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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

18 September 2017: Jon Piper, Hope Church

I Love This Town

I love this town. It’s a beautiful place, with a great community atmosphere and good facilities.

My son played his first football match of the season this week and I was reminded of the enormous time and effort put into making the numerous youth sports teams run in Petersfield. The volunteers, the parents and the young people work together to provide an excellent facility. While this isn’t unique to Petersfield, it’s an important part of what makes Petersfield a great place to live.

As a youth worker and a leader of one of the churches in the area, I am also reminded daily that broad brush statements about Petersfield being a great place to live ignore the experiences of many people in our town. Our young people experience the same pressures and harm as those throughout the rest of the UK, including drug misuse and self-harm. The mental and physical health problems experienced by people in our town are no less than elsewhere and, as an older population than the national average, we’re becoming more vulnerable to these issues. Significant numbers of people in our town experience the grind of daily poverty and especially so as the cost of renting or buying a home in Petersfield increases beyond the reach of many.

My intention is not to induce guilt-fuelled sadness for Petersfield residents (that would do nobody any good). I am reminded, however, that my proper response, as a Christian, to a wonderful gift from God is not pride but thankfulness and generosity. This is a response that can be witnessed in the volunteering of time and money, the quiet generosity that goes on through Petersfield every day.

Petersfield’s excellence reminds me of the faithful, generous God who created it. I can only respond by seeing the needs around me and mimicking His generosity.


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