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CRCW News and Events

Our latest reflection is from Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) Mark Tubby. Mark is the CRCW at the Lighthouse Be Kind posterProject – a beacon shining out to our community, which is based at Dovercourt Central Church in Harwich. It is a local ecumenical project shared between the United Reformed Church and Methodist churches.

Mark made the move to Harwich in September 2019 and could never have predicted how his community skills would be so highly utilised in the following few months, with the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic. Mark said that although there were challenges, he soon found that collaborative working between many local agencies made an enormous difference and he was so proud by the joint working partnerships that formed, in order to serve their community during a crisis. Mark recalls:

“We delivered shopping and prescriptions, created food parcels, set up a pastoral chatline, made and delivered cooked meals and several other tasks and programmes. One of the things that struck me most was the way in which so many of these local organisations came together to work as one, for the good of the community.”

The pandemic, although life-changing has taught us some important lessons. It has taught us to look out for one another and has fostered a sense of community in many places, where it had been lacking before.

“The world as we had come to know it has been flipped around, and that is difficult to get your head around. Yet, also in the news, we heard stories about how people came together to ensure vulnerable folk were looked out for. Here in Harwich we felt that real sense of coming together and forming relationships that will see us through all sorts of challenges.”

So, if we have learnt anything, we have learnt that there is hope for the future and there is hope that we will help each other through this. Mark says: “I felt privileged to be part of the project here, and certainly saw God at work in the lives of many people.”

Read Mark's full reflection: In this Together, here.

Read more: In this Together

In the second of our June reflections, we hear from Church Related Community Worker; Jo Patterson, who is the CRCW at CoplestonUmbrella crop Church & Centre in Peckham. Jo reflects on time during lockdown, the challenges it has presented but also the little things that have made life better, whether it be reconnecting with old friends, baking, more time with family or making new friends within her local community. Thinking about connecting with others, Jo fondly shares a touching moment that recently moved her. 

Read more: Creating new community in the challenging times ahead

This month we hear from Church Related Community Worker; Alison Dalton who was (until very recently) the CRCW at the Bluebells Woods Web cropBuilding Bridges Project in Tonge Moor, Bolton. Alison has recently received a call to the Sunderland and Boldon CRCW project and although she feels very sad to leave her role and the people she has formed close friendships with in Bolton, she is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities a new project can bring.

This reflection is all about life in lockdown, and the beauty of nature, which appears ever more vibrant in these strange times. Alison has been blown away by the beauty of the bluebells whilst wandering and has even learnt about various names they have been given in history along with their meaning:

"The bluebell stood for humility, gratitude and everlasting love, so for me this is a flower of our time......Those that have been most important, most needed during this time have predominantly been those often missed, unseen and forgotten in our society, maybe we could say those working in the most humble occupations, the nurses, the home carers, the shop workers, delivery drivers, postal workers, transport workers and community volunteers".

Read or download a PDF of Alison's full reflection here.

Read more: Nature’s rainbows and whimsical wanderings

URC leaders: 'we must all be "anti-racist" after the brutal killing of George Floyd'. BLM stone crop

Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) and the URC's Secretary for Global and Intercultural Ministries; Karen Campbell alongside Moderators of the URC General Assembly, the Revd Nigel Uden and Derek Estill have issued a statement which can be read in full here.

"For too long, black communities have borne the brunt of systemic injustices, impacting their health, their finances, their education, their prospects, their lives.

How long will they be asked – and expected – to turn the other cheek, to keep bearing and forgiving the injustices they suffer, only to find that there is no repentance on the part of those who oppress; no change being offered in the face of their perseverance?"

There will be an online forum discussing, ‘Do Black Lives Matter in the URC’ on July 14th at 2pm; please email veronica.daniel@urc.org.uk for more details.

The URC offer this prayer, written by Karen Campbell, bringing to God the pain and concern of our fractured world, condemning all violence and yearning for change:

Prayer

Eternal God,
deeply troubled by what is happening following George Floyd’s death,
and by too much other inhumanity that doesn’t reach the headlines,
we cry to you as the one
whose love was the victor at Easter and
who pours it into our hearts at Pentecost.

As we observe the pain of a fractured world,
use your love to drive us from sadness to compassion;
as we watch the pain of the bereaved,
use your love to move us from pity to companionship;
as we are faced with the pain of marginalised people,
use your love to point us from complacency to your commonwealth.

In our praying,
let us not just talk to you,
but yield to your love;
in our anger,
let us not just rail against injustice,
but manifest your love;
in our actions,
let us not just flail about aimlessly,
but build the civilisation of love.

Until none of us are disregarded for who we are
nor any diminished by what we fail to be,
we keep on praying in the name of Jesus Christ,

Amen

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