Bringing hope to communities hit by Covid-19
Across the country, people have used the HOPE for All magazines to connect with their communities in different ways
For Jean Goodenough, a member of Kay Street Baptist Church in Rawtenstall, Lancashire, distributing HOPE for All magazines was a way of marking Christmas during the pandemic in a different way.
‘The last few years we’ve had a Christmas dinner on Christmas Day at church, and had a little party afterwards, and I really enjoy being with lots of people on Christmas,' she explained. 'I had to re-think what I would do for Christmas this year.’
So – what did she do?
‘I did HOPE!’ laughed Jean. I was praying about it and I’d got hold of a HOPE magazine, and I thought “This looks really nice!” It was so glossy and just like any sort of interesting magazine that you might pick up. When I found out there was going to be a Christmas edition, related to COVID-19, I thought it would be something tremendous to give out locally.’
Jean made a plan to give out copies of the HOPE for All magazine on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – when the regular post had finished. ‘I had to decide how many magazines to get and the figure 600 just kept coming to mind!’ she said. So, she stepped out in faith and ordered 600 copies.
Jean used her shopping trolley to single-handedly transport them round all the terraced streets in her neighbourhood. She posted around 400 through doors on Christmas Eve, then resumed her mission on Christmas Day after joining the online church service. She finished the 600th copy just as thick snow began to fall, and just as she was at her physical limit – which, she says, is why God chose that number for her to order!
Although most of the magazines went through the doors of people Jean didn’t know, meaning she hasn’t heard whether they were read or not, she had some lovely moments of connection with local people as she gave them out, as well as some encouraging conversations with other Christians in her area. ‘The rest is in the Lord’s hands,’ said Jean.
For two retired ladies, the magazines were simply a chance to reach out to the people who lived around them with a message of hope.
In Caerphilly, Hazel Herrington ordered copies of HOPE for All to post through the doors of people on her street. Hazel told HOPE Together how giving out the magazines was a way of sharing her faith with her neighbours, because she recognised that she finds it hard to bring the topic up with people. ‘If somebody asks me about Jesus, I can answer questions – but I find it harder to start conversations,’ she said.
Hazel originally saw copies of HOPE for All in her church foyer and was immediately drawn to them. ‘The magazines are so good because of their true stories and because a lot of the people featured are well-known from the media – so people will respond to that,’ she said.
When she gave them out, she had some enthusiastic responses from people. One neighbour said, ‘Thanks! It’s nice to have something to read!’ and her next-door neighbour told Hazel about how she’d got her Bible back out to reach during lockdown. What a wonderful reminder that small steps of faith can lead to significant conversations!
The latest, undated HOPE for All magazine is now available for purchase. Could it be a conversation-starter for your neighbours – or a much-needed message of hope for people in your community?
They are priced at 10p a copy and are available from the HOPE online shop here.