Hope08 Challenges Christians to Give 1 Million Hours of Kindness

Hope 2008, a yearlong grassroots initiative, is challenging Christians across the United Kingdom to give a million hours of kindness during the country's public holiday on the first Monday of May.

Christians and churches of all denominations and traditions will come together throughout the day to undertake a practical action that meets a particular need within the local community.

Mike Pilavachi, co-founder of Hope 2008, together with The Message Trust's Andy Hawthorne and Youth for Christ head Roy Crowne, encouraged Christians to demonstrate God's love through their actions.

"The million hours of kindness is a million hours of worship – it's as much an expression of love for God as it is an expression of his love for others," he said.

The initiative, "HOPE Where You Live," is the third of the five Hope08 "high points." The high points represent seasons of activity at different points of the year that encourage churches to engage in activities with the knowledge that other Christians across the UK are doing the same thing. HOPE Where You Live will be followed up by HOPE Explored, a season of inviting the community to explore the Christian faith in September, and A Gift of HOPE at Christmas.

Some of the activities taking place include graffiti cleaning, picking up litter and painting community murals. Other more interactive acts of kindness will harness local people to help in the running of parent and toddler groups and community clean-ups.

Hope08's holiday action also brings together some well established events, including The Noise, in which Christians across Bristol show God's love in practical ways, and Soul Action, set up by Tearfund and Soul Survivor to help Christians be good news for the world's poorest by responding to God's heart for justice.

To ensure that every single act of kindness is counted, a new facility has been set up in the "For Churches" section of the Hope08 website (www.hope08.com) where churches can log on and report their donated hours.

Hours from the entire year will count towards the target of a million hours, with May regarded as the peak for activity.

Hope 2008 is an initiative of the churches of Britain and Ireland which is helping to demonstrate Christian faith in action and to explain the meaning of that faith in villages, towns and cities throughout the UK. The Web site HopeInfo.co.uk has been set up in support of this initiative by the Christian Enquiry Agency, which works on behalf of the churches of Britain and Ireland to reconnect people with God and to offer them hope for the future, and Church Army.