rhythm in April's absence, the community has vowed to continue to support her family.

In much of Britain, we've lost this kind of strong, heartfelt community. Our lifestyles keep us cooped-up at home and at the office, guarding our personal space. In spite of this, we need to make sure we remember those around us. Of course we hope that April Jones is an exceptional case, but there are so many family crises that don't hit the headlines; and so many people who are going through challenging times without family or friends close by. Do we know about the difficulties in our neighbours lives? Do we know our neighbours well enough that they would ask us for help?

There's been a resurgence this year of the idea of community spirit, through the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, so let's try to build on gathering together in joyful times, and be inspired by the people of Machynlleth to 'mourn with those who mourn'. We're called to love God, and love people; perhaps it's time to break some of the unhelpful social conventions we've acquired, including shutting ourselves away, and take the first steps to really caring about those across the garden fence.