I really enjoyed preaching at Hope Church, Harrogate on Sunday. Back in Feb 2008, I stayed in Leeds with John & Kate Payne, who told me about their plans to move to Harrogate and plant a new church. It was really inspiring, therefore to turn up 11 years later and find more than 200 people meeting on a Sunday morning at Ashville College, which is a great venue for the church they founded. It was great to stand next to John in the worship time and see the growth they’d led the church into all around us. Funnily enough John & Kate are now off to Vancouver, Canada for another church planting adventure there, with our great friends Rhys and Sara Scott. So church growth in Yorkshire! Yes? Once again, I am left reflecting on the fact that on the news I’m told about declining numbers of people attending church in the UK, and about all sorts of indicators suggesting Britain is sliding away from Christianity. But I am constantly coming across fresh expressions of church like Hope Harrogate, who are growing steadily. It was wonderful to have lunch afterwards with the church’s new leaders, Adam & Jess Price and Pete & Beth Marfleet and their families, and I’m excited to be going back to serve them again in January for a church-based town-wide mission.