Around the URC in seven days: 18-24 September 2023

Last Updated on 19 September 2023 by Ann-Marie Nye

A round up of news from around the United Reformed Church (URC) over the past seven days: 18-24 September.

Southern Synod

Caterham URC in Surrey is the latest church to gain an award from the Children and Youth Friendly Church Scheme.

Activities focusing on young people include a communion course for children and their families to attend and activity days for families to join in with on Palm Sunday and Advent.

Staff regularly share children and family-centred URC resources such as ‘Celebrate Together’ and advent packs.

Junior church organise a Christmas card tree every year to raise money for charity of their choice, and the church has a youth council where young people are able to share their views on all areas of church life.

Nicola Grieves, Eastern Synod CYDO, said: “The church has a clear vision statement for their work with children, aiming to provide ‘a welcoming, safe and caring environment where children and young people can grow in faith, learn skills for life and be equipped to lead fulfilling lives’.”


Northern Synod

Over four days this summer, Stockton Road URC opened its doors for its members, user groups and local community to enjoy a series of events and activities.

From 17-20 August, more than 230 people visited Stockton Road to enjoy tending to the church’s community garden, bug hunts, exploring the church, a Nigerian cultural evening, arts and crafts, and an environmental-themed worship led the Revd Jane Rowell, the church’s minister.

Attendees were also treated to a dance performance from the award-winning Kathleen Knox Dance School which has called Stockton Road their home for more than 25 years.

The event followed the church’s ten-day reflection period that took place after celebrating the URC’s 50th anniversary.

“Different people have offered differing opinions as to what were the highlights of all of this activity,” said Alison Dalton, CRCW for Stockton Road and Roker URCs.

“For some it was the social evening when our sister Nigerian Church (Mountains of Fire and Miracles Ministries) shared some interesting facts about Nigeria and its culture through worship, singing, dance, dress and a taste of typical Nigerian food, even though it may not have been as spicy as it would be back in Nigeria!

“For others it was helping to make a community art piece made with four fused-glass panels to represent our current main user groups, or one of our other activities.

“Our theme for this festival of activity was ‘Our heritage, our environment’.

“I wonder what we will do next year as we reflect and learn from all that happened this year and in 2022, we will let you know sometime during 2024!”

East Midlands

The combined churches of Olney welcomed 100 children this year at their annual summer holiday Bible club.

This year’s theme, ‘On Safari’, saw leaders from four churches (Baptist, Anglican, URC and Catholic) help children enjoy singing, messy games, prayer, and drama activities.

The children and young people were divided into different age groups and attended age-related activities across each of the different churches. The week concluded with a free family BBQ.

The Revd Chris Parker, Minister of Cowper URC in Olney, said: “It was lovely to see happy children with their parents and carers.

“It was also brilliant to share God’s love with the community and a real privilege to see and hear the spirituality of the children. Thanks to all involved.”

Eastern Synod

Dance crew Diversity has opened a new dance studio in a former United Reformed Church building in Westcliff.

Ashley Banjo and the group acquired the former Westcliff URC, near Leigh-on-Sea, last year. The church closed in 2018.

The studio will offer in-person and live stream dance classes for baby beginners all the way to adult professionals. The building is also available for hire for events.

Image: Anna Firth MP/Facebook.

At the opening day, the dance group and their families were greeted by Anna Firth, Southend MP.