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.

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Solihull United Reformed Church has only two children regularly in worship on Sunday mornings but they certainly have not let that mean that they are not engaging with children in the local community. Linda Faber tells us more about their innovative work with local schools: 

"The opportunity arose to reimagine our work as a church and change how we would use our buildings to better share the Good News of Jesus Christ. As part of this new thinking we looked at how we might engage with local schools. So far we have only managed to get the attention of one school, but as we are relatively few in number, one is proving to keep us busy enough as they are so enthusiastic. In the last 18 months during each term and additionally at Christmas and Easter we have had opportunities to engage with this school in a broader way than we ever hoped or imagined. We have had our offers of activities taken up by every year group and they keep coming back and asking for more. I want to tell you about what we did for Easter. 

Read more: Solihull URC are far from woolly in their approach to children's work

VIctoria

Victoria Turner took advantage of the Christian World Mission's regional programme for young people 'Beyond Myself in exploring Migration' and wrote a very inspiring report of her experiences. The colunteers gathered in the Yorkshire Dales to connect with a group called DARE from Darwin, who work with asylum seekers and refugees and come to the Dales through a charity called ‘People and the Dales’ who organise for refugees and asylum seekers to come to the countryside for a few days to get away from their hostile and difficult lives in the UK. 

"You can be flown to a completely new culture for a mission programme," said Victoria, "and find out things about yourself you didn’t know before. You can also talk to a stranger in your home town, who comes from elsewhere, and learn more about yourself than you knew before. Mission is not going out, mission is going beyond, there’s love that needs to be spread here, and I’m so glad I learnt that from this experience."   Read her report here. 

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Eleanor Rice (children’s, youth and families leader at Bulwell URC, Nottinghamshire) shares what most encourages her in her work: “The children and young people keep coming and bringing other people – they want to be here and share their lives with us which is such a privilege. On Sunday morning we have half a dozen young people who come on their own and get involved in the service with readings, prayers, taking the offering, joining in the all age games and activities.” Alongside Sunday services the church offers clubs for different age groups and Messy Church. “But most important is the constant presence in the community – offering crafts in schools, the community garden, even the nearby gym when they run holiday sports clubs!” The great news is that Eleanor’s post is able to continue after the church secured new funding: “there is still so much more to do!” agrees the minister Revd Colin Bones.

Youth Ambassadors

This was the first year that the URC Children's and Youth Work team have sent youth ambassadors to Greenbelt but we suspect it will not be the last. Eight young people aged 16 to 23 camped together under the URC Youth flag and fulfilled a challenging role, taking on shifts in the URC tent, carrying out a survey of visitors, encouraging involvement in the "Who am I?" treasure hunt,  participating in Cake and Debate (a debating activity for under 18s including cake!), gathering information and sharing their views and preparing for a year-long role promoting Greenbelt in their particular synods. 

Two tech-talented young people, Jacob Lowe and Isaac Harvey, were charged with the task of compiling a video review of the weekend and each produced a very different view of the event. Isaac's can be seen here, while Jacob's is available here. Written reviews were sent in by Amanda, Alison, Isaac, Bethany, Reuben and Joanna. 

 

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Lewes URC/Methodist LEP have been running Messy Church on Fridays 6 times a year in school holidays for a while.  Early in 2017 they took the brave decision to replace one morning service each month with ‘Messy Sunday” – a shortened version consisting of breakfast, one craft activity and worship all in an hour from 9.30am. They now have a loyal congregation of 35 including 3 families they met through Messy Church. 

This summer, in place of a holiday club, they are running 3 extra Messy Church sessions on Fridays with support from Brighton and Hove City Mission. 

“We pray this will deepen our connection with whole families and encourage more to consider coming to Messy Sunday – changing things in church can be difficult and certainly make life messier, but we are starting to see the fruit,” said Lindsay Frost, admin secretary.  “We should credit our former minister, the Revd John Gordon, and Crowborough United Church (also a URC/Methodist LEP) with the idea of Messy Church on a Sunday morning, although the name Messy Sunday was ours, to avoid confusing our Friday Messy Church from our Sunday offering. The Messy Church people at the BRF have approved our Messy Sunday version of the Messy Church logo.”