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Roy Crowne is best known as the former National Director of British Youth For Christ where he served for 28 years. Coming from an engineering background Roy studied Theology locally at Moorlands College in Christchurch. Roy’s passion is to see the Church working together for the purpose of mission and as co-founder of Hope 08, alongside Andy Hawthorne OBE (The Message Trust) and Mike Pilavachi (Soul Survivor), Roy is now Executive Director of HOPE, a mission initiative in word and action, together with the Church, for this big year of mission of 2014.
In 2013 at the request of the LEAF Committee Roy visited the New Forest town of Lyndhurst to share his vision of HOPE with a gathering of local church leaders. HOPE: Across the New Forest is the fruit of this meeting.
In early 2014 LEAF Administrator Brian Edgeley interviewed Roy Crowne and asked him about the national Initiative he was backing was all about and what its legacy would be.
RC: HOPE was born out of Hope ’08, where we encouraged churches to serve their communities in both words and actions where they could work together, and do something more, to take a step of faith, beyond what might be on their normal programme. As a result of the success of that, in 2010 an evaluation took place and HOPE 2014 was born. This initiative holds the same values but the legacy that we’d love to leave is one of a rhythm of mission brought into the Church’s life and the community’s life communicating the Gospel in both word and deed, through Easter, Summer festivals, Harvest and Christmas.
RC: HOPE is a movement not an organisation and we have seeded a movement to cast vision in every village, town and city, to see the local church at the centre of its community. It is totally grassroots which enables it to just be a brand people use which we can resource and help service, to help them to be effective in serving their community. It is not a government initiative; a number of Christian ministries have come together to serve this initiative and every major denomination, including the Presidents of Churches Together have supported this initiative, which has enabled the breadth of the Church to take part but for HOPE to be really effective, it is in seeing the local church, in a New Forest village or town, effectively reaching its community, whilst realising they’re part of a national initiative as well.
RC: What really excites me is when we start to see Jesus’ prayer fulfilled in John 17 and Psalm 133; when churches can work together, we are so much stronger. It was my privilege to share at the LEAF breakfast where there was a strong sense of God’s Spirit and a commitment to use 2014 as a catalyst for churches to work together. As that happens, I am convinced that God’s favour and blessing will rest on his Church in the New Forest area. I am also really encouraged with the partnership that’s been established with Moorlands in mobilising a whole stack of churches to serve their communities over the May weekend. My prayer is that as a result of this year in the New Forest, we will see the transformation in individual lives and that this year will put the Church right at the heart of its community.
RC: Obviously 2014 we pray will be a significant year for the Church but we also recognise it is the centenary of the beginning of World War One. My hope is to see the Church’s presence and Christian community at the heart of these commemorations, in partnership with local schools, for Remembrance and then Christmas Silent Night carol services. I pray that as people do reflect that this is a real opportunity to remember that the Church is there to serve, bless, encourage and support during those times. We have produced resources to support you, for schools, around Remembrance, liturgical resources as well as community remembrance events. Please see our website for more details: www.hopetogether.org.uk/greaterlove
My dream for this year in the New Forest would be that HOPE 2014 builds on what LEAF has begun and that going forward into the future, the Church in the context of relationship for the purpose of mission, brings about transformation in the whole New Forest region.
BE: Thank you.