Our wonderful 'Hallelujah' banner has been lovingly made for our us by a church in South Africa.
The banner came to Hampton Hill as a result of the arrival from South Africa of Rev. Terry Sparks and his family in 2002. A terrible tragedy had befallen one of the families of their church in Johannesburg soon after their leaving to come to England. A young man had just taken his fiancé safely home when he was hi-jacked and shot dead outside her home. You can imagine the shock and the profound distress caused by this horrible event.
The aunt, a member of the banner sewing group in Johannesburg, had received some pictures of the interior of the United Reformed Church in Hampton Hill. There she noticed a banner of hope and encouragement just like many of the ones in her South African Church. She decided to express her faith in the resurrection hope of Jesus Christ by making a banner depicting the rising sun on Easter morning with the inscription 'Hallelujah'. With a friend, she has put together a gift of love to send to Terry's congregation, forging a link, invisible but undeniable, that binds our hearts across the miles. It brings a message to everyone in Hampton offering hope in difficulty, promise of new opportunities, and a sense of joy at the beauty of each new day because Jesus lives.
Out of a tragedy, a long way away, local people have been able to find support and encouragement to cope with grief and to face with anticipation the opportunities of tomorrow. We too are confident in the same living love of Jesus Christ that a South African family has been able to rely on in their time of deepest sorrow.
Thank you to the sewing group in Johannesburg. Your have created a lasting symbol of love and faith and is deeply appreciated by those that have the fortune to see it.
Hallelujah indeed! - a beautiful gift to everyone in Hampton.