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22 December 2017

HOPE transforming communities

HOPE transforming communities

HOPE is a catalyst that brings churches together to transform communities. Churches across the spectrum of denominations are working together with HOPE towards 2018 and a united year of mission in words and action to make Jesus known.

Villages, towns and cities are preparing for the year of mission. Canterbury's HOPE 2018 will be launched in January at Canterbury Cathedral – one of many launch events nationwide. Churches in Hungerford are planning an eight-day mission at Easter 2018; and have been using the 2017 Christmas HOPE magazine to prepare the ground. In Hucknall there are plans for churches to use HOPE banners throughout the town linking what they do to the national initiative.

HOPE is inviting churches to pray, speak, give and invite as part of the mission year. 

HOPE, the Evangelical Alliance and the Church of England brought 40 denominational and ministry leaders together in Windermere for 24 hours of prayer in September 2017 to launch HOPE 2018. The Talking Jesus research (talkingjesus.org), which came from the first Windermere Summit, shows us that one in five of the people we talk to about Jesus wants to know more. So, HOPE is inviting Christians to pray for five friends, family members of colleagues, asking God to give opportunities to introduce them to Jesus.

The Talking Jesus resources are designed to give church members fresh confidence in using words to share their faith. Mission Academy Live is HOPE's youth initiative to equip young people to share their faith in words and action.

HOPE has a range of top quality materials that will help our unchurched friends on their journey to faith. HOPE's Christmas and Easter magazines can be used as an invitation to Christmas carol services and Easter guest services. HOPE's gift book Who Do You Say I Am? helps people to discover more about Jesus, why he died and what his resurrection can mean for us today. One pensioner, a lifelong church goer, told HOPE: "I can recite the creed backwards, but Who Do You Say I Am? helped me to make sense of the Christian faith for the first time." 

HOPE encourages Christians to be intentional in inviting people into their homes, into their lives, but also into the events with our church family: Christmas carol services, Easter guest services, and courses like Alpha and Christianity Explored. 

HOPE has developed a rhythm of mission through the church calendar to help churches work together to transform communities.

Through Lent, 40 Acts from Stewardship helps Christians to put faith into practice. HOPE has also published '40 Stories of HOPE' – a Lent course drawing together stories from prisoners, prison chaplains and ex-prisoners, whose lives have been transformed. The book, adopted by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland as its Lent course for 2018, includes readings and prayers from Mark's Gospel. HOPE encourages churches to make the most of Easter as a season of invitation, inviting local people to discover how they can live in the power of the resurrection.

The warmer summer weather makes it easier for churches to get out of their buildings, serving local communities through practical projects such as cleaning up a play area or holding a summer fun day.

Inviting neighbours or colleagues to a harvest supper is a great way to build bridges of friendship. HOPE and World Vision's Share A Meal project aims to bring communities together to enjoy food and make friends.

As well as using Christmas church services to explain who Jesus is and why he came, HOPE encourages churches to get out into communities delivering the Christmas HOPE magazine door to door. Flash mob choirs, karaoke carols in pubs and sports stadium carol singing events are all ways in which churches are reaching out to share HOPE during the festive season.

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To find out more about HOPE 2018 and to sign up for regular updates visit hopetogether.org.uk

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