• ‘Chaos in Church’ a poem by URC poet-minister Lucy Berry

    Chaos in ChurchThere are times when a person enters church so damaged that we can see absolutely no way to help them, or even to reach them. This upsets me. It upsets me equally to hear church people say: ‘They've made a choice’. To believe this is a comfortable way off a terrible hook; because the point at which such chaotic persons could discern their choices is long gone. So, what do we do? Nothing. But pray.

    Chaos in Church

    Chaos wandered into church;
    with splitting plastic-bags of cans,
    and stubbed-out fag-ends in each hand,
    and sat down with a lurch.  

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  • The Day That God Came Into Church by poet-minister Lucy Berry

    man in church Lucy Berry News images 554x415The theme which the United Reformed Church has chosen for this year's contribution to Greenbelt is “More than welcome". It's an interesting phrase. I'm not even sure what it means! What could be more, or better, than sincere and authentic welcome? Many people feel that churches can be hostile, judgmental places. I believe many of them aren't but we're highly complicated – often without realising it. This poem looks at the disconnection which can so easily exist between God and Church.

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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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  • 'May' by United Reformed Church poet-minister Lucy Berry

    may poem News images 554x415My grandmother could not allow
    the tiniest amount of May
    inside our house. She knew it was
    as dangerous as Judgement Day.
    And peacock feathers brought bad luck,
    and wearing clothes of any green;
    all nature-superstitions of
    a people distant as a dream.
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  • Love Comes to Stay by Lucy Berry

    Lucy poem march picYou broke into my house while I was out
    and lodged and laughed and cooked and disarranged things.
    I find it very hard to tolerate
    intruders with the energy to change things.

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  • Text to God, Almighty Father, Creator of the Universe

    phone 17Hi
    cnt b @ chch 2day.
    2 busy
    4giv me?

    c ya
    luv u


    Copyright: Lucy Berry

    The United Kingdom’s churches are, mostly, shrinking.
    Is faith in Jesus following suit?

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  • Lucy Berry poem on ‘Many Rooms’

    black and white interior macbook drawing 71983xThe House has many rooms:
    rooms for washing,
    rooms for resting,
    rooms for those being born
    and those being born again;
    and a room for wishing you’d never been born
    at all.

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  • Lucy Berry poem on ‘Leper Graves: Robben Island’

    Robben Island graveyardA new mid-month poem from United Reformed Church poet-minister, the Revd Lucy Berry. This month, Lucy reflects on the leper graves at Robben Island, South Africa. She says: ‘I write this from Cape Town after just having visited Robben Island. I hadn’t realised that every kind of leper was incarcerated there; anyone with whom those in charge, (often we British), could not cope or did not approve: those with Hansen’s Disease, those labelled ‘mentally defective’, those unimpressed by imposed Christianity, those unwilling to be governed by an invading force, those who believed in racial equality. I left the island feeling the disgrace of Empire – and fearing the trumped-up reasons we give for demonising other humans.

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  • Silent Stars

    Tea timeA new poem from United Reformed Church poet-minister, the Revd Lucy Berry. This month, Lucy reflects on Silent Stars, which was the theme of this year's Greenbelt Christian arts festival. She says: ‘Broadly, church and Church are in steady decline in Britain, with the exception of inner-city Pentecostal churches. I admire the silent stars in any organisation but it will not be individual acts of love, unselfishness, courage, or sacrifice which will save church.

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  • Armageddon

    Some say The End is coming.
    Some say the Time is Nigh.
    Some say this current mayhem
    bodes Justice from on high;
    There’s talk of Armageddon
    on some believers’ lips:
    the final Time of Trial,
    God’s great Apocalypse.

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  • Purgatory

    A new poem from Lucy Berry

    Camden* believed it was this quick;
    that the no-place between two places
    could hold forgiveness of life-long wrong:
    Betwixt the stirrup and the ground
    Mercy I ask’d, Mercy I found.

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  • Amen to That?

    Our Father…
    And can I, truly, say ‘Amen’ to that?
    Whose father is He? Mine or yours or Theirs?
    When, honestly, if They fell down the stairs,
    evaporated on the evening air, I’d rather.
    Have I said ‘Amen’ to Our Father?

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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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  • Parity

    We are due to close the gender gap by 2133 according to the World Economic Forum’s calculation. That's 117 years from now. For this year's Pledge for Parity themed International Women's Day, Lucy Berry reflects on our stumbling progress to parity, and the dream of equality.

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  • The Pawn-Shop - a poem by Lucy Berry

    Most pawn-shops are clean-countered, rather bare;
    with pawned things under glass, or in the safe.
    The shop-girls learn, soon, not to really care.
    How could one ache for every stray and waif?

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  • Pig – a Christmas poem from Lucy Berry

    Painters paint the Baby
    lying in His straw,
    small and clean-and-tidy,
    whom the beasts adore;
    fluffy lambs so tiny, oxen very big.
    No-one ever paints in a pig.

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  • The Refugee

    doorhandleThe first in a series of poems from URC minister and poet Lucy Berry.

    The Refugee

    I looked outside this morning.
    It gave me quite a shock
    to see a face I couldn’t place
    stand at my door and knock.

    I don’t go much on strangers.
    I’m quite reserved you see.
    I like my life, my town, my home
    just as they used to be.

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  • A poem for peacemaking Sunday

    Peace is Like a Little Bird

    Peace is like a little bird I hold in my hands;
    fluttering, gentle, fragile.
    Yet, beneath those soft feathers
    beats a strong heart.
    A heart strong enough to power its yearly flight;
    A heart that will lead it to its mate and create
    new life.

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  • A poem for International Workers Memorial Day

    Today, 28 April, is International Workers Memorial Day – an occasion to remember those who have lost their lives because of un-safe working conditions. To mark the occassion the Revd Dr Kevin Snyman, United Reformed Church mission enablerfor the West Midlands Synod offers the following poem, entitled: "If Shakespeare were an Investment Banker":

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