Around the URC in seven days: 13–19 March 2023

A round-up of news from around the United Reformed Church over the past seven days, 13-19 March 2023. 

East Midlands Synod

Church of Christ the Cornerstone, in the East Midlands Synod, and its Minister the Revd George Mwaura welcomed His Majesty King Charles III on a visit last month.

Image: MK Citizen

The church was the venue for the ceremony in which The King formally conferred city status on Milton Keynes, following its successful bid as part of Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The ceremony also included the singing of the Olney hymn to mark 250 years of Amazing Grace.

Members of the bid team were among the guests, alongside representatives of the city’s communities and charities and Ukrainian refugees with their host families.

The Revd Mwaura was joined as host by the Mayor, Cllr Amanda Marlow, and other dignitaries.

In his speech, King Charles recognised that although Milton Keynes may be known as a “new town”, it has been a settled community as long ago as the Bronze Age.

Before proceeding to visit the city’s foodbank, King Charles unveiled a commemorative plaque and added his autograph to the church book, which was previously signed by the late Queen Elizabeth II when she conducted the official opening of the newly built Church of Christ the Cornerstone back in 1992.

Yorkshire Synod

Congratulations to Anne Ward, Yorkshire Synod’s Secretary and Investments Administrator, who recently celebrated 40 years of service.

Anne Ward, Yorkshire Synod.

Anne, who started on 23 February 1983, said: “I can’t quite believe how fast the 40-year milestone has been reached. It only feels like a year or two ago!

“It has not felt like a job at all because of the people you meet over the years and the nature of the role.”

To celebrate, members of the synod team gathered for a special lunch where Anne was presented with a card, theatre vouchers, flowers, a balloon, and a cake.

Wessex Synod

More than 90 people attended Fleet URC’s latest ‘curry evening’ and tucked into a delicious feast.

The evenings are arranged by Fleet URC and Friends of Palani Mission, which provides teachings based upon the life and work of Jesus and helps relieve poverty in Tamil Nadu, a southern Indian state.

Members of Fleet URC serving a delicious meal for charity.

The Revd Ruth Dillon, former Minister of Fleet URC who is now retired, initiated the partnership with Palani seven years ago, and has visited the mission twice.

Funds raised will enable more houses in the area to be repaired, as well as providing much-needed medical treatment for those who cannot afford it.

An answered prayer is boasting fruitful results at Gosport URC.

Just as the country was coming out of the first lockdown, the church decided to engage a children’s and family’s worker.

With a grant and help from Wessex Synod the church appointed Stephen Pethick as its Children’s and Youth Worker.

Gosport URC/Google Maps.

Nearly 18 months on, God has been truly at work in Gosport.

Stephen says: “Little Tugboats Friday morning stay and play group for toddlers and their carers has been going from strength to strength.

“We’ve seen amazing answers to prayer and now regularly have 20 families attending.

“The relationships and conversations within this group are becoming a real source of joy. We have also seen families from this group transition to attending ‘dad and kids breakfast’ and Messy Church.

“Thank you so much for your prayers for this group.”

Twelve young people now regularly attend Gosport’s Pilots’ group on Tuesday evenings. Stephen calls this a “highlight” of his week.

“[They’re] engaged, asking questions and making strong friendships,” continues Stephen.

“They have great fun and learn lots about Jesus. We’ve recently purchased an adventure Bible for each of the pilots and will be presenting them to the young people after half term.”

Ten young people from a range of backgrounds also attend Trailblazers, an evening youth group for those in senior school.

A good number of dads and their kids meet for breakfast. Stephen adds: “This is a real answer to prayer from my last newsletter.”

And, at October’s Messy Church 44 people attended.

“For us that was such a huge answer to prayer,” continues Stephen. “We had a great time of fun worshiping together and hearing that Jesus is the light of the world, a key message given the darkness of Halloween.”

For November’s Messy Church service, the team moved from preparing for 50 people to 60.

We look forward to hearing more about Gosport later in the year.