Happy New Year to you all. I hope that you have a good Christmas. If it has been difficult then I pray that things will look up for you in this New Year.
Thank you to all across Hope and Emmanuel who worked so hard to make Christmas come together so well once again. It has been great to welcome so many into our churches to celebrate the coming of Christ.
We now move into the Epiphany Season. I’m delighted this month to announce the launch of our new All Age Service in Hope… Hope.4.All. Hope.4.All is what it says it is – in ‘Hope’ Church at ‘4’ o’clock for ‘All’ Ages and it’s here to share Christ’s ‘hope for all’. Even greater news still is – it’s every Sunday! Our aim for Hope.4.All is an event that will draw out the best and more from our previous All Age/Messy Church/special services/events that we have held in the past so that everyone, of every age will better gain from it.
We begin on 7th January (Epiphany Sunday – or Christmas Day in the Eastern Church!) with the ‘Big Epiphany Celebration: Three Wise Men and a Camel’. Come along to celebrate the visit of the Magi to the boy Jesus. It’s going to be great!
We have an excellent team helping to make Hope.4.All happen and we anticipate a good number to this new event from the outset. We will start at 4pm with hot and cold drinks, fruit and biscuits, before gathering together in the main aisle of the church to worship. We will sing newer hymns and songs alongside some occasional classics that will lead into a sketch and or short interview and themed talk aimed at older teens and adults. During the talk – in the side chapel – youngsters will be welcome to take part in corresponding activities or can stay with parents/ grandparents/ carers/ use the crèche space/ do their own thing as they and parents prefer. Everyone is welcome to Hope.4.All. Come as you are, but also, as with all Hope Church’s worship, both traditional and not, I invite you to (1) come and bring your praises to God and (2) expect God to bless you and work in you, your life and family. Come and give it a try!
Starting new ventures is of course not always easy. Those of you who regularly attend the 8am service in Hope will know that in order to give Hope.4.All a shot, I am ending the 8am communion service. I would like to speak personally to our 8am regulars for a moment… Thank you for your positive attitude and support to me in starting our new Hope.4.All venture. You recognise that if Hope Church is going to be around for the long term that new patterns for worship and ministry must be trialled; and that younger and newer generations are more likely to try something new than something old (and something later in the day than first thing in the morning!) else they would be with us already. I’m delighted that most of the 8am congregation have already indicated to me that you will worship in a later service in Hope or try elsewhere. I’ve included a list of neighbouring churches offering 8am/8:30am services in the centre pages. I imagine too that some of these churches having smaller congregations will be delighted to welcome you. God bless you.
This month, I’m also delighted to announce that at some time soon our new website, www.hopeparishchurch.org, will go live (it will still include Emmanuel). You can continue to use the old website address if you prefer as this will redirect you to the new. Thank you to Kirsty (our new website editor) and Nigel (IT boffin and Kirsty’s fiancé) for taking on the challenge of the new website. I must also offer some particular thanks: Firstly to Elizabeth Poynton who for the past ten years has maintained the church website and also to Val Jones. Both Liz and Val have been excellent in keeping the website up to date. I am always amazed at how I can arrive home after an event, go onto the website and the news page will already have been updated! Kirsty and Nigel will now do us proud I am sure.
Finally, if you have not already heard, I’m delighted to inform you that Rev Gill Stanning, our Mission Area Pioneer Priest, has agreed to take on (a trial basis) Cymau and Llanfynydd Churches. Gill will officiate for Holy Communion on the 1st Sunday (Llanfynydd) and 4th Sunday of the month (in Cymau). Also, a new administrator has been appointed to the M.A.: Mrs Imogen Dennis-Newton. Please keep Gill and Imogen in your prayers.
Happy New Year Everyone and may God bless you and help you in keeping your New Year’s Resolutions – especially your decision to try out Hope.4.All!
In Christ, Adam
Fr. Paul Wheeler