Gathering from across a number of denominations, and mission organisations around 50 of us met at Lambeth Palace on Thursday 26 May for the launch of HOPE 23/24. With the encouragement of Archbishop Justin Welby and former CTE President Pastor Agu Irukwu (Redeemed Christian Church of God), we were urged to join the commitment to focus on a year of mission and evangelism from September 2023 to the summer of 2024.
HOPE originally launched in 2008 as a vision of Roy Crown (former Youth For Christ Director) Mike Pilavachi (Soul Survivor) and Andy Hawthorn (Eden Projects) as a way of inspiring churches to united mission. Out of that vision HOPE Coventry and HOPE Nottingham were born and continue to impact their cities today.
Archbishop Justin shared his own recent visit to Canada where tragically the church has been complicit in eradicating indigenous culture and destroying people’s lives. It was a sobering reminder that what has been done in the name of mission in the past should lead us to sharing the Jesus story with humility and honesty.
Drawing on the recent Talking Jesus research, Dr Rachel Jordan Wolf Executive Director of HOPE Together, suggested a key question that people were asking as a result of the pandemic was “Is everything going to be all right?” She reminded us that we know we have the hope of Christ in times of uncertainty.
During the next 16 months churches have an opportunity to consider how they might be involved and co-create a series of events together during the year of mission. Early themes emerging include:
- TALK and listen – create space for deep conversations with our friends, family, neighbours and colleagues – talking faith and Jesus
- UNITE to run mission events – where we present the good news of Jesus
- SHARE resources, like ‘The life of Jesus’ and other helpful material
CTE will be considering how we might help Member Churches be involved in shaping the year of mission.