Andy and Sarah Lang have been married for 13 years and live in the Oxfordshire countryside.
Andy worked in operating theatres for 10 years prior to re-training and transferring to law. He currently practices as an In-House lawyer. Andy is a trustee of Heart Cry for Change, an international ministry led by Rachel Hickson. Andy has a beautiful 19 year old daughter, Chloe.
Sarah is a Paediatric Nurse. Alongside her nursing, historically she was employed as Youth Pastor at St Aldates Church in Oxford for many years and was involved on their leadership and worship team. Sarah also volunteered as part of the leadership team for Oxford based anti trafficking charity OXCAT.
Sarah is regularly invited to speak at a range of events, and has had opportunities both in writing for upcoming publications, and radio interviews.
Together, Andy and Sarah helped establish a new service at St Aldates Church, the Late Service, they led the New Wine youth venue for many years, and run the marriage preparation and marriage courses. Andy and Sarah are generally passionate about pastoring, leading, speaking and pointing people towards Jesus.
The Rhythm of Hope Vision
We are really excited to have the privilege of inviting you to the fourth Rhythm of Hope retreat day.
This vision has come about following a long journey for us both. Twenty years ago I (Sarah) was made aware that conceiving a baby in the future could be problematic. Since meeting and marrying Andy, we had almost thirteen years of doctors appointments, tests (some at times mortifying and embarrassing), results, hospital visits, research, prayer, consideration, mind-changing, hopes, dreams, “almosts”, disappointments, highs, lows, and everything else in-between, as we continued to hope, trust, pray, wait and try for a baby.
Knowing the pain and also the loneliness that infertility can bring, we have for many years been passionate to use our own experience to encourage others who are navigating a similar experience to us. We had always envisaged that we would do something once we had our ‘happy ending’ and resolution to our heartbreak, however we felt prompted to start The Rhythm of Hope ministry in the midst of our own fertility journey.
Five years ago the Lord kindly and gently, but very clearly, impressed upon us that it was time for us to break our very private and closely guarded silence, so we could speak out from the trenches of infertility, rather than from the promised land of a miracle babe-in-arms with our longings fulfilled.
So, we established the first Rhythm of Hope event in January 2016, and it was beyond all we could have hoped for. We had almost 60 couples in attendance that first year, and the same again each year since. It has been incredible to see what the Lord was doing from start to finish during the day, and has continued to do as we often receive wonderful testimonies from those who came.
During the events we have worshipped, prayed, talked, learned, laughed, cried a little and eaten a lot! By the end of the day, as the last candles were blown out, and any leftover home baking was lovingly distributed, so many of our guests left smiling, laughing, looking lighter, and more peaceful. More-so they left with hope renewed – not necessarily a hope that the long-awaited baby will materialise (although that of course remains our prayer), but a confident and assured hope that whatever the future brings, life, faith and love will be stronger.
The countless testimonies that we have received have been so moving, encouraging and reassuring that this new ministry is for such a time as this, and for each of you.
Once again we really want to throw open the invitation to everyone, whether you are coming as a first timer, or returning for the second, third or even fourth time – you are so welcome!
We come to you humbly, with understanding of the pain you are experiencing as you wait for children.
Since the last Rhythm of Hope event in 2018, you may have noticed or be aware that we ‘paused’ in hosting the Rhythm of Hope in January 2019. We had a change in the direction of our own story, which we did write to all our previous Rhythm of Hope friends and guests to update them on at the time.
In the Summer of 2018 we embarked upon what we had decided firmly would be our last attempt at fertility treatment and indeed the end of our journey in trying for a baby or children by any means. This was a very difficult and stressful time for us both, and recently having lost two transferred embryos in the Autumn of 2017, our hopes and expectations were at an all time low.
We felt we needed to be able to draw a line under our long journey and move on into new beginnings, with new dreams. To our absolute surprise and amazement the treatment was for the first time successful, and we celebrated the birth of our son, Ezra, in Autumn 2018 (7 weeks early).
We knew it would be inappropriate to lead the event whilst pregnant, hence pausing for a year. We also wanted to humbly seek God as to whether we felt it appropriate for us to continue leading this retreat day for you.
After much prayerful consideration, and following conversations with trusted pastoral advisors, we do feel it is right to continue leading and hosting the Rhythm of hope in January 2020.
We sincerely hope and pray that our own story, and more recent news will not dissuade, wound or discourage you, but instead speak of hope, as we have always intended to.
Wonderful as he is, this is by no means about Ezra, or “happily ever after” endings. It has been and always will be about Jesus. How He met us in the waiting. We have a much bigger message to share, and we hope and pray that our experiences over 20 years of fertility struggles will remain just as relevant and helpful to you all. We as always will ensure our speakers represent many different outcomes on this journey – not all of us have children, some are still trying and others have decided to stop trying.
So, in summary, the day is aimed at couples who are facing infertility for a physical or medical reason (including those who are experiencing secondary infertility), rather than those who have tragically lost children through bereavement, have chosen to foster or adopt, or have chosen not to have children.
We realise that every situation is unique, and so if you are in any doubt as to whether the day will relate to your individual situation please feel free to email us via the website.
The vision for the day is that you “come and be encouraged to journey well, regardless of the outcome”.
That may sound difficult to achieve, but our experience is that God is good, kind, faithful, loving and trustworthy, even when things do not go as we had most hoped or planned, and when we are left with questions, and hope deferred. We also know that our “miracle” can come in many forms and in the most surprising and beautiful of ways.
We truly hope that as a result of this retreat day we can all see Him again for who He is; not what He can, or may, or may not do, but just HIM. There is a lot of peace, healing and perspective to be found in His presence, so we will be praying that He comes and does what He intends to in each of our hearts, lives, bodies, marriages and souls…
Our greatest desire is that this day, at the start of a new year, will give you opportunity to retreat and get away as a couple, to be looked after a little, loved, prayed-for, understood, informed and refreshed.
Whilst we have aimed the day at couples (rather than those who are without children due to being single), if your spouse is unable to attend for any reason, you are of course welcome to attend yourself, or come with a friend or family member.
We are returning to the Harnhill Centre, a beautiful venue in the Cotswolds. You are welcome to come for the day, or why not consider making a weekend of it. Cirencester and the surrounding area are lovely, with many great places to stay.
As for the day itself, there will be worship, led by Lou Fellingham and Philly Dunscombe (nee Philly Lopez), who are both dear friends and extremely gifted in leading people into the presence of God and singing truth over lives and hearts.
There will be a variety of talks, the heartbeat of which will be to bring a breath of fresh air to your story. We are delighted that Sheridan Voysey, Rachel Gardener, Anya Sizer, Kenneth Barnes and Saltwater and Honey will be joining us as our keynote speakers.
A couple of the sessions will be presented similarly as in previous years, as we firmly believe their message and content are integral and vital to the day. However we also have new and fresh sessions coming from Rachel Gardner and Sheridan Voysey as well as some new stories from our sofa couples, so there is much to enjoy whether you are a first timer or returning. Kenneth Barnes spoke brilliantly on the ethics and theology side of things at our first event, so it is wonderful to welcome him again; this session will be via a link from Boston where he now lives and works.
There will be plenty of opportunity for prayer if you would like, but there will be no pressure to do so. Whilst this is not intended to be a physical healing day (although we of course hope and believe that God will come and do what only He can do), we have a hand-picked team who would love to pray for you as a couple, to talk with you, and listen to the Lord with you.
If you like, you can bring your winter-woolies/wellies and go for a walk to digest the content of the day and have time alone or as a couple… there will be breaks throughout the day to do this, or to sip a hot drink and eat cake!
We are really excited about the return of our popular “sofa couples” feature, which will give you chance to hear stories and testimonies from pretty much every angle of infertility. This session will explore the various options given to couples, such as adoption, IVF, egg and sperm donation, embryo adoption, and will touch upon miscarriage. We can hear first-hand what some of these families have prayerfully chosen as their resolution in building a family (with and without children) and how they got there/how it feels now, and we will be able to reflect on how their decisions may help us.
All of our sofa couples have experienced infertility themselves, some have gone on to have children through medical intervention, others have chosen to adopt, and others are without children. We had so many wonderful emails and testimonies from the last events, of how helpful this session was, so we hope you can enjoy it, whether coming for the first time or returning for more.
Obviously these are incredibly sensitive topics, about which each individual will have their own views, and will seek God in their own way over time. But please be assured that the day will be discreet, private and confidential. The hope is, that there will be something helpful and encouraging for everyone, and a reassurance you are certainly not alone.
Our hope and prayer is that you will feel able to come as you are, in whatever state that is, and to hear from God as a couple.
With our love,
Andy and Sarah Lang xx