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.

Sunday School teacher

On Sunday 10th February Mrs Joan French retired as a Sunday School Teacher after more than 70 years. She has served at Wolverton Congregational Church where she began age 13 and continued at Wolverton URC, only having a break whilst her children were little. Since 2005 she's served at West End United Church in Wolverton as the URC and Methodist Churches joined together. Mrs French has been a well loved and appreciated teacher sharing her experience and Bible knowledge with generations. She felt that the time had come to step down now she is in her 90s! 

The church gave a donation to Willen Hospice in her honour, a lovely rhodedendron for her garden, an engraved star, gifts from some of the current children and a Constance Coltman t- shirt (as she was Mrs French's minister when she was a child!).

The church is grateful for her years of service and is hoping some of Mrs French's previous students may be able to help with Sunday School going forward. 

Poo

Our favourite feedback from children last summer, during the Review, came from Emmanuel URC, Haydon Wick – with a request for Poo Emoji cushions!  So Sam Richards, Head of Children's and Youth Work, was delighted, on visiting the church last week, to find these proudly displayed in the small group room.

“We waited until Christmas to give them to the group,” said Lucy Gough, children’s and youth coordinator. ‘It prompted a discussion about what else they had asked for, and whether anything had changed.” They had wanted more crafts, and more time outside both of which they recognised had happened. “We still haven’t got a pony though...” laughed Lucy.

Through our links with the URC Guide and Scout Fellowship, we came to hear of Hayling Island URC's invitation to the local Beavers to join them for a special weekend's events: proof that you don't have to host a uniformed organisation in your church premises to build links with them. Roy Cadoux tells us more: 

  Hayling Island Beavers painting  Hayling Island Rock Painting invitation Hayling Island rock painting      

Reaching out to the Beavers

Our church at Hayling Island does not have any uniformed groups attached, but we are always looking for new ways to reach out to and be involved with the community around us. One of our members is a volunteer with the local Beaver colony, and it was suggested that we invite the Beavers to a 'rock painting' family activity morning that we were planning, and to the Harvest Festival service the following day.

We made contact with the leaders, and they were very enthusiastic. They organised who was able to come (numbers turned out to be limited, because of all the other activities the boys and girls do on Saturday mornings – they later said that anything on a Saturday needs to start at 4pm to get a decent number coming); and on the day five boys plus two leaders came (in uniform) and were made very welcome and had a great time.

Haylin Island Beavers rocks

As well as painting stones, they were able to watch pebble polishing, play some games, decorate handkerchiefs, and took part in a treasure hunt (for sticks of rock) which led us into the church where we had an illustrated story (about a man who built his house on rock, and another who didn't) and an action song (you've guessed it, 'The wise man built his house upon the rock'). Of course drinks and cake – rock cake – were also provided!

"Hayling Rocks" is a well-known 'thing', a kind of hide and seek around the island for painted stones, with results posted on Facebook.  Some of our stones had a Bible message or picture – we may never know if someone finds one and it touches their life.

Hayling Island Beavers at harvest Hayling Island Beavers at harvest 2

Next morning the same 5+2 came to our Harvest Festival, bringing their flag and an amazing array of harvest gifts from the rest of the colony. The boys were happy to be involved during the service, including helping with the offertory: when bringing a full plate forward, one said to Heather, "wow you're rich"!  (Heather was able then to explain where the money goes, and link it to the harvest theme). At the end of the service Heather was invited to present the Beavers with a number of badges, including several Faith Activity Badges.

We really hope and pray that these initial links can be built on and that the church can develop an ongoing relationship with the Beavers, and the rest of the Hayling Scout Group.  

URCGSF has always been thinking up to now of helping churches which have Scout/Guiding units on their premises, but this makes me think that maybe we should broaden our scope to include ALL local churches – because I'm sure almost every church has at least one unit within a mile or so, which must be an opportunity for outreach to young people.  

Tenby creative drama  Tenby creative drama 2

St John's Tenby were supported by the Synod of Wales to run an innovative three day Creative Arts Project during October half term. It attracted 20 children from the local community and was an excellent form of outreach, doing something a little bit different. The children involved enjoyed it so much that they have requested another one. You can read more about it here

Borehamwood Comm set

This story had the potential to be a sad news story but instead stands testament to the benefits of ecumenical working and a good common-sense non-competitive approach to children's work within the church. 

When Borehamwood URC was planning to close and merge with Chipperfield Road URC, there remained the problem of what to do about the thriving Pilots company which was part of the church. Amidst fears that it would have to close, other local churches were approached and the local Baptist church has opened its arms and offered the company a home. Later this month we hope to have news of the move and to be able to share with you the good news. 

Borehamwood Pilots were, however, custodians of a very fine communion set which had been commissioned by the officers connected with the Central Pilots Camp in memory of Bob Brady who died in 1992. 

Read more: Borehamwood Pilots communion set finds new home