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HOPE-Together-Square-Medium   News Update 
15 May 2020


Blessing our communities

Dear {recipient.first_name}

‘Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you... Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper’ (Jeremiah 29:7).

In this new season, the local church is the glue to put communities back together. As thousands of people across the country try praying for the first time, and millions join our online church services, God seems to be answering our prayers that we would have many opportunities to speak about Christ.

Since the start of May, more than 2.4 million people have watched The UK Blessing. Local areas are making their own version to bless their villages, towns and cities, praying blessings of peace and prosperity on their communities. Over the rest of the month Prayer 2020 and Thy Kingdom Come focus our prayers on the people we know who are yet to respond to Jesus’ offer of new life and hope for now and eternity. Here at HOPE Together we are working on new online resources to help explain the Gospel in contemporary and relevant ways. We want to support local churches in making Jesus known online – and because we know that churches won’t be able to have summer fetes or Fun Days for a while at least, we are putting together ideas for a Virtual Fun Day pack to help churches to be that glue that brings communities together, even while we have to stay apart. 

Join me, Dan Randall and Yemi Adedeji from the HOPE Together team and guests for ‘Talking HOPE’ on Monday from 8-9pm on Facebook Live @hopetogether. Use Facebook comments to get involved in the discussion and let’s explore ways in which we can make Jesus known together at this time.

Roy Crowne
HOPE Together's Executive Director 

Prayer 2020
Before lockdown, we filmed this prayer by Emma Buchan from Thy Kingdom Come, setting the theme for May’s Prayer 2020 as we ask God to give us opportunities to speak about Jesus to friends, family and colleagues at the start of the 10-day Thy Kingdom Come wave of prayer.

Please share Emma's prayer and the short Prayer 2020 promotional video or the longer version. You can download and use these Prayer 2020 videos in your online church services or daily devotionals to encourage members of your congregation to pray for 20 minutes on Wednesday 20 May at 20:20 ‘that God will give many opportunities to speak about Christ’ (Colossians 4:3 NLT). There's an outline for 20 minutes of prayer to download here.
Thy Kingdom Come
Join the global Thy Kingdom Come wave of prayer between Ascension and Pentecost from 21-31 May. There are five ways your church can be involved in this year’s Thy Kingdom Come. Find out more here. There is a new Digital Family Prayer Adventure Map & App, an augmented reality app with daily videos and games from the Bible, as well as a 24-7 virtual prayer room, the Upper Room. You can find all the resources on the Thy Kingdom Come website.
TODAY – online evangelism

HOPE’s Youth Director Dan Randall is one of around 100 evangelists who will be online Today, Friday 15th May over 24 hours to share how Jesus is changing lives in 2020, setting people free and giving them life to the full. Here’s where to find TODAY online.

Facebook // YouTube // Follow Up Website
Pentecost Prayer
We won’t be able to gather in large groups at Pentecost, but we can pray together online. Kings Church Eastbourne have used the music from The UK Blessing (with permission) in a new video with drone-footage of the seaside town to bless their community. You can watch it here. Also, Churches Together for Eastbourne is planning an online prayer gathering of church leaders from across the town, which individual churches can include in their online church services. How will churches in your area celebrate Pentecost together?
Coventry’s Blessing
While churches are still worshipping exclusively online, it is a great time for churches to work together. Churches from across the city of Coventry gathered for their first ever City Praise and Prayer Online. As part of the hour-long event, more than 50 musicians and singers from Coventry united to sing their own version of The Blessing over their city.
Talking Jesus

Are your church or home group members confident to take the opportunities available to talk about Jesus? The Talking Jesus course is ideal for small groups and it is now available to watch online free as well as on DVD and USB. There are six practical, video-based teaching sessions with inspirational testimonies to give real-life examples from people who are talking Jesus. There are also short parable-style films designed to get you thinking. Visit www.hopetogether, to sign up to receive the promotional code. You can order course booklets in English or Welsh from the HOPE shop
Young evangelists wanted
Amplify is the youth arm of Advance 2020. It exists to mentor young people in evangelism through a year-long programme. Watch the video or visit the Amplify website to find out more. Please share the news with the young people and youth leaders in your church.
Great VE Goodie Bags from Bristol Church

Watch this video Ebenezer Church in Bristol has made to show how they blessed their community with goodie bags for the VE Day celebrations. The gift bags included packs of home-made scones, cream, jam and teabags plus a copy of The Servant Queen and the King She Serves with a specially-made DVD and celebration brochure. Could you adapt this idea for a summer event in your neighbourhood?
Online opportunities
We were thrilled to hear this week from Tony Williams, Associate Vicar of Emmanuel Church, Plymouth. He said, ‘Thanks for these emails. I regularly draw encouragement and bright ideas from them! This time, I got the practical tip of putting your magazine in with food parcels.’ (Copies of the Hope for All magazines are available here). Tony also asks about engaging people online through Facebook or a Christianity Explored course. If you and your church are making fruitful links with people online, let us know what works well for you so we can encourage others.
Join our team 
We are looking for a Communications Assistant to join the HOPE Together team so that we can find, research and produce more great stories which inspire the local church to make Jesus known with words and action together.  Find out about this new role here.

We are also looking for a freelance digital media expert to join our team so that we can inspire the local church online to make Jesus known with words and action together and also to help local churches reach out to non-Christian audiences who are exploring faith and spirituality. Get in touch if you can help us.
Do tell us how we can support you and pray for you in these strange times.

Love from the HOPE Together team
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