• Time to think and learn - A reflection by CRCW Alison Dalton

    Alison HikingIn this reflection, we hear about Alison's time during her recent sabbatical and how important it was for her to go on her spiritual journey and to reflect upon the last 10 years of service.

    Alison spent some of her time continuing the embroidery she had begun, as a memorial piece for the Building Bridges Projectand says: ‘To achieve this I have read a lot, tried new techniques, which have included exploring my own creativity, spent time in special places and with my family.  This has been a  time to work differently,  to take stock, to learn, to be challenged and to refresh my own spirituality.’

    To read Alison’s full reflection, click here.

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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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  • A Students' Reflection by Vicky Longbone

    'After talking to many residents and different organisations we realised the need to bring these people together, and be a voice for those in need.' Vicky reflection picture

    This month we hear from one of our Church Related Community Work students about the impact her placement at Weoley Castle Community Church has made: 'Working alongside Mark Tubby (CRCW in post) has been an insightful pleasure and together we have worked to bring social justice to a highly deprived area'.

    You can read the full article from Vicky here: A Students' reflection

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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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  • Swansea Night Shelter by CRCW Rosie Buxton

    Swansea webChurch Related Community Worker, Rosie Buxton has been a volunteer at Swansea Night Shelter since it started seven years ago and Christ Well United Reformed Church has been used as one of the venues during this time. Swansea Hope had introduced the idea to the churches in Swansea, working alongside the statuary bodies and the voluntary agencies who work with the homeless in the area.

    Paul Mort, Swansea Night Shelter Manager says: “Broadly, 7 churches open up their doors at night to welcome homeless/rough sleepers who have been referred to us by agencies in the city. At each venue they receive warm and nourishing food, good company and a warm, dry and above all, safe place to sleep”.

    Paul describes how useful it has been to have Rosie, with such a wealth of experience, to work with him: “Rosie has been a great example to me of showing how the church can actually have a significant impact in a community. It has also been good to work alongside someone who, whether she acknowledges or not, exhibits so many of the Fruits of the Spirit in ways which are not pompous or 'spiritual' but earthed in reality.”

    You can read Rosie's full article here.

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  • Feast and Festivals - My neighbourhood by Simon Loveitt

    “Church Related Community Work Ministry is about working to bring about change and transformation in a local Simon Reflection cropchurch and the neighbourhood” according to CRCW Simon Loveitt. He continues:

    “Tackling the big issues which affect people’s lives locally are central to that work – whether that is the issue of unemployment, poverty, health, quality of life, environmental issues or community coheshion.”

    To see how Simon and the CRCW project at Sheffield Manor work to promote community cohesion, with various community events and festivals, please read Simon’s reflection: Feast and Festivals – My neighbourhood.

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  • Multicultural church – a reason to rejoice

    We are a multicultural church. And in turbulent times that's reason to celebrate, says URC General Secretary John Proctor

    The recent EU Referendum has raised questions for many people in Britain about the nature of community, and about what it means to belong together. So it is worth recalling one set of beliefs and practices that matter deeply to us in the URC.

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  • Remembering Jo Cox

    Kevin Watson, Moderator of the URC's Yorkshire Synod, reflects on the life and tragic death of Jo Cox

    On Thursday afternoon, my wife and I drove through Birstall and Batley, passing hundreds of people going about their lives, totally unaware of the horrific murder of the local MP Jo Cox, just streets away. These are people of all ages, ethnic groups and faiths living together in peace, a great witness to successful multicultural community.

    This is the community in which Jo Cox grew up, the community she promoted, defended, and for which she worked tirelessly.

    Her vision for a just and peaceful world was lived out in her work with Oxfam, and her support for refugees and the marginalised across the world. Locals will tell of her equal commitment for all her constituents.

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  • A prayer following the shootings in Orlando, Florida

    God of peace,
      amid confusion and fear, will you show your face;
      where all is grief and shock, may your grace be gently known.

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  • Building community isn’t easy...

    Blog AnnH WebThis week, we hear from CRCW Ann Honey and share her own blog post: https://mamhoney.com/ 

    "Building community isn’t easy, we chatted about this while we were knitting squares for who knows what – trying to find some kind of “focus”, even a temporary one, that might bring people together – not necessarily always agreeing with each other, but at least facing in the same direction."

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  • Amen to That?

    Our Father…
    And can I, truly, say ‘Amen’ to that?
    Whose father is He? Mine or yours or Theirs?
    When, honestly, if They fell down the stairs,
    evaporated on the evening air, I’d rather.
    Have I said ‘Amen’ to Our Father?

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  • Alleluia! Christ is risen!

    The Revd Susan Durber, minister at Taunton United Reformed Church, is overcome with joy visiting the empty tomb

    The more I become familiar with death, the more I find I believe in the resurrection. I’ve reached that stage of life, probably rather early, where so many people I have loved have died. Death is no stranger any more, no great unknown, but one of the boring facts of life which keeps reminding me of its existence.

    I was recently in Jerusalem with, among others, a Franciscan priest. While we were there he went, very early one morning, to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where he celebrated Mass in the small shrine at the heart of the church. You have to crouch down to get in.

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  • Good Friday – the middle of everything

    Jesus' execution took place in the busy ordinariness of a crowded and unsettled city. That is part of the transforming power of the Easter Story, says URC General Secretary John Proctor.

    Many a local church worships outdoors on Good Friday – processing along crowded streets, singing and silence in the market place, stations of the cross around community landmarks, pausing for prayer where people go to and fro.

    Good Friday is the right moment for going public. Jesus was crucified in the thick and tangle of living, amid the tiredness and tension of difficult days. A lot of issues that shape our lives were swirling and gathering around his death.

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  • Love poured out

    A prayer for Maundy Thursday

    Loving God
    you whose concern is holiness
    in our way of living and being:
    we thank you for
    gifting us with a pattern
    of bending over and down,
    pouring out
    compassion, care and love
    for the other.

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  • In the name of the Lord

    A prayer for Palm Sunday

    Lord Jesus,
    the disciples accompanied you into Jerusalem,
    proclaiming you the king who comes in the name of the Lord:
    the Messiah – God’s anointed on earth,
    the one who does deeds of power,
    the one to save Israel.

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  • Parity

    We are due to close the gender gap by 2133 according to the World Economic Forum’s calculation. That's 117 years from now. For this year's Pledge for Parity themed International Women's Day, Lucy Berry reflects on our stumbling progress to parity, and the dream of equality.

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  • Reflections on a pilgrimage to Paris

    Graham Ghaleb looks back on the walk from London to Paris highlighting the global challenges of climate change

    At the end of November last year I was to be found among a band of pilgrims trudging the roads, tracks and paths of Northern France.

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  • Mothers in the wilderness

    For Mother's Day, Eve Parker, the URC's former press officer now on maternity leave, celebrates the reality of motherhood, regardless of the pressure of social and biblical ideals

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  • The Pawn-Shop - a poem by Lucy Berry

    Most pawn-shops are clean-countered, rather bare;
    with pawned things under glass, or in the safe.
    The shop-girls learn, soon, not to really care.
    How could one ache for every stray and waif?

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