All around us we see the new life of spring emerge from the darkness of winter. This new life reflects the Christian hope of Easter.
Jesus suffered and died an unjust death. But then was dramatically resurrected. New life overturned death itself.
This hope is at the heart of Christian faith. Its a living hope which can conquer pain and suffering today.
God’s hope in action
I have been working for Hope into Action now for 10 weeks. Look at the ‘T’ in our logo.
The cross, the place where God dealt with the pain and problems of the world, is at the heart our identity. In Jesus’ death and resurrection, we see God’s hope in action in the gritty, broken reality of our world.
This is where hope is most needed. And the best illustration is in the difference it makes to people’s own lives today. Resurrection hope is not a matter of history but is transformative today.
James’ story is a brilliant example. He lives in a Hope into Action home in Stamford and he gave me permission to share his story.
“I came to Stamford to rebuild a relationship with my sister who I hadn’t spoken to for 14 years. I was technically homeless and really struggling with my mental health at this time and I had no friends.
I met Jill from the church and she brought me along to Friday Connect which opened the doors to me meeting other people in the church. They realised that my mental health was bad and I needed support with housing and socialising.
The church put in a referral for Hope into Action for my housing and after some delays due to covid I was housed. Finally I had home!
I received a lot of support from the church and Hope into Action. I was finally diagnosed with a mental health condition after 13 years. I was able to volunteer with the foodbank and I became immersed in the church community, getting to know lots of different people. Through Springboard, which the church runs, I was able to get a job which I still have now.
I started an Alpha course with the Fresh Hope group. I gained understanding about the Christian faith and I have changed my mind-set. I have learnt a lot both intellectually and emotionally. I completed the Alpha course and am continuing to explore this by going to the fresh Hope bible study where I have made even more friends. I feel that I have become part of a whole family.
I know that I have always got support, I know that I am loved, I know that I am never alone. It has been a rocky road with many ups and downs but through the support of the church I am still here.
Connection, support and love
It’s a brilliant example of how a local church, St George’s Stamford, has connected with someone in need, offering love and support which has empowered transformation. And now James is working and volunteering and giving his skills and strengths back into the community that helped him.
On top of it all, this Easter Sunday James is getting baptised. In preparation to share with his church family, he wrote this:
“Through the love shown to me by people in this Church and as I saw other people’s lives changed by God my own faith began to grow. Then I started to pray myself and God met me in my prayers. Now I know Jesus is real and I have chosen to follow him.
And I want people to know that I have made that choice which is why I am getting baptised. For anyone who doesn’t believe, just remember you have always got a family with God.”
This is resurrection hope. This is hope into action.
This Easter please consider supporting Hope into Action. It will enable us to help more people find the hope that James has.
We have a special Rise Up Easter appeal where any regular donation for the year ahead will be doubled. So if you are able to give £20 a month, this will become £40. Donate here.
Watch these highlights from Hope into Action’s recent conference: