• Winson Green in Bloom

    For our latest CRCW reflection, we have a wonderful film created by Kevin Snyman, which shows 'Winson Green in Bloom'. WinsonGreenComGardenWebCropAdella Pritchard, who is the Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) for Bishop Latimer United Church in Birmingham talks about how important Bishop Latimer Community Garden is to the local area and how it not only brings people together but also provides people, many of whom may not have a garden of their own, to learn, share and grow produce and flowers, as well as making friends:

    "For me, it was a fast realisation. It wasn't just about coming and gardening, it was about building friendships between the gardeners".

    Andrew Simons talks about setting up the community garden in 2009 and how he helped enable volunteers and community groups to establish 'grow sites' and provides an insight into the impact it has had: "It's a great way of bringing the community together to share knowledge, to share experiences and to get to know each other."

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  • A bit of a do...

    "Sometimes, in my job, the hardest thing to do – is nothing."Ann Honey Reflection web crop

    "Recently the congregations who worship in the building decided they would like to have a combined event. They wanted to organise something that people in the community would come to, to have fun and to meet new people."

    It's time for another reflection and this month, CRCW Ann Honey talks about what happens when you are nearing the end of your CRCW Project and you realise that you now have to step back...even if you don't always want to!

    Read Ann's reflection: A bit of a do... here.

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  • What do I prepare for the end of my life? - Challenging topics for the Seniors Community Group.

    Jo patterson is currently in the second of her two-year placement projects at St Paul’s Anglican Church in Brixton, South London and enjoying the challenging diversity it brings on a daily basis. Seniors photo for blog WEB

    One of the groups that Jo works directly with is the Seniors Community Group, who meet regularly and have a varied program of visiting guests, bible study, reflection and food! Many topics are discussed and the latest one has been around a theme that for many people, can be a difficult to talk about: “What do I prepare for the end of my life?”

    Read Jo's reflection here.

     

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  • An interesting place to be!

    Luton photo web crop

    Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) Karen Campbell works with the Bury Park Beech Hill Council of Churches - an ecumenical group of churches in Luton and it is a very interesting place to be.

    "It is a town where some families have lived for several generations, whilst others are simply passing through. It is a town of very many colours and cultures. A town where faith really matters. It is a town where difference is widely valued and respected, but where some people seek to use difference as an excuse for hatred and division."

    In this month's reflection, read about the Same Difference initiative, which explores various themes in life which make us at once the same, and yet different.

    Read the full story here: Luton - An interesting place to be!

    For more information about this project, visit: BPBHCC, Luton

     

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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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  • 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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  • 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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