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Tessa 554x415Tessa Henry-Robinson has known disappointment and joy in her ministry with the United Reformed Church but it’s a journey through which she traces parallels with that of Constance Coltman, the first woman to be ordained in a British mainstream tradition 100 years ago.

Now training to be a Minister of Word and Sacraments, Tessa has a wide range of interests and commitments as part of the URC’s BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) community. However, on first candidating for ordained ministry eight years ago, she was not successful and her sense of loss was deep: ‘It wasn’t easy but Constance, too, had issues to deal with when she decided that she wanted to be allowed to train for ministry. This led her down a path of finding the courage, spiritually, to fight for the chance to be heard. That was something I had to learn too.’

Read more: How Constance Coltman ‘opened the door’ to ordination for women

FONT 554x415The Revd Lythan Nevard tells of developing community – and a church – in Cranbrook, a new town on the edge of Exeter.

I work as part of an ecumenical project funded by the URC, Methodist Church and Church of England and my job title is Minister for Cranbrook; I love that I am minister for a place not of a church! Cranbrook, which is still being built, will eventually have a population in the region of 20,000.

Read more: Building a Cornerstone of community at Cranbrook

conversations554x415The United Reformed Church’s Secretary for Church and Society, Grace Pengelly, reflects on what it means to offer a radical welcome.

By the time you read this, the General Election will have happened and the UK will have elected a new government. Whatever the election statistics, it’s certain that some of us will feel jubilant and others deflated about an unwelcome outcome, while Parliament will be gearing up for the next chapter in this continuing story.

Read more: Leave behind your comfort zones!

Keld 554x415The Revd Stephen Collinson, one of the Ministers of Word and Sacraments at Tees and Swale Pastorate, tells how new life was breathed into a historic Yorkshire site.

Keld United Reformed Church, Upper Swaledale, is one of a cluster of church-owned buildings with a long and special history. Often people describe this cluster, in its beautiful setting, as a “thin place” – a phrase borrowed from Celtic spirituality to convey the sense of a location occupying a fine line between earth and heaven.

Read more: New life for Swaledale’s ‘thin place’ at Keld

london fire News images 554x415The moderators of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, Kevin Watson and Alan Yates, offer a prayer following the Grenfell Tower fire disaster

We pray for all who have suffered because of the dreadful Grenfell Tower fire.
We pray that those who have died and been taken from us are remembered and treasured.
We pray for healing and support for those who have survived, and for everyone affected by this tragedy.
We pray for physical healing for all those injured, especially those in hospital, the elderly, and infirm.
We pray for emotional healing, recognising the shock, trauma and grief to be lived through.
We pray for the revival of human spirit, with faith, hope and love surrounding each in peace.
We pray for justice to help us accept mistakes made and warnings ignored, for lessons to be learned.
We pray that all who suffer are granted the opportunity to cry out in their pain and be listened to.

Read more: Grenfell Tower: A prayer