Welcome to this new edition of Hope Church website. This is a great way to stay informed, updated and in touch with all the happenings at Hope Church here in Rotherham. We are a local church, but with a global vision, and it is a joy to be able to share regularly some thoughts and accounts on how things are going here at Hope Church.
This is a special time of year to be re-launching our church website. This April sees the world remember what gives Christianity power and authority. It is the Cross of Jesus Christ. This incredible event separates Christianity from all religions, beliefs and superstitions. Who else can proclaim a resurrected Lord, other than in God's only Son, Jesus Christ.
I recently had the opportunity to take my family to the city of my birth and where I grew up, Portsmouth. Though I lived there, I didn't do as many tourist visits as I should have. I remember going onto the warships and submarines as a child but as I got older, those visits became less frequent - even though they were on my door-step.
Therefore it was special to have shown Jo and the girls around the docks where we visited museums and warships such as HMS Warrior & HMS Victory. It was HMS Victory that fought in the battle of Trafalgar in 1805, when the British Flagship 'Victory' with Admiral Nelson led the British fleet to victory against the Spanish & French fleet.
I'm also reminded of another historic battle that took place ten years later in 1815, this time it was the Duke of Wellington leading the British against Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. This also led to a British victory, and then there was the challenge of getting news back to London.
On the evening of June 18, 1815 a man stood in the tower of Winchester Cathedral gazing anxiously out to sea. At last he found what he was looking for – a ship sending a signal by use of lights. He strained to see the message. All of England held its breath with him, wanting to know the outcome of the war between their military leader, the Duke of Wellington, and the French dictator Napoleon.
He stood in the tower of Winchester Cathedral waiting to relay the news that would determine England’s future. The signal came just as a heavy fog was rolling in. It only just got through, but how he wished it hadn’t, for the signal read: “Wellington defeated”. The man signalled to other stations and the news spread across England and the capital, bringing great gloom and sadness for three days.
On the third day, the fog lifted, and the message was sent again, this time in full: “Wellington defeated the enemy”. Joy? Happiness? Delirium! Wellington had won!
On Good Friday it seemed the message was “Christ defeated”, but three days later we discover that the message had not been received in full. This month as we conduct our Good Friday & Easter Service here at Hope Church, let us be reminded that the resurrection reverses what we initially thought and declares “Christ defeated the enemy!”
The pinnacle of Christianity lies at the door of the empty tomb, join us on Good Friday at 10.30am for an hour’s service remembering the incredible sacrifice of God's only Son, Jesus. Then I would like to invite you to our Easter Sunday Morning Meeting at 10.30, as we celebrate that the fog of death and the grave lifted, to reveal a resurrected Christ.
You will be made to feel very welcome, in this family church, right in the heart of Rotherham.