Hope serves up Christmas banquet

The annual Hope Banquet was this year held at the Salvation Army hall in Belper Marketplace.

Residents from Riverside English Churches Housing were invited, with some coming from the local hostel in Belper and some from Heanor.

It was a great afternoon with Christmas dinner and entertainment. About 20 people a mixture from the Riverside Group and four of the churches in Belper enjoyed the afternoon together.

Thanks go to all the volunteers who helped to make this happen.

Tim and Mandy Moore

The cup of Christmas cheer

Once again, Hope for Belper will be aiming to add a bit of seasonal warmth by handing out cups of hot chocolate at the town’s annual Christmas Eve carol service in the Market Place.

This will be the third such project for the team following similar handouts on New Year’s Eve 2007 and Christmas Eve 2008.

The carols get under way at 8pm in the Market Place. This year’s event will be led by Belper Baptist Church minister Ken Reynard.

Christmas memories

100_11261Hope for Belper people congregate in the Salvation Army Hall on the Market Place after handing out hundreds of mugs of hot chocolate on Christmas Eve, 2008 – the concluding event of ‘Hope 08.’ The initiative, now known as ‘Hope for Belper,’ will continue to carry out more random acts of kindness during 2009, starting with something called The Basic Idea – more details here very soon!

Hot Chocolate Surprise

Midnight came, the fireworks went off and the market place began to fill up!

Some people emerged from the pubs for a breath of fresh air and a leg stretch, whilst others headed for chips or a kebab; some were in high spirits others were heading home. Common to all though, was the look of happy surprise as we offered them a hot chocolate and a Happy New Year.

Sixteen intrepid (some might say crazy!) folks, brought a smile to the faces of revellers in the Market as jugs of hot chocolate were brought out from the Sally Army building and served from a table set up by the pedestrian crossing.

As you can see from the picture many folks accepted the free gift and joined with us in the sense of fun that this ‘Cup of Kindness’ generated. Thanks to the publicans who joined in by providing the biscuits – you know who you are!

All in all it was felt that this event had set a great tone for Hope 08 and that our presence on the Market Place had been a really positive influence.

Thanks to everyone who prayed for the success of this endeavour.

Gareth Greenwood