Story: Lisa Harrison
Photo: Sarah Watts
“Hope” is a national Christian event to celebrate New Year. It involves seven days of constant prayer, with people attending as much or as little as they like during that time. Each city in the UK has a Church acting as a focal point and, this year, the Rock Christian Centre on Carlisle Street hosted Hope 08 for Sheffield.
The premise of “Hope” is to bring longterm and lasting change and unity to communities. Phil France, who attends the Rock regularly (and even had a hand in building it) said, “It’s wonderful! Because there’s so much prayer going on, there’s a great atmosphere; last night the worship just took off!” Packed in with well over 100 people, the Messenger attended the evening service on 4th January when Nike Adebajo, from the King’s Centre in Nether Edge, was conducting proceedings. The service was extremely lively and informal, with people dancing, singing and chatting to each other happily. The event was so successful that the Rock has already been asked to host next year’s “Hope”.
Pastor Jon Watts gave me a tour and showed me a children’s corner, two quiet areas and a prayer wall where people could place their requests for loved ones. Every continent on Earth was represented here, from countries as far-flung as Peru and Israel.
Helen Porteous said, “There’s a huge mix of people here. It’s really great having lots of people from different areas praying for this area, increasing their positive perception of it.”
Nike Adebajo prayed for Burngreave to become known as a place for peace and unity among Churches. Later she told the Messenger, “Hope 08 is a great opportunity to demonstrate the love of Jesus and to bless Sheffield. This is a chance to experience hope for people who otherwise have no hope.”