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.

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.  

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

Caldey image 1 Caldey image 2

In December 2013, Beulah URC Cardiff started a 2 year project to maximise the opportunities to engage with the 11-13 age group as they grow into the teenagers and young adults of the future.This work now continues under the guidance of the children and young people's steering group with regular events planned thoughout the year. 

Here is the report written by one of the young people from Beulah Youth Group about their summer camp on Caldey Island. Particularly memorable was a walk through the woods to the monastery where the group were able to witness the monks observing Lauds, or the Dawn Prayer, at 3am. Read all about it here 

Beavers letterToilet Uganda 021

Anyone using the ladies’ toilet at Sutton Coldfield URC will find a letter there from the 8th Sutton Beavers Colony who meet at the church.

As part of the Scouts Million Hands project & also the last part of the Beaver Global Issues badge, the Beavers have been looking at clean water and sanitation. The Million Hands project is a project to encourage scouts of all ages to find out about social issues partnered by charities. The group did a variety of activities to look at how much water we use and how lucky we are to have clean water & toilets readily available.

Part of the project is “tell the world” and “take action” which they decided to do in two ways – at the Harvest Church Parade the Beavers took Madagascar as their country – they showed the Water Aid walk for water video and the Beavers all walked round Church with buckets on their heads. Then after the service they sold chocolate krispie cakes that they had made to the congregation raising over £100 for Water Aid. They also made posters to tell about how so many people in the world don’t have access to a toilet and about how many children die from diseases relating to poor sanitation.

The Beavers put these posters up in all the church toilets and encouraged people to donate a penny every time they used the toilet. This has enabled every toilet in the Church to be twinned with one in the developing world through toilettwinning.org (part of Tear Fund. Barbara and Nigel Bean, Guide and Scout leaders from Sutton Coldfield URC, commented, “We think one of the things that really made the Beavers realise how lucky they are was when we got the pictures of the toilets we had helped pay for – whilst these toilets were an enormous improvement for the people who were using them they weren’t really ones that the Beavers would want to use!”

What a wonderful way of the church working together with one of the uniformed organisations using their premises. 

Boys Brigade 2  Boys Brigade 1

Temple URC is home to a thriving Boys’ Brigade, 13th Bromley, where local boys of all ages come together to participate in a range of exciting activities, including the highly successful, award-winning Pacemakers Drum and Bugle Band. Recently the brigade held its enrolment and rededication service in the church with over 70 young people enrolling.

It was a particularly special service as it also included recognition of the retirement of the BB Captain, Richard Westbrook, who has dedicated 28 years to the leadership of Boys’ Brigade. During this time, Richard has seen many young people come to faith, earn their Gold D of E awards, attend camps, and even meet their future husband or wife. He has no intention of retiring completely from his involvement with BB and will continue to support the company as well as continuing his work in the church and in Southern Synod.

He has handed the baton on to another lifelong supporter and leader of Boys’ Brigade, Mr Stuart Barker, photographed above presenting a montage of photographs created especially for Richard, together with other gifts from the brigades. URC Children’s and Youth Work would like to add our appreciation and congratulations to Richard Westbrook for his stalwart service at Temple URC.