Good News Stories

This page is for all the good news stories out there worth sharing. Please do send us stories and photos of the things that you are doing (big or small) in your local church or synod, and let’s celebrate together how God is at work within our children and young people throughout the United Reformed Church.

‘Walking on Sunshine’

 

SCOTLAND 1   SCOTLAND 2    SCOTLAND 3     SCOTLAND 4

On the 6th of August eleven young people along with four leaders set off for the beautiful island of Tiree. The young people came together from Nairn URC, Greenock East URC, and Rutherglen URC and spent the next five days on a pilgrimage – a time of journeying, reflecting, worshipping and sharing together as they learnt about and encountered ancient signs of Christian faith and witness on the island as well as learning something of the pre-history of the island. The times spent in worship around the crosses at Kirkapol, Soroby (pictured) and at St Patrick’s Temple were special moments during a trip which also included opportunities to care for and appreciate the environment – with a nature walk and beach clean (pictured) under the leadership of Stephanie Cope, the island’s ranger. Other activities included evening reflections, surfing, swimming, arts and crafts, several visits to the Co-op and an evening around a camp fire which included that evening’s time of reflection (pictured).

A great time was had by all the participants with friendships being made and strengthened and many insights were gained  into the faith, courage and witness of those Christians who inhabited the island centuries ago. Thanks go to the Synod of Scotland along with a number of individuals for their financial support and thanks also go to all who helped and encouraged us in the planning and delivery of this wonderful and inspiring event.

Mark Steele, chair of the Crossfire Youth Camp 2019 planning group, shared with us his reflections on the event. 

Group jump   Campfire

 

"Each year young people from across the church come together for an exciting weekend of camping, worship,
teaching, discussion and fun activities at Stathern Lodge, Leicestershire. It’s a fantastic opportunity to come
together and explore more about faith in Jesus Christ.

During the bank holiday weekend we looked at the fantastic theme of Lost and Found. We spent time studying
the account of Jesus healing the bleeding woman and Jesus’ parables of the lost coin, lost sheep and the
prodigal son. The theme allowed us think more about our identity in Christ and what it means to be found.
This year we had 47 young people booked for the weekend; a mix of groups from churches and individuals.
Each young person is assigned to a small group for the weekend within which they’re able to make friends,
discuss the matters that are important to them and complete a range of different activities.

We recently heard from Nic, a youth worker who brought a group of young people to Crossfire:
“I absolutely love Crossfire and think it is an incredible weekend. My young people love coming and I have
watched them grow in their faith because of the provision the weekend gives for them to meet God. And as a
youth leader I have always found it great to be there but not have responsibility and therefore have time to talk
to other leaders and have time with God for myself.”

Crossfire has been running for over 40 years and this year will see the return of Crossfire Plus (a fellowship
opportunity for those aged 16+ to explore more about living our faith out each day)."
To keep up to date with upcoming events and find out more about Crossfire:
● Visit www.CrossfireCamp.org.uk
● Follow us on Instagram @crossfire_camp
● Like us on Facebook @CrossfireCamp

You can see the grant report and more photographs from the camp on our Grants page. Scroll down to the section on how the money has been used in the past. 

5Pen60th

For many children and young people in the community, their link with Christianity comes through belonging to a uniformed organisation which is hosted by their local church. These groups are often supported through prayer by the congregation, invited to parade service, often even led by volunteers who are from a Christian background or have strong links with church members. The URC  has its own Guide and Scout Fellowship which is a support group backing the work of the Scout Association. As of the Annual Church Returns in 2017, there were 311 Scout/Guide units linked with URC churches - that's more than one fifth of our churches having young people associated with their church through these particular uniformed organisations. Definitely something to celebrate! 

With this is mind, it is good to know that England's biggest scout group is hosted in a United Reformed Chuch. 5th Penwortham Scouts, which was founded in 1951 (The mosaic on the church wall commemorates its diamond anniversary eight years ago) are part of Penwortham URC and comprise four Beaver colonies, four Cub packs, Four Scout troops, a band and a healthy number of young leaders/Explorer Scouts who are learning to pass on their skills and love of Scouting to a new generation. 

Nail and string cross Craft round table Zacchaeus craft

 

The local press is not always on the ball in reporting what’s happening in local churches, but we became aware of an article in the Helensburgh Advertiser about the ecumenical Messy Church which is held in Helensburgh URC and run by a team including the church’s minister, Rev Mitchell Bunting (or Bungie, as he is more commonly known). Bungie was a Christian clown many years ago and now puts his experience into practice as chief story teller at the monthly Messy Church, aided by Elizabeth Lambert from the Church Of Scotland parish church and others from St Michael & All Angels Scottish Episcopal Church as well as volunteers from Helensburgh URC.

What makes this Messy Church enterprise even more special is that they have in the past based many of their monthly events in the local Naval chaplaincy centre. This stopped when the centre closed for restoration but they are looking to start up again for September, providing a valuable link and outreach to the local naval base.

You can see the photos from the Helensburgh Advertiser gallery here – and what fun Messy Church looks in Helensburgh! It is clearly a hit with the local children. One parent commented, “My two boys really enjoy Messy Church. It’s a great mix of child-friendly bible stories, easy Worship and crafts – loads of fun; the edible craft is always the favourite with the kids!”

The Michael


The Michael URC is the only church on Lowedges estate, Sheffield. It is a community with challenges, which sadly hit the headlines earlier this year with the fatal stabbing of a young person.
The Pilots Company here had shrunk to only two young people, and was on the verge of closing - but now has about 16 regulars young people with 26 on the register. The Team Ministers who participate in the programme have said that PILOTS has 'shown how much it is valued as a really important Christian youth presence on the estate and the children who come all care for each other in an amazing way. The real heroes of course are those who have turned up every Thursday (Brian, Lucille and Trevor and the members from Dore and Totley).’
As part of the work which the PILOTS undertake on their CREST they have recently produced and performed the play 'The Rainbow People' in which the children created the props and played all the roles involved.  A short film was created for them by Trevor.
One of striking things is how the parents all seem very engaged - often arriving early at the end to sit and listen, and even join in! None of the families have any other church contact so this is a real mission opportunity. The church has a small elderly congregation, but welcome the Pilots Company, with Church Secretary Lucille one of the main leaders alongside Brian Adams and people drawn from the other local URCs.
"It is wonderful to see the Company getting back to strength. It gives these young people a real opportunity to pray, learn and serve, and to connect with the worldwide church of Jesus. We have just been enjoying an Overseas Voyage to Canada using the excellent materials from Pilots combined with our own experiences of travel there," said Brian Adams.