The story of our church is really just the story of lots of lives transformed by the love and power of God. We don’t pretend to be particularly good or impressive people, but each member has a real-life story of how they have discovered forgiveness, healing and hope through believing in Jesus and experiencing his love. These stories all look different, but one thing binds us all together – that through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection our broken, sinful and hopeless lives have been fixed. We have been freed from guilt and shame and we now have the hope of eternity with God – not because of anything that we have done, but because God is a loving and merciful God!
Because this message is such great news, Hope Church Rhondda was started in December 2012. Ben who leads the church moved with his wife Lois from Ponty to Pandy (cue fireman Sam joke!) after hearing God speak about starting a church in Rhondda at the age of 17. After many years waiting to see how God’s plan would unfold, Ben and Lois, along with one other couple, moved to Tonypandy without much more than a fist full of faith in God’s promise that ‘He will build his church’.
Since these early days, God has been taking us on an exciting adventure of faith. In October 2013 we started meeting weekly in Bethel Chapel in the centre of Tonypandy. We’ve also been running youth clubs, supporting those who are in debt and helping bring justice to the poor. However, just as importantly as sharing God’s love through these different projects, we have been learning together how we can best follow Jesus to bring glory to God because we have each discovered that this is what makes our lives really worth living.
We have seen lots of people added to the family of the church over the months. Some were already believers in Jesus, but others have joined our community, learnt about Jesus and discovered the great news of hope for themselves. We are now a growing community of local people of all ages, circumstances and interests. The thing that holds us together is simply that we have all experienced and are being transformed by God’s love and grace.
As the church continues to move forward, we are excited about the journey that we are on together. We’ve no idea where it will take us, but we are believing that God would use our weak and insignificant lives to help many people across Rhondda find hope through the love and forgiveness of Jesus. We pray that one day every community up and down these beautiful valleys would have, right at its centre, a thriving and vibrant church where people are discovering hope and experiencing the love, peace, joy and life that only God can bring.