Hope & Gloria Update
Seven years ago, two women had a dream to see Coleraine transformed into a city full of people who knew how much they were valued and loved. They dreamed of a place where people had access to services and clothing that helped them step into freedom and hope. Their dream birthed a beautiful shop that became known as Hope & Gloria.
Jude and Georgina had a passion to see community restored within the arts on the North Coast so they hosted jazz nights, art exhibitions and theatre performances. It was a home to dreams being birthed and becoming reality.
Over the years more dreams became reality and began to expand, including our hairdressers, beauty room, sewing classes and craft clubs. Any given day you could come in to see something new being created and cultivated.
Alongside the many different projects there were, the team of volunteers who helped run the shop expanded and grew too. It was a place where customers and team alike could feel welcome and feel part of something bigger than themselves.
We watched as this place inspired hope in other businesses in our city. Railway Road had been a desolate part of town and in the financial crash it looked like it might never recover. Over the past seven years we have seen it come to life once again with hairdressers, fashion and bridal beauty.
Over time Jude and Georgina found new dreams to step into and passed on the leadership of the shop to Tori and then Rachel. Each leader brought their own unique development to the dream and inspired further growth in the ministry and reach of the shop. They connected us with local agencies to provide some of the services we knew our community needed most.
Three years ago, I stepped into leading the shop and pushed further into what ministry could look like on a day to day basis in the shop and how we could press into more collaboration in our city. We saw our volunteers developed and encouraged in their skill set and move on to employment. We also saw our annual £1 Sale expand from just our shop to include the other charity shops within Coleraine.
Every person involved in this dream over the years has pushed in everyday to be obedient to the new thing that God was doing in our city. That’s why it has been ever changing and evolving. About 12 months ago, I was doing this once again and felt the Lord prompting me to dream bigger. I felt God say that this was a year to put my all into the shop, to push into developing new ways to reach our city but also to hold it loosely and be ok if the shop no longer existed at the end of the process. As I did this I started to see how much the city had changed over the years; how grocery stores and Poundland offered brand new clothing cheaper than we were offering preloved clothing. How once the Hope Centre opened, they were providing all those services and connections that the shop had dreamed of way back in the beginning. Hope & Gloria had set out with a vision that seemed to be fulfilled.
As a team we dreamed about what new thing we could do through the shop. We had many ‘good’ ideas but we never landed on a ‘God’ idea. We also watched as it became increasingly difficult to find team. We said goodbye to some key members of our staff team and watched as the tension between running a business and a ministry became harder to manage.
Due to all of these changes, we have made the very difficult decision to hit pause on Hope & Gloria. We say pause intentionally because we do believe that there’s something there that we may revisit in the future, but right now we don’t feel like we have the grace to push forward into everything that Hope & Gloria currently is. We have decided to lay it down in order to lift up the new thing that God is doing in our city. We know that this will be a sad time for many of you as you say goodbye to a much-loved part of our community and family but we also see it as an exciting time! We know that as we all lay Hope & Gloria down together, God has something new for each of us to step into. There is a new dream that God is wanting to see birthed and we really can’t wait to see what that looks like.
We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been part of this ministry, whether you have volunteered or supported us through prayer, near or far. We are so grateful for your support and encouragement and we look forward to partnering with you in what ‘All Things New’ looks like for our city in this new season.
Steph Houston, Hope & Gloria Shop Manager
We’d love to invite you to pop down to Hope & Gloria over the next few weeks to celebrate with us - to celebrate our volunteers, thank God for all that He has done & pray for our town.
We’ll be holding some great events too - including our £1 Sale (Tues 23rd - Sat 27th) & Farewell Party (Sat 27th)!
We’d love to see you there.