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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.

The younger side of Duke Street.

Duke Street 2 Duke Street 3  


Duke Street URC has seen a significant rise in the number of young people associated with the congregation over the last few months, showing what can happen when we respond to opportunity and take positive action.

The congregation have had strong groups of Rainbows, Brownies and Guides for many years. At the beginning of this session however, the Rainbows were reduced to only a few girls as a number had moved on to Brownies. A recruiting campaign was therefore required but as Duke Street had nothing to offer boys, the decision was taken to restart the 14th Leith Boys’ Brigade with an Anchors Section. This was done by drawing on the past experience of the recently appointed minister and from within the congregation together with support from Edinburgh and Leith Battalion of the Boys’ Brigade.

Duke Street 5

Now half way through the session the Rainbows have 14 girls and the Anchors have 12 boys. A second recruiting campaign is now underway. The congregation hope to establish a Junior Section of the Boys’ Brigade next session and be operating a full company of three sections in five years. The 14th Leith, which has always been attached to Duke Street, celebrates 100 years since it was founded. Now the Company has been restarted plans are being made for a centenary weekend in September.

Although the Brownies and Guides began the session well, both have seen a rise in membership as they welcomed girls from another Leith Brownie Pack and Guide Unit that had to close. As a result, there is much activity in Duke Street on Tuesday nights when the Brownies and Guides meet.

With a small Sunday School still operating, Duke Street is in contact with around 70 young people a week. Plans are now being made to ensure all of these young people and their families feel part of the wider Duke Street family. So far events have included a Christmas film afternoon, a joint Nativity Service and a pyjama service on Christmas Eve. The next major event will be a Church Picnic.

All of this activity has helped the congregation discover a purpose and identity. This has brought a renewed energy to the folks in Duke Street as they go Walking the Way, Living the Life of Jesus Today.

Collinwood 1   Collinwood 2    Collinwood 4  Collinwood 5     


18 years ago, Collinwood Road URC, Oxford, started an all-age service on the first Sunday of the month. They decided to hold this in the hall rather than the sanctuary, as the pews and layout made it very difficult to do anything different, such as drama. This became the most popular service, so much so that they faithfully continued even during a period when the church had few or no children and young people. Then children started appearing in small numbers, as new families joined the church, and they now have around 9 children at each all-age service.

Last summer, for the first time since the 1980s, they decided to run a Holiday Club. “It was a huge undertaking for a small church of 19 members, involving everyone in one way or another, and enormously rewarding” said Georgina Fensom. “We had 25 children and young people over 3 days, and are now looking to start a small youth group!”

Collinwood 3


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.

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. 

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

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