It’s official: good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Rural churches play a key part in enhancing the well-being of local communities. As well as encouraging social connections, churches help local people to find an eternal perspective in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
More than 4,000 children contacted Childline in the past year because they were lonely. At the other end of the age spectrum, elderly people are also suffering from loneliness and isolation: there are 1.8 million people over 75 in the UK who are profoundly lonely, according to Linking Lives UK, which is working with churches and Christian agencies to set up befriending schemes to combat the issue.
Churches and church schools can be the hub of community life, especially at Christmas. But how do we make sure that Church is not just for Christmas?
HOPE is working with churches across the spectrum of denominations to make Jesus known in 2018. HOPE’s dream is a growing church, showing Jesus’ love and telling the Jesus story at the heart of every community. HOPE is committed to supporting and resourcing churches to make 2018 a year in which we see the Church grow throughout the UK.
Chaz was on the run from prison and went to visit his ex-girlfriend who told him she had become a Christian. He writes:
‘She told me that God loved me and could change my life if I would ask him in to my heart. She told me that God wanted to forgive my past and this is why Jesus died on the cross. That night I thought about what she had said. I was sick of my life and wanted to change, but knew I couldn’t do it on my own. The next day I handed myself in at the police station and they took me to Lincoln prison. When I arrived, I put my name down for chapel. The next day I went to chapel and gave my life to Jesus.