28 June 2013
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
I have just returned from the Guildhall in London, where I joined hundreds of others in celebrating with Archbishop Desmond Tutu as he collected his £1.1 million Templeton Prize.
The former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town was awarded the prestigious prize for his lifelong work in advancing love and forgiveness which have helped to liberate people around the world. Judges noted that Archbishop Tutu's "steadfastness to core Christian principles such as love and forgiveness has broken chains of hurt, pain and all too common instincts for revenge, and instead, has advanced the spiritual liberation of people around the world". He has shone a light of hope into some of the world's darkest places. Once again while putting together this magazine, I have been struck afresh by the realisation that we are people of hope. The hope offered looks different in different contexts, but it is hope all the same. We are servants of a God who is the source of all hope, for all people – whether married, single, divorced or widowed (page 16).
We can speak messages of hope into dark places such as suicide and mental illness, explored on page 20. We can bring hope to the lives of children living in poverty around the world by supporting charities working in those areas (page 10). The Chinese Church in London offers hope to many Chinese people in the diaspora (page 18). Salvo the clown offers glimpses of hope in the humdrum and the everyday of Southend's busy shopping area (page nine). And because of our knowledge of an eternal hope – even after we die – we are set free from the sting of death and free to prepare for it (page four).