Walking the Way News

2020 01 20When the chair of the board meeting asked if anyone had any other business, he certainly didn’t expect Tracy Buckby, a member of Wade Street Church in Lichfield, to reply as she did.

Plucking up her courage Tracy said: ‘Well, yes, actually. I’d like you to know that I am a Christian and a big part of that for me is prayer. So I’d like to put a prayer box in the office for people to put their requests in.’

Tracy went on to explain that it wasn’t going to be a ‘Bruce Almighty Prayer Box’ (where everything got the answer ‘yes’) nor was she claiming that her prayers were any better than anyone else’s, but she would like to offer the facility if anyone wanted to take it up.

The mood around the table was one of surprised interest, with many saying what a nice thing it was Tracy was offering. The meeting ended with a buzz of conversation about the potential of prayer and the arrival of the box.

Read more: Any other business?

2020 01 13Upon visiting a URC-supported project in Derbyshire which provides a safe space for families facing difficult social circumstances to share fun and food together, Simon Peters, project manager for Walking the Way saw first-hand the significant impact which habits of gladness & generosity, fellowship and eating together can have on people’s lives.

‘He’s from Church House? I want to talk to him!’ came a voice from the kitchen as I wandered round the community hall in New Zealand, a suburb of Derby built on the land of a former farm which celebrated the 1840 treaty of Waitangi which established British rule in New Zealand.

It’s always quite daunting hearing that. You never quite know what someone’s going to say, the issues they might raise or the questions they may have.

Read more: Living the life of Jesus in New Zealand…Derbyshire

2019 12 16An unexpected encounter, just like the millions of others we all experience every single day, proved to be the start of something much bigger for Simon Fairington, Clerk to Thames North Synod, as he bought a rail ticket. Simon explains more:

‘I'm doing choir practice,’ I said apologetically to the lady behind the counter, as I took out my earphones and stopped singing so we could get on with the business of purchasing a rail ticket. I'd been listening to the Tenor line of one of the pieces for our forthcoming Christmas set on my way to buy a ticket at St Pancras en route to Mission Council.

‘Oh, I don't sing,’ she said. There was a pause before she added, ‘Not since my mother died.’ Normally, I might have been tempted to let such a sensitive matter drop. It can be difficult to know how to respond in such a situation. However, I had only just recently scattered my own mother's ashes a few days previously. This gave me the courage to probe a little further.

Read more: Even a brief encounter can make all the difference

2020 01 06Once known as the ‘hidden church’ as its building sat behind a large tree, Bethesda United Reformed Church in Tongwynlais on the outskirts of Cardiff has become a well-known place in the village for a ‘cuppa and a chat’ about some of life’s most challenging issues. How did this ageing, dwindling congregation come to play such a crucial role in the life of its local community?

With the main sanctuary demolished long ago following a roof collapse, the people of Bethesda chapel meet in what used to be the schoolroom back in the days when the church offered educational services in the local community. The congregation clearly has a place in the history of the village, but in modern times, four or five people gathering in a hall with chairs set out for 70 or 80 simply isn’t viable. Looking around the community, members realised that other organisations, including other churches in the area were already doing a lot to serve the needs of the village, with a strong emphasis on radical welcome, especially for those affiliated with LGBT+.

Read more: A cuppa and a chat can go a very long way

olderrSale URC in Greater Manchester is an ageing congregation. When the church considered its future, it took into account the people who were part of its fellowship and the everyday realities that faced them. It found quite quickly that dementia played a huge role in the lives of many churchgoers and members. Hence ‘Dorothy’s Memory Café’ was founded.

Dorothy was a much-loved member of the community who was affected by dementia. This weekly event, which offers a chance for people affected by dementia, along with their carers and family members, to meet together for fellowship and support, gathers in her name.

Read more: Dorothy’s memory lives on