I still remember the ‘blast off’ moments when my teenage daughter would roll her eyes at something I said.

Very quickly I would find myself going into orbit with Annie saying, “Steve, please calm down…” Clearly I could have done with hearing Steve Biddulph’s wisdom about ‘Raising Girls’!

It is a helpful reminder of the challenges of bringing hope to our city. The relentless breakdown of family life and community surrounds us at every turn yet I am encouraged that not all is lost.

We are looking at a sell out event for Steve Biddulph’s ‘Raising Girls’, with around 600 attendees wanting to be better equipped to nurture girls and daughters within their care. Our 7 week Marriage Course has begun with couples signed up from outside the church. The Ark, our Baby and Toddler group, is in its second year and continues to flourish in serving mums, carers and children within our community.

We are practically demonstrating God’s love and compassion to the needy and lonely on our doorstep. Every Thursday evening, come rain or shine, we continue to care for the homeless on our Soup Service, now five years old. Our debt advice centre has seen an increase in clients seeking help and through The English Café we are aiming to reach out to overseas students in Winchester who often feel unwelcome and isolated.

God’s plan, through his church, is to create a new community of people from every type of background. It is the very nature of this diverse group of people, beautifully unified together through Christ, that delights God’s heart so much. It demonstrates to rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms his breath-taking wisdom and power. It declares his greatness and reveals his magnificence and glory.

This is why building community and communicating the good news about Jesus is so important to us as Hope Church.