• A prayer for London

    London 554x415The Revd Dr Peter Stevenson, minister of Crossway URC, London, reflects on Saturday night’s terror attack in the capital, and offers a prayer for us all.

    Crossway URC is a mile from London Bridge and the Borough Market area where the most recent act of terror took place on Saturday night. The church was ready to offer help and accommodation to any displaced, confused or frightened people and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those closely affected. We particularly commend the emergency services for the professional and courageous work that they carried out.  Walking to worship on Sunday morning the area was more notable for the normal approach that people were taking, almost as if nothing had happened 12 hours earlier.  Let us hope that people are not suffering from compassion fatigue.

    Prayer

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  • A prayer for the world

    The moderators of General Assembly, Alan Yates and Kevin Watson, offer a prayer for us all, in the aftermath of yesterday’s attack on Westminster.

    Dear Lord,

    Our hearts go out to all those directly or indirectly affected by the atrocities in London yesterday. We pray especially for those killed or injured by this senseless and indiscriminate violence, and for their family and friends. God who cares, we particularly remember the family and friends of PC Keith Palmer.

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  • A prayer for Assembly 2016

    Lord Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, we are your people, people of the way.
    Light our path.
    Show us Your way clearly and compellingly.
    Through complexity, diversity, dissent, make Your will known,
    make Your will shown – in our lives and in our Church.
    We give thanks for Your call which gave birth to our Church many years ago.
    Help us now to hear Your call afresh.
    Like a cool wind on a hot day, blow us out and about, people of the way,
    healing, life-giving, wise and faith-full.

    Amen

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  • A recommitment to the common good

    The Joint Public Issues Team of the United Reformed Church, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, and the Church of Scotland offers the following reflection and prayer on the result of the EU referendum.

    He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
    (Micah 6:8)

    This week the people of the UK have made the significant decision to leave the European Union. Across our communities, including in churches, some will face this with dismay; others with celebration. We are already seeing some of the political consequences, including the decision by David Cameron to stand down as Prime Minister later this year.

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  • Pray for the EU Referendum

    Loving God
    In the referendum that lies before us,
    in the challenge of seeking an answer,
    in our differences of opinion,
    in our need to understand,
    May you guide us in our decisions,
    make us gracious in our disagreement,
    and may we join you to work for the building of your kingdom
    rather than our own.
    Amen

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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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  • A prayer following the verdict of the Hillsborough Inquest

    Living and loving God,

    As we turn to you now, following the verdict in the Hillsborough inquest,
    we acknowledge that you are a God both of justice and of mercy;
    a God of truth and of love;
    a God who has walked this earth before us and knows each of us better than we know ourselves.

    We hold up to you once again the 96
    and all those who have suffered and are suffering as a result of the disaster at Hillsborough.
    May they know your love and strength surrounding and upholding them.

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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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  • Lent: the journey begins

    The Revd Kevin Watson, Moderator-elect of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, invites us to begin the journey of Lent thinking about where we are going and who is travelling with us.

    In Nostell Priory near Wakefield this painting by Pieter Brueghel invites us into 'The Procession to Calvary'. We join Jesus carrying his cross, hemmed in by crowds of people.

    Ash Wednesday begins a Lenten journey that ends at Calvary. Brueghel's painting illustrates who we are going with – people clearly not all religious, respectable or moneyed; they are not the influential or the powerful.

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  • On the edge

    This Christmas Eve the Revd John Proctor, the United Reformed Church’s General Secretary, turns to Luke's account of the outcast and overlooked shepherds

    There were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
    Luke 2:8 NRSV

    Shepherds lived on the edge – the edge of town where the land opens up; the edge of the desert with just enough grass to support sheep; the edge between settled life and not quite belonging. And for these Bethlehem shepherds, the edge of a wonderful moment in history.

    Shepherds came to Jesus that night – from the edge into Bethlehem, from the fields to Mary and Joseph, from work to worship.

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  • The week of prayer for world peace

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    Lead me from falsehood to truth.
    Lead me from despair to hope,
    from fear to trust.
    Lead me from hate to love,
    from war to peace.
    Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe.

    Satish Kumar (1936-) adapted from the Hindu Upanishads, c 9th century BCE.

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  • A prayer of compassion for Syria

    Church leaders in the North East of England offered the following prayer for people caught in the conflict in Syria.

    God of the nations
    you have compassion on all your creatures.

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  • Jewish prayers for Middle East Christians

    The Jewish community in Britain is being encouraged to engage in prayer and spiritual reflection on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East

    The Council of Christians and Jews' If Not Now, When? campaign urges Jews of all traditions to pray for the Christian community in the Middle East throughout the month of August.

    The deputy director of the Council of Christians and Jews, Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko, said that the month of prayer was designed to increase compassion and empathy for both sides of the organisation. "This unique campaign has united all dominations in the Jewish community, which is quite rare, to stand together. It is a springboard for the future," she said.

    To inspire springboard for prayer and other forms of spiritual reflection, the council has also created a general resource with information about Christians in the Middle East and ideas for personal and communal responses.

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  • Prayers for those affected by Nepal earthquake

    nepalThe United Reformed Church calls for prayers for all those affected following the tragic news of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal and parts of northern India on Saturday 25 April – killing at least 3,617 people and injuring more than 6,500, with many more feared dead or missing. The Revd Jane Rowell, the United Reformed Church secretary for world church relations, and the Revd David Grosch-Miller, moderator of the General Assembly of the URC, have issued the following prayer statement:

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  • Prayers for Pakistan following terror attack

    Three British Churches have come together to issue a joint statement and a prayer for Pakistan following Sunday’s terrorist bombings in Lahore.

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  • Ash: A poem for Ash Wednesday

    ash wednesday cross and ashAsh Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the season of preparation for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter. To mark the occasion, URC minister, the Revd Lucy Berry, offers the following reflection and poem

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  • A prayer of preparation

    Lord, as people of the way
    your joy is our strength.
    As we assemble in Southport
    fill our meeting with the joy of your Spirit.

    May that same joy and expectancy
    be in our hearts and minds as we prepare
    ourselves to meet together as your people.
    Lord, as People of the Way

    your strength is made perfect in our weakness.
    As we assemble in Southport
    give us strength to trust, and be open to, your guidance.

    May that same strength, trust and openness
    be in our hearts and minds as we prepare
    ourselves to meet together as your people.

    Thank you for the opportunity to be part of General Assembly 2016.
    Help us to take that opportunity seriously, and to prepare well.
    Guide those who have particular responsibilities for this meeting.
    Bless similar meetings of our sister churches in UK and around the world.
    May we all, as people of the way, be agents of your generous grace.

    For Christ’s sake,

    Amen

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