• Affectionate farewells to long-serving Church House staff

    david tatem News images 554x415Colleagues and staff, past and present, gathered to say farewell to two United Reformed Church ‘stalwarts’ in July. Wendy Cooper, Administrator for Church and Society (Mission), and the Revd David Tatem, Secretary for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, both retired after collectively serving 74 years with the URC.

    Wendy, the longest serving member of staff at Church House, retired on 31 July after 36 years’ service with the URC. David was honoured for his 38 years of ministry with the Church.

    Wendy’s faithfulness and professionalism in her work spanning more than three decades was at the heart of the tributes during her farewell lunch. Opening the proceedings, Francis Brienen – Deputy General Secretary (Mission) – praised Wendy for having ‘survived’ at least six Church and Society Secretaries and 32 General Assemblies.

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  • Thanksgiving service for Windermere Centre: ‘All have played their part’

    windmere thanksgiving 2 News images 554x415Carver Uniting Church hosted a thanksgiving service on Saturday 15 July for the life of the Windermere Centre, which has closed after 31 years as a much-loved residential training, retreat and hospitality centre for the United Reformed Church.

    The congregation represented people from across the denomination, including former staff, members of the Windermere management committee and its predecessors, members and friends of Carver Uniting Church who had volunteered at the centre and supported its work, as well as people who have run and attended courses over the years.

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  • From church hall to community hub with ‘Mead 500’

    Mead News images 554x415Why resurrect an old church hall when you could build a new centre for local people instead? The Revd Jenny Mills explains how the Newport Pagnell United Reformed Church family has come together to fundraise for a community building. 

    It is an exciting time in the life of the church and we have just launched the final phase in our fundraising efforts to create a wonderful community resource in the centre of Newport Pagnell.

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  • New Beginnings

    I have consumed vast quantities of bacon butties, scones, sausage squares, sausage links as every activity seems to be MarieCrop2 Web 002accompanied by food.  But as Revd Peter Brain, a former Synod Moderator and Church and Society secretary once observed ‘a church and community that eats together, also grows together’.

    CRCW Marie Trubic talks about New Beginningsas she embarks on a new term in Glasgow with the recently accredited CRCW project at Priesthill and Shawlands URC's. Read her reflection here: New Beginnings.

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  • Levenshulme Women's Group - A reflection by Liz Kam

    “One of the privileges of being a CRCWM (Church Related Community Work Minister) is having time. Knowing that your post willinspire Levenshulme WebPhoto last at least 5 years, and may be even 10, gives a CRCWM an opportunity to develop strong working relationships and trust with local people, and to walk with them through journeys of transformation.”

    In the second reflection for June, CRCWM Liz Kam talks about her work with an inspirational Women's group in Levenshulme: "...they are a flourishing group of women committed to breaking down barriers of difference, ethnicity, age, culture and religion".

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  • As the dust of the election settles, much remains uncertain

    Four days after the country went to the polls, Grace Pengelly, the URC Secretary for Church and Society, reflects on the uncertain political landscape we are currently inhabiting.

    Since Theresa May called the snap election on 18 April, politicians and political parties have campaigned intensively, seeking to secure their place in our next government. Voters were encouraged to reflect on the challenges that face the whole of the UK, as well as those specifically affecting our most marginalised individuals and communities. Many of our churches will have played a crucial role in this process, hosting hustings that provided a platform for parliamentary candidates to present their policies to the local electorate.

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  • EVH – and why it has become a vital IT resource for a community.

    ‘Electronic Village Halls’ as described by the local council of Sunderland’s IT team are nowcomputer image Helen2 a really important resource for members of the community without access to a computer.

    Redundant computers from the local council were made available to community projects and Helen Stephenson, CRCWm at the Sunderland and Boldon project, saw this as an opportune time to get involved: “With the knowledge at the time of the introduction of Universal Credit, which among other things would mean people seeking work and benefits would need access to a computer to fulfil what was required of them, and the closure of job centres and libraries where people could currently access IT, this presented us with an opportunity.”

    Read how conversations with residents, and other local organisations at a consultation event lead to the CRCW project in Sunderland and Boldon developing their own Electronic Village Hall, which has grown from strength to strength:

    Sunderland and Boldon's EVA.

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  • Community Allsorts

    According to Community Minister Pat Oliver, the variety of work within CRCW ministry is a bit like her favourite sweAllsortsets: Allsorts, because ‘they come in all shapes, sizes and colours, have different flavours which can clash or complement and they make the world feel better!’

    Find out more about the church related work within Southampton’s community here: 'Community Allsorts'

    You can read more about the CRCW project at Avenue St Andrews and Freemenatle in Southampton here.

    Avenue St Andrews and Freemantle, Southampton
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  • Constance Coltman centenary celebrations

    constance c News images 554x415On 17 September 2017, the United Reformed Church and the Congregational Federation in the UK will mark the centenary of the ordination of Constance Coltman as a Congregational minister. She was the first woman to be ordained in a mainstream British denomination – and she continued her pioneering role by remaining active in ministry as a married woman and mother.

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  • Panthers and Parsnips and Light by Lucy Berry

    panthers and parsnips News images 554x415Dreaming vague dreams which our souls can’t afford,
    harping on memories broken but stored,
    trusting in any cold thing we can hoard,
    bounded by majesty, frequently bored,

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  • Thanksgiving offered for the 30-year service of the Windermere Centre, as closure decision is taken

    windmere News images 554x415Following long and difficult deliberations, and acknowledging a profound debt of gratitude for its unique, 30-year contribution to the life of the United Reformed Church, Mission Council reached a decision to close the Windermere Centre. 

    The full text of the resolutions passed by Mission Council on 13 and 14 May read as follows:  

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  • Mission Council round-up day one

    All Mission Council papers are available online.

    Day One: Friday 12 May 2017

    Mission Council begun with opening worship. Following the Opening Worship, in which the Revd Kevin Watson, Moderator of General Assembly, preached, Mission Council dealt with some matters of basic administration – including the appointment of Andy Braunston as minutes secretary, introduction of all new members, acceptance of the minutes from the last meeting of Mission Council in October 2016 and John Proctor, General Secretary, noted that the Revd Bernard Thorogood, former General Secretary (1980-1992) would turn 90 ‘in a few weeks’ time’ and birthday greetings were to be sent to him from Mission Council.

    Paper X1: The Fourth Scottish Church Census

    The Revd Dr David Pickering, moderator of the National Synod of Scotland, shared with Mission Council some key outcomes for the URC of the 2016 Scottish Census of Churches, the results of which were published in April 2017.

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  • Faith in Politics: JPIT resources for 2017 General Election

    faith in politics News images 554x415As political parties step up their General Election campaigns, the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) is encouraging Christians to consider not only how they should vote but also what their churches should be saying and doing in the run-up to 8 June.

    JPIT’s latest resource, Faith in Politics, addresses four issues around the 2017 General Election – the UK’s relationship with the European Union; migration, forced displacement and the UK asylum system; poverty and economic inequality in the UK and the UK’s role in the world.

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  • Mission Council meets this weekend

    The United Reformed Church’s Mission Council is meeting at the High Leigh Conference Centre in Hertfordshire from 12 to 14 May 2017.

    Mission Council is the executive body of the General Assembly, and meets twice a year to reflect on and make decisions about the day-to-day life of the Church. Items on the agenda for this meeting include a debate and decision on the future of the Windermere Centre; the Church’s context for mission, with reflection on the coming General Election and on our commitment to God’s creation, together with a paper from the synod moderators, on ‘where is God calling the URC?’.  All Mission Council papers are now available online.

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  • How can the Church respond to those with memory loss in your community?

    This month, we have the first of our two CRCW reflections for May from community minister; Mal Breeze. Mal works for the North and East Blackburn CRCW project and 'The Open Door Memory Cafe' is one of the many community projects introduced to Blackburn. MemoryCafe Web

    'It was very clear from the beginning that one church could not respond alone and that it had to be ecumenical if it was going to succeed and so there are four denominations involved, the Methodist Church, Anglican Church, Baptist Church and the URC.'

    “The Open Door Memory Café was established in response to the needs of those living with memory loss in the community and the church. It is an ecumenical project, offering an informal, friendly and welcoming space where people with various forms of memory loss or dementia can come together for a cup of tea, chat and optional activities and homemade- cakes in proper China cups.”

    You can read the full article here: How can the Church respond to those with memory loss in your community?

    To read more about Mal Breeze in Blackburn, see our Projects page here.

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  • Call for United Reformed Church not to forget refugees at the ‘door of Europe’

    door of europe News images 554x415Jake Convery, United Reformed Church Youth Assembly representative to the URC's General Assembly and Mission Council, recently returned from a Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) fact-finding trip to visit refugee projects in Italy.

    The professional organist and music teacher was one of seven young men from churches across Britain and Ireland to hear first-hand testimony from refugees and support workers on the islands of Sicily and Lampedusa, the ‘door of Europe’.

    Jake, organist at Congleton URC and director of music at Saint Andrew's URC, Hampstead, said: ‘The trip to Italy was eye opening and educational as well as being incredibly heartbreaking.’

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  • 'May' by United Reformed Church poet-minister Lucy Berry

    may poem News images 554x415My grandmother could not allow
    the tiniest amount of May
    inside our house. She knew it was
    as dangerous as Judgement Day.
     
    And peacock feathers brought bad luck,
    and wearing clothes of any green;
    all nature-superstitions of
    a people distant as a dream.
     
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  • Easter reflection: continuing the journey with the risen Christ!

    easter day News images 554x415 cross blue skyThe Revd Kevin Watson, Moderator of the General Assembly, reflects on ‘love so amazing, so divine’ this Easter – and always

    I can certainly understand Cuthbert needing to get away from the responsibilities of his ministry to spend time just with God, in prayer and reflection, Bible study and fasting. All my life the Lenten journey has, for me, been a very personal and individual one. Brought up in the Methodist tradition, the preparation for Easter actually began at new year with the awesome Covenant Service, in which we invite God to take our lives for his use. 

    I would use an old Methodist hymn: ‘O the bitter shame and sorrow’ the last line of each verse inviting us deeper into a personal relationship with Jesus. The first verse ends: ‘All of self and none of thee’ – I could confess this. The second verse: ‘some of self and some of thee’ I could acknowledge but verse three challenged me with: ‘less of self and more of thee’ and I never got to pray honestly the last verse: ‘none of self and all of thee.’

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  • Good Friday reflection: The death of hope?

    Good friday 554x415The Revd Jacky Embrey, moderator of the Mersey Synod of the United Reformed Church, tries to comprehend the anguish of Christ’s followers on Good Friday

    ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ (American Spiritual)

    However much we reflect on the suffering and crucifixion of Christ, we can’t put ourselves in his shoes, or in those of any of his followers – for we know what happened on Easter Day, and that changes everything. 

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  • Maundy Thursday reflection: ‘My body, my blood’

    milada vigerova 554x415The Revd Roberta Rominger invites us to join Jesus at the Last Supper and in the Garden of Gethsemane

    Enter the story. That’s the invitation of Maundy Thursday: imagine yourself there. Join the disciples as they gather in the upper room in Jerusalem and allow Jesus to wash your feet. Use your imagination — that’s what it’s for. See him kneeling in front of you with his towel and basin. Let him wash away the dust and grime of whatever road you’ve been walking this Lent.

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