The love of Christ, good works and eternal hope.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.’  Hebrews 10 v 24- 25 (ESV)

Welcome to this April newsletter, and thank you for your continued interest and support. As ever, please do invite others to sign up to receive our news, if you think it would be of interest.

As I write, we find ourselves as some may say, in a “new normal”, facing challenges we perhaps never thought we would face. Things may be very difficult for you, many have lost loved ones, and there is no escaping that these times are difficult. And yet, there is an huge opportunity for the body of Christ, a time for renewal, and with the above Bible verses in mind, a time for reflecting on how we stir one another to love and good works, as we rejoice (or take comfort) in our eternal hope as Christians.

Sowing seeds at Easter

We were contacted via our Facebook community by Jane* who had read our blog about reaching out at Easter during lockdown. As a result Jane decided to invite her neighbours to join her at the end of their front gardens to sing hymns together. They then also had tea together (physically distanced) and have seen community seeds sown. You can read more about this on the Evangelical Alliance website.

Daily Hope

It is so encouraging to see how many churches and Christians are responding to this Coronavirus crisis, which is causing a complete shift in how we do almost everything in society, including church. And yet churches are continuing to maintain their communities, albeit it remotely, and Christian organisations are rising up to be the hands and feet of Christ across the nation. This includes ‘Your Neighbour’ which is a network of 1000 churches across different denominations seeking to provide a variety of support to people through their local church.

And we (Faith in Later Life) have been working hard on our response to this crisis too. As the majority of us face new challenges, with many lonely and isolated, particularly in the older demographic, we wanted to think about how we could reach people with the gospel, who are not engaged digitally. Many churches are doing good work with live streaming their services and using YouTube and similar online technology, but with 2.5 million over 75s having never used the internet, we wanted to see how we could provide for them too.

So working with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England, and the ‘Connections’ initiative at Holy Trinity Claygate in Surrey, this week we launched a free 24/7 telephone service called Daily Hope. This is free for anyone to call (irrespective of denomination- or whether the caller is even a believer), and when someone calls they will have the option of listening to some comforting old hymns, or hear a prayer, or listen to some helpful talks and Biblical reflections. We want to minister to older Christians who may not be tech savvy, and we want to reach older people more broadly, with the good news of Jesus. Already well over 15,000 calls to ‘Daily Hope’ have been made.

The number, free to call from landlines or mobiles (in the UK) is 0800 804 8044. Please spread the word!

You may have read about ‘Daily Hope’ in the Christian media, in the Guardian, or you may have listened to interviews on BBC Radio 4 and Radio 5, but if you want some more information about ‘Daily Hope’, click here for detail on what is included on the phone line. And if you would like some ideas about how to share this initiative, and free resources you can use to tell others, then you can find a useful blog here, and a downloadable poster here.

Resources for Covid-19

As well as through the ‘Daily Hope’ phone line, we also want to provide support through resources and whilst I touched on this last month, I wanted to re-emphasize, and highlight some of the specific resources we have created. Free downloadable resources from our website resource hub cover the following:

Book of the month

Some of us are busier than ever, but others may have more time on their hands. So away from Coronavirus related matters I wanted to highlight our April book of the month called ‘Sea Changed’ by Kate Nicholas, a gripping and inspiring read. Head to our website by clicking here, for more information.

Stay connected

In these times, more than ever, Christian fellowship is vital. Please do keep in touch with us via our website, or social media pages, we would love to hear your stories and encouragements. And let us keep praying for each other- particularly for those who are ill in hospital, a care home, or the community; and for their loved ones.

Yours in Christ,

Carl Knightly
Chief Executive, Faith in Later Life