Reform cover dec18The latest issue of the wonderful Reform magazine landed on my desk yesterday and as I flicked through the pages and perused Digest, it was great to read that the recent new ministers' conference, which took place on 6 November 2018, had seen the highest number of attendees since 2015.

URC Education and Learning Programme Officer; Elisabeth Gray-King said: "We were really pleased with the turn out. It says something powerful about our Church. God is clearly building something new and these new leaders represent the seeds of a new URC."

Newly qualified CRCW, Maria JY Lee, who attended the event, has been based at the Chelmsford CRCW project since July 2018.

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Pictured (from left to right): Barnabas Shin, Tessa Henry-Robinson, Jenny Travis, David Scott, Gillian Thomson, Ted Bellingham, Chris Watson, John Grundy, Daleen ten Cate, Andrew Mudharara, Marie Lee, Paul Stein, Cristina Cipriani, Jo Clare-Young, Josh Thomas and Alison Smith.

If you would like to read more about Maria JY Lee, you can read about her placement, whilst training as a CRCW in Manchester: Befrienders in the heart of Manchester city centre

Want to know more about Church Related Community Work training? Contact the CRCW office to find out more: crcw.admin@urc.org.uk

 

On Remembrance Sunday, Church Related Community Worker; Liz Kam made a short but poignant speech, that not only remembered crowdWebCropthose who tragically lost their lives for the sake of others in war but also reflected upon how we might build communities of peace.

How, the simple act of a smile for example, could be as good a starting point as any, to build and strengthen partnerships: "US pacifist AJ Muste said: 'There is no way to peace, peace is the way' and I firmly believe that peace really can start with a smile." says Liz.

Liz is the CRCW for Levenshulme Inspire Project in Manchester, a city which has seen its fair share of tragedy in recent times, in particular with the arena bombing. But instead of tearing communities apart, people within the city pulled together: "Manchester stood together in the face of Hate and I think this was possible, because for years and years, the people of Manchester had already been smiling at each other, they have been talking to each other across their differences, working together, eating together, laughing together and on that day, they were able to cry together."

Liz also describes how a local young, gay man shared his experience of a hate crime attack, on social media and how the community came together to show their love and support with: "The wonderful 'Levy Pride'. A fantastic example of more peace keepers at work."

You can read Liz's full reflection here: Building a community of peace.

If you would like to know more about CRCW work, do look at our CRCW pages which are full of useful information. If you would like to know more about training, please do email the CRCW office or call the main URC switchboard and ask to talk to the CRCW office: 0207 916 2020.

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This month, we hear from Church Related Community Worker, Rosie Buxton, danielle macinnes 222441 unsplash WebCrop
who began her CRCW post at Huddersfield URCs project earlier this year: "So, I have been finding my way about and listening and learning about a whole new community" Rosie says.

In her reflection, Rosie gives us a brief insight in what to expect when getting to know people within a new environment, many with their own views and opinions which perhaps aren't similar to your own. According to Rosie: "Listening to and learning from people in the church and community and then seeing how we can work together is one of the most difficult things we have to do in CRCW ministry."

So how does Rosie enable people with different views to come together and work together for the good of their church and community? There lies the challenge... Read 'A New Place' here.

Read more: A New Place

Church Related Community Worker; Vicky Longbone has been in post at Derby A2C project for just over a year now and shares wPassion 66374 unsplash CroppedVersionith us the highs and the lows of trying to implement change and transformation within the boundaries of a new CRCW project. Vicky says:

"I remember the frustration I felt in the first few months when the churches were struggling with the challenge of change, but here we are, a year on, and our project has enabled that change to happen. But it hasn’t been easy, for any of us."

So, why is it people resist change and what can be done to overcome fear of the unknown? Read Vicky's reflection here: Change is not something to fear.

Read more: Change is not something to fear

In the first of our October reflections, we have an article written by Simon Loveitt, CRCW for almost 30 years and Convenor for the CRCW kat yukawa 754726 unsplash Small 002Programme Sub-Committee (PSC). Simon is also the treasurer for the S2 Food Poverty Network.

The S2 food Poverty Network was set up in late 2013 as a response to a growing need for access to food: Simon says: "Whilst collectively we wished to address the immediate and very real need, we were also very uncomfortable with developing a food bank in the 21st Century, in a country that was essentially wealthy."

From the beginning, the goal was to end the foodbank by 2020 and move into a more sustainable environment by creating access to good quality and affordable food. "We wanted to look beyond the immediate crisis and address the underlying causes of poverty, which led to people not having enough food to live on."

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So, how does this new system work and is it possible to eradicate the need for foodbanks completely? Simon and the team at The Manor Church and Community Project in Sheffield believe it should be: "As the Foodbank is for emergency food provision only, we want to put in place initiatives that encourage clients to move from a dependency model, to one where, with support, they are becoming once again, financially independent."

Read Simon's full reflection here: The Challenge of Breaking the Dependency on Foodbanks.

Read more: The Challenge of Breaking the Dependency on Foodbanks