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.

Stuart Radcliffe

When Dan Morrell asked me to be Chaplain to Youth Executive and Youth Assembly I was honoured, and yet at the same time I was a little fearful if I’m honest.

I was at a point in my ministry where I had reached a crossroads. From where I am now, I recognise that it was time to move on. I had, however, perhaps become a little comfortable where I was and was reluctant to take risks. Working with the young people of the United Reformed Church soon put paid to that. Far from needing to be fearful, I entered into a warm and generous community where I was instantly welcomed and also encouraged. I was taken somewhat by surprise as I had expected that to be my job, and yet was reminded that as well as offering ministry we need to be ready to accept it, even when it comes from places you don’t expect.

My time as chaplain was for me transformational. It gave me enormous hope for the church. I was privileged to work with a group of people who believed that the Gospel could transform lives. It gave me back my belief and my passion to take the risks needed to see that happen. It led me to apply for my new role as Missional Discipleship Enabler for Mersey Synod, from where I hope that I can encourage others to live lives that also offer the hope of the Gospel.

So, I encourage you, make friends with the young people of your churches, don’t think of them as the church of tomorrow but instead I beg you recognise the ministry they exercise today and receive the gifts that they have to offer.

                                   Time for TotsResized Time for Tots 2

Our group has in fact been going for many years, but was in decline and the two ladies who ran it were exhausted and ready to give up. Five years ago, my mother died and it just seemed right for me to become involved in the time that I had formerly saved for her. I appealed to the congregation, formed a team with friends (all retired, and gathered from three churches in this large village), and we worked together to hash out how we could run something manageably, with clear Christian ethos. It helped that two of us were experienced primary teachers prepared to plan ahead and involve the congregation. We visited other groups, were inspired by Toddler Rocks sessions via the Entheos Trust, gathered practical ideas from Sue Greene of SU, enjoy great support from Nicola Grieves (Eastern Synod CTO) and her collaboration with Ely Diocese.

Since Time for Tots has become so popular that we have had to impose a limit of 40 children at a session, we're delighted that both the Parish Church and the Catholic Church in Sawston have started groups on other days – the need here is so great.

Read more: Time for Tots – toddling on at Sawston Free Church

Holy Orders

Osborne School

United Church, Winchester have a thriving cafe with some very special customers. Every week a Year 7 class from Osborne School, a local school for young people with additional needs, come in. The welcoming volunteer staff at the cafe give these them all the time they need to choose their food and drinks, place their orders and pay, working out their money for themselves. It is a ministry of enabling these young people to enjoy everyday experiences and develop their life skills in the most welcoming of places.

School Path

Chandler’s Ford URC have quite literally cleared a path to enable children from the neighbouring infant school to walk to the church without having to go on the public path by the road! This greatly reduces the ‘form-filling’ for the school and makes accessing the church for visits very easy! Sue Scott, church secretary, has been building links with the school who held their carol service there, were invited to Mothering Sunday and have volunteers from the church going in to listen to children read. ‘We are a church without children on a Sunday morning, but ready to welcome children any day of the week! Our new minister is coming to us in September and both the church and the school hope this will take our working relationship even further.’

Taize 2  Taize 1

Taize Trip Transformed Faith

As young person I was dragged along on a URC Mersey Synod trip to Taize organised by the then CYDO Malcolm.  I was a reluctant participant, only in at all church because my family were.  But one evening in the worship I felt God tap me on the shoulder and ask me what I was doing with my life.  Since then my faith has been real. I have been back to Taize a few times, Greenbelt, and travelled to New Zealand, experiencing different traditions of worship. I am now back in Mersey Synod, an Elder/Deacon at Ainsdale Village Church (joint URC and Baptist) and lead the youth work there. My prayer is that the next generation of children and young people in the URC will have opportunities to encounter God for themselves.     Lucinda

There is an opportunity to join a URC group going to Taize this summer. See here for further details.

And we are still looking for a couple of URC Youth Ambassadors to join us at Greenbelt, Click here to register your interest.