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HOPE-Together-Square-Medium   News Update 
23 April 2020

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RoyIn all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28). 

Even with the country in lockdown, and alongside the difficulties so many are facing, there are positives. This week, I had a catch-up call with a friend from Samaritan’s Purse. Shortly after the call, Rachel Jordan-Wolf, HOPE’s assistant director rang. Her cousin in Malawi had been in touch. She is a consultant in the main hospital in Lilongwe in Malawi and they hardly had any PPE equipment, so the staff weren’t coming into work. The hospital was left with only five consultants and was in desperate need of PPE to keep the hospital open. Rachel prayed ‘Help!’ and then in her next call to me, she explained the story. I was able to connect her with my friend from Samaritan’s Purse, which provides practical support for people around the world, and has set up field hospitals New York’s Central Park and in Italy to care for Covid-19 patients. God’s timing is amazing. 

We have also seen God at work in the timing of a new piece of work started at the end of last year to support people who are bereaved. Loss and HOPE was launched at Lambeth Palace on 5 March – who would have known how significant the ministry would be. We are thrilled that the NHS is recommending the outward-facing website AtaLoss.org as a UK's signposting website for the bereaved. 

As we seek to feed the hungry by extending foodbanks, like HOPE Nottingham, or reach out to those watching our livestreamed church services, let’s continue to look for ways to make Jesus known with words and action together. 

Roy Crowne
HOPE Together's Executive Director 

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COVID-19 Bereavement Support

Do you know someone who has been bereaved during this time? There are lots of ways you can help, summed up in three words: contact, listen and bless. Watch the short video above to find out more. Loss and HOPE was launched just before the Covid-19 crisis to enable the Church to respond effectively with support for those who are grieving. This timely coalition between HOPE Together, Care for the Family, the Church of England and At A Loss, is developing support for the increased numbers of people who are bereaved at this time. Find out more about the church response at LossandHope.org and share the website AtaLoss.org as a source of advice on bereavement and loss.
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Small groups in lockdown

During lockdown churches have been experimenting with different options for small groups online. Laurence Singlehurst, one of the HOPE Together board, has developed a format with three components: an act of presence, sharing pressure/praise and purpose. The ideas are taken from John Wesley's band and class groups and can be done over 40 minutes. Watch Laurence explain the concept in the video above and find out more on Cell UK's website. Laurence hosts small group training sessions on Zoom on Tuesday mornings at 11.00am and on Wednesday evenings at 8.00pm. If you would like to join the online training please email Cell UK to receive a link.
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Food for hungry people 

HOPE Nottingham has become the city’s biggest provider of foodbanks. And during the Coronavirus pandemic, the team, led by the director of HOPE Nottingham Nigel Adams, has upped its game massively. It is now co-ordinating the work of seven foodbanks across the city and getting food to more than 1,000 people a week. More than 60 churches of all sizes and traditions are involved. And HOPE Nottingham has become an important contact for local councils as they support communities during the crisis. Read the whole story here.
Thousands search for peace 
Our friends at the Billy Graham Association have seen enquiries through their Peace with God website leap up six-fold. Continue to pray with us that God opens up opportunities to share faith and use HOPE’s resources to help people explore faith for themselves. 
  • Mark’s Gospel introduces people to the life of Jesus. 
  • The Hope for All magazine is packed full of stories about people finding faith. 
  • Who do you say I am? is a large-format gift book that takes readers on a journey of discovery with interviews, testimonies and quotes from the eye-witness accounts in the Gospels. 
Each of these resources is available to buy at discount prices for bulk orders of five or more. Buy five and pass them on to people you are praying for. Also, follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram @hopetogether for regular evangelistic content that you can share with friends. Let’s take every opportunity to talk about Jesus and the hope he gives in this season.
Spiritual longings
While your church is meeting online rather than face to face, try inviting friends and family to watch with you. Lockdown seems to have triggered a longing for something spiritual in people’s lives, longings that are ignored in busier times. Parents, children and grandchildren who won’t accept an invitation to church in normal times might find virtual church is easier to try out. 
Schools Work?
'Most schools are shut but school continues! What could it look like for the church to run RE lessons and assemblies online or lunch clubs for young people? asks Dan Randall, HOPE's Youth Director. Maybe you have never done schools work before, but Christianity is on the curriculum and for some it is a chosen subject at GCSE and A Level. Also lots of students facing exams will have high levels of anxiety and nerves, even more so now, so why not put together some care packages for them to receive at home, full of treats, revision-helps and fun!? How can your church serve the education system and reach young people?
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Do let us know how we can pray for you are serve you at this time. We love to hear your news and look forward to the end of lockdown when we can meet face to face.

Love from the HOPE Together team


 
Glenys
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