• For the love of food - sharing experiences and bringing communities together in Peckham

    Many will be familiar with this passage from Ecclesiastes 3:1.3 'There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens'. The well known, often-quoted passage seems quite appropriate at the moment. Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) Jo Patterson reflects on the last 18 months and shares her insights on the importance of food, and how it has brought communities together in Peckham.

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  • URC supported Shrewsbury food hub wins Queen’s Award

    Shrewsbury foodhub QAVS HandoverShrewsbury Food Hub has been named one of four community groups in Shropshire to be awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

    The hub was founded in 2016 by Howard Hutchings, a member of Shrewsbury United Reformed Church (URC), Katy Anderson, the Hub’s manager, and Ali Thomas.

    During the past year alone, the Hub has delivered around 195,000 meals to members of its community.

    It received the QAVS on 7 July.

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  • Updated guidance for places of worship in England

    Adrian Bulley URC GA 12 JulyThe UK Government has updated its guidance on Places of Worship for England: https://bit.ly/3BdYQrz 

    The Revd Steve Faber, Moderator of the United Reformed Church’s West Midlands Synod, who has been leading on the church’s advice during the pandemic, says there are no surprises, and offers the edited highlights:  

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  • New Freedoms, Same Responsibilities: Synod Moderators' advice to congregations

    Stay Safe HomepageAs the Governments in England, Scotland and Wales move towards reducing or ending Coronavirus restrictions on Places of Worship, the Synod Moderators offer the following guidance to congregations of the United Reformed Church.

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  • Forging new connections in Sunderland and Boldon during the pandemic

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    Alison Dalton began working as a Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) for the Sunderland and Boldon United Reformed Church Partnership in July 2020 during the COVID pandemic. Here she reflects on how daunting it has been to start a new role without having a chance to meet anyone in person and the challenges this has involved.

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  • CRCW Project in Billingham Raises Thousands for a New Community Kitchen

    Thermometer WebCropChurch Related Community Work Student (CRCW) student, Fliss Tunnard has been on placement at St Columba’s URC in Billingham since October. Despite the many limitations of lockdown life, Fliss and CRCW, Ann Honey have thought of creative ways to fill their time and have managed to raise an impressive £10,000 for a new community kitchen.

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  • Water Lane URC member receives damehood from the Queen

    Dame Elizabeth Gardiner credit Bishop's Stortford Independent A member of Water Lane United Reformed Church (URC) in Bishop's Stortford, has been made a dame in the Queen’s birthday honours.

    Elizabeth Gardiner, a solicitor who helped draft the government's coronavirus pandemic legislation, was honoured for her services to the government and the legislative process and is now a Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath (DCB).

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  • Congregation uses hands to 'sing' worship

    Woking congregation signing news bannerWoking United Reformed Church has found a creative way to ‘sing’ during worship despite Covid-19 restrictions currently preventing congregations singing.

    Since the first lockdown, the church established a ‘signing project’ with a Makaton expert who taught the congregation a sign a week during each service.

    At an all-age service filled with families on 13 June, the lessons paid off when the entire congregation used Makaton to sing with their hands.

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  • Blackburn Church Related Community Worker reflects on lessons from lockdown

    Brown tiled letters on a white background that read "In lifting others we rise"

    Lockdown has been hard on many communities and households but as we move beyond our restricted lives, what needs to change and what needs to remain? asks Mal Breeze, a Church Related Community Worker from Blackburn.

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  • Giving Thanks For Your Vaccine

    The United Reformed Church is supporting a fundraising campaign developed by Christian Aid that enables people show gratitude for their vaccines by making a donation to help protect our global neighbours while the vaccine is out of reach.

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  • Chelmsford dementia-friendly group offers support and companionship during the pandemic

    Christmas meal delivery crop2This month we hear from Maria J.Y. Lee, a Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) based in Chelmsford. Maria and her CRCW team have been supporting the members of 'Good Companions', a dementia-friendly group which benefits people who suffer from dementia and aims to improve the quality of life for older members of the community.

    Maria explains what happens to those vulnerable and elderly individuals who suddenly find themselves isolated due to a global pandemic and how her team has been reaching out to them.

     

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  • Life as a Church Related Community Worker during lockdown

    What does it mean to be a Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) especially in a time when many neighbourhoodsfederico burgalassi Na29eYtYvM unsplash CROP have had to batten down the hatches during a global crisis? Some CRCWs admit that they have been busier than ever during this pandemic while others feel more cut off, isolated and left with the reality that they are unable to use their skills, which are often focused on highlighting injustice and enabling those who perhaps do not have a voice, by providing the tools to help make things better.

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  • Call for a people’s vaccine reaches 450 signatures

    resized image Promo 66The URC General Assembly Moderators joined 450 academics, politicians, charities, faith leaders, and healthcare workers on 10 May to urge the prime minister to waive vaccine patents.

    In an open letter, organised by Global Justice Now, STOPAIDS, and Just Treatment, the group called on Boris Johnson to "stand on the right side of history". 

    The letter urged the UK to follow the US example which saw the Biden administration announce on 5 May that it would support a waiver to help scale up global vaccine production to produce safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines for all people, in all countries.

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  • Sunflowers & Thistles

    Sunflowers and thistles cover image

    A year after the murder of George Floyd, a new booklet of praise songs and protests has been published by the United Reformed Church. Sunflowers & Thistles is a collection of songs written by URC minister and hymn writer the Revd John Campbell, and focuses on the Black Lives Matter movement and the coronavirus pandemic.

    The free online resources include the booklet of songs, which can be sung to the tunes of well-known hymns, a full music version of all the hymns, PowerPoint presentations and slides, and videos.

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  • Greenbelt festival cancelled for a second year

    Greenbelt cancelledThe United Reformed Church (URC) is saddened by the news that this year's Greenbelt Festival has been cancelled.

    Greenbelt had many complex issues to wrestle with in deciding how to plan and deliver the festival and keep people safe.

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  • Global faith leaders call for an end to vaccine nationalism

    Covid jab credit Machau Photo agencyThe United Reformed Church General Assembly Moderators, the Revd Clare Downing and Mr Peter Pay, joined 143 faith leaders across the world in calling for the production and distribution of enough Covid vaccines for the entire global population.

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  • God uses sewing to reach Marton community

    sewingrGod has given people many talents to share and as we go through this pandemic people are using these talents in many different ways. Nigel, a funeral director in Marton, Blackpool, North Western Synod, working on the front line, came up with the idea of making face masks for the community, as the need for them increased.

    Nigel and his friend Val were able to call on their skills as keen members of the local theatre group, including skills in costume making, to take their plans forward, with Val cutting out the patterns from fabric, and Nigel sewing them together.

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  • URC vaccine campaign raises more than £20,000 for charity

    Christian Aid vaccine campaign 2Generous donors have helped the United Reformed Church (URC) beat its initial fundraising target of £5,000 to raise a whopping £20,085 for Christian Aid.

    First launched in February, the aim of the campaign is to provide people with the opportunity to show gratitude for their Covid-19 vaccines and help protect our global neighbours for whom the vaccine remains out of reach.

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  • Children cared for during lockdown in Thames North

    Two churches in Thames North Synod have been working hard to keep their work with children alive and active during lockdown, as Panshanger Ecumenical Church and Grange Park URC have each found creative ways of keeping groups together safely.

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  • Christian mission 'not complicated' says Darwen Asylum and Refugee Enterprise (DARE)

    dare rFor Darwen Asylum and Refugee Enterprise in Lancashire, Christian mission isn’t complicated. All you need is an idea, and the kind of love that may seem small to us, but is, in fact, huge in God’s eyes. They look to scripture for inspiration, reading in John 12:34: “And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

    In the face of Covid-19, the project has had to find fresh ways of supporting the community, especially asylum seekers and refugees. Has closing the doors of the building to protect people against the spread of the virus stopped this important work? No!

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