• General Assembly 2016

    Steve Greenbelt Web edited 1Greenbelt 2016

    We were delighted to be given the opportunity to give a presentation at this year's General Assembly about the URC's involvement with the Christian festival Greenbelt for 2016-2017.

    Steve Summers (pictured) is the CRCW Development Worker for the URC and also the chair of the URC’s Greenbelt planning group. He told Assembly: "For myself and hundreds of thousands of others over the years, Greenbelt has been much more than an annual festival. It’s become a dynamic and enduring movement, a spiritual sanctuary, a creative environment to encounter new ways to worship and to view God’s creation and a seedbed for learning about ways to be disciples in our own neighbourhoods."

    To find out more about the URC's involvement with Greenbelt for 2016-2017, follow us on our facebook page or email me at: crcw.admin@urc.org.uk

    Steve was not the only member of the CRCW programme to be on stage at General Assembly.Karen Campbell edited 1 CRCW minister Karen Cambell was also captured on stage giving an illuminating bible study. Read more about karen and the work she is involved in at the BPBHCC project in Luton.

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  • Deployment of ministers

    The ministries committee brought two resolutions: resolution 28 asked Assembly to note the projection for numbers of stipendiary ministers of word and sacraments likely to be funded from the Ministry and Mission fund until 2025, while resolution 29 was concerned with the formula to be used to allocate ministers to synods.

    The URC currently has 393 (stipendiary) ministers of word and statements, but, by 2025 this is predicted to fall by around 40% to 235.

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  • Assembly refers Israel-Palestine work to the mission committee

    General Assembly on Monday morning passed a revised version of resolution 37, which now instructs the mission committee to develop its existing work in connection with Israel-Palestine. The issue had been referred to a facilitation group on Sunday 10 July after Assembly failed to reach consensus.

    The Revd Matthew Prevett, on behalf of the facilitation group, presented the new resolution, which reads as follows:

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  • Youth representation at General Assembly, Mission Council and Synod

    Resolutions 42 and 43 – concerning youth representation at General Assembly, Mission Council and Synod – were introduced by the clerk at the end of Monday’s final business session. Both resolutions were passed unanimously.

    Resolution 42 would involve changes to the Structure of the URC, so it will now be referred to synods, which will then report back to the General Secretary.

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  • Assembly considers expectations of ministry

    On Sunday afternoon, the Revd Prof Neil Messer, convenor of the United Reformed Church education and learning committee, moved Resolution 13, which concerned 21st-century expectations for ministry. After lengthy discussion, the resolution was passed by consensus, noting disagreement.

    Giving background to Resolution 13, Prof Messer explained that the expectations for Ministers of Word and Sacraments used since 2012 have no formal status, unlike the benchmarks for church related community work (CRCW) ministry.

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  • General Assembly 2016, Address to the Throne

    To the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty.

    The General Assembly of the United Reformed Church meeting in Southport sends Your Majesty its warmest wishes and congratulations on the occasion of Your Majesty’s 90th birthday celebrations.

    We express our thanks to Your Majesty for your unrelenting and steadfast service to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth over the 64 years of your reign, and pray for the continued health of the Royal Family in the year to come.

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  • Assembly affirms authorised elders

    In its Monday morning business session, the United Reformed Church General Assembly passed resolution 14, which authorises elders and accredited lay preachers to preside at the sacraments if a willing minister is not available. After lengthy discussion, resolution 14 was passed, recognising disagreement.

    The accompanying resolutions – 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 – all of which enable and support the authorised elders resolution – were voted on together; they also passed, recognising disagreement.

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  • The wider fold

    The Revd Professor Stephen Orchard proposed resolution 24, concerning the creation of a holding system for previous church membership.

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  • URC supports Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty

    Resolution 33 concerned the URC giving support to an international Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty which would operate in a similar way to other treaties banning indiscriminate weapons such as cluster bombs.

    Convenor of the mission committee the Revd Tracy Lewis put the resolutions into context reminding Assembly that since 1983 the URC has made clear commitments to peacemaking supporting multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation treaties.

    Ms Lewis said: 'In an era where there are new threats in the area of nuclear warfare such as cyber-terrorism, there is an opportunity for the United Reformed Church to give a clear moral perspective in a contentious area.

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  • The URC adopts new environmental policy

    The Revd Tracey Lewis, convenor of the mission committee, introduced the work to develop a new environmental policy for the URC, asking, 'how shall we respond to rising temperatures and sea levels?'.

    Resolutions 31 and 32 concern the adoption of the policy and the creation of a task group to monitor progress.

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  • Standing firm in Pakistan

    General Assembly heard this afternoon an inspiring account of the hardships and strength of Christians in Pakistan from the Revd Dr Majid Abel, Senior Pastor of the Naulakha Presbyterian Church and the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan. The following is a summary of his address.

    I bring greetings from the Christians in Pakistan and thanks for your amazing hospitality. Pakistan was supposed, when it was first founded, to be a secular state, but many Christians left after partition and those who remain are oppressed socially, economically and politically. We face serious persecution.

    The constitution of the Islamic State of Pakistan bars non-Muslims from many roles, and we face discrimination in education. Many Christians are subjected to forced marriages and forced conversions.

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  • Assembly responds to EU referendum

    The Revd Tracey Lewis, convenor of the mission committee, said that, post-vote, we were in ‘days of uncertainty and change … as we seek the good news … and challenges of the kingdom of God.’

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  • Assembly decides against changing URC budget arrangements

    Resolution 38, that the proposed budget of the United Reformed Church for the following year should be brought to General Assembly to be debated, was presented by the Revd Dr Alan Spence and the Revd Nicola Furley-Smith on behalf of Southern Synod.

    It was brought with a change in wording from the text in the Book of Reports: ‘approval’ was changed to ‘adoption’.

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  • Take a lead in dementia-friendliness, the Church told

    The Church should be setting the pace of society in responding to dementia, a special interest group on dementia-friendly church heard today at General Assembly.

    Mr David Richardson, dementia coordinator for Churches Together in Cumbria (CTiC), described the pioneering work of Cumbrian churches and encouraged Assembly delegates to follow their lead.

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  • Assembly affirms ‘What is the Spirit Saying to the Churches’

    General Assembly this afternoon passed a new resolution replacing resolutions 21 to 23 on ‘What is the Spirit Saying to the Churches’.

    The issue had been referred to a facilitation group yesterday after Assembly failed to reach consensus.

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  • Synods, safeguarding and Walking the Way – Mission Council business at General Assembly

    The Revd David Grosch-Miller on 9 July presented to General Assembly the business referred to it by Mission Council. It concerned the ‘Walking the Way’ initiative (resolution 1), the safeguarding past case review, and the functions of synods (resolutions 5 and 6).

    The Revd Richard Church, Deputy General Secretary (Discipleship) and Ms Francis Brienen, Deputy General Secretary (Discipleship) introduced resolution 1, which commends Walking the Way – Living the Life of Jesus Today’, an initiative promoting missional discipleship.

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  • The vote on en bloc business

    The Assembly voted on the resolutions which had been categorised as en bloc - and had not been removed for discussion on the floor. The following resolutions were included: 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 20, 25, 27, 30, 34, 35 and 36.

    The vote passed by consensus.

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  • Assembly Communion service: 'Go plant your footprint'

    Members of General Assembly and guests participated in a vibrant Communion service on Sunday 10 July. The service included uplifting hymns, choral singing, a youth group drama, a video presentation from children within the denomination and a rousing sermon from the Revd Kevin Watson, Moderator of General Assembly.

    Making plentiful use of images, video and songs, Mr Watson's sermon encouraged the Church to 'rediscover the way of resurrection.' He said, 'We have become a lost and wayward people,' but God invites us to journey with the Israelites, to wade into the river of life, 'and then in discipleship follow that path already trodden by Jesus.'

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  • Church engagement with 20 to 40 year olds: findings so far

    Most 20 to 40 year olds who are not involved in church have not quit – they never had any connection with it in the first place. And yet there are as many people who identify as Christians in their age group as in any other.

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  • Delegates discover iChurch

    On Sunday lunchtime, a seminar about iChurch – the out-of-the-box hosting package for church websites – was presented by Lawrence Moore, Director of the Windermere Centre.

    Before explaining the practical benefits of the iChurch package, Mr Moore invited attendees to view websites as missional tools that can draw people in and give churches a voice.

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