Walking the Way News

RokerThe seaside town of Roker in Sunderland faces a range of social issues. With the support of church-related community worker (CRCW), Helen Stephenson, the elders and members of Roker United Reformed Church came to appreciate the vital need to engage with the local community, specifically with the most vulnerable, in order to truly Walk the Way of Jesus by putting faith into action. Following Helen’s departure, the work continues to grow.

The church’s success has come, not because it has a lot of people or money, but as a result of its willingness to build relationships and connections with organisations in the local area to offer support, love and compassion in partnership with others.

Read more: Church at centre of Roker community helps everyone to grow

ladiresbreakfastAt first, the staff at a local coffee shop in Winscombe, Somerset, were surprised to see a group of ladies nattering, sharing stories and praying together once a month. Yet helpfully, they agreed to open half an hour earlier to enable Lynch Chapel United Reformed Churchs Ladies Prayer Breakfast to keep going over the past three years.

As the women gather to share in fellowship, food and conversation, the focus is on sharing concerns for local people, whether connected with the church or not, thinking about the best course of action to address community issues, and preparing a list of people and issues for every participant to take away and pray for at home.

Read more: Ladies’ prayer breakfast helps community members

NairnIn response to the rollout of Universal Credit in the Scottish Highland town of Nairn, the local United Reformed Church sought a creative way of dealing with some of its well-documented negative effects, especially amongst the poorest in society and those who work to support them.

The serious concerns surrounding Universal Credit are well-known, as shown by the Joint Public Issues Team. It’s no wonder that Nairn URC members were concerned at the news of its introduction in their town. They knew something had to be done.

Read more: Citizens Advice Bureau staff and clients empowered by local church action

Josh TInspired to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, the Revd Josh Thomas announced to his family at the age of 11 that he wanted to become a church minister. Years later, now serving with Petersfield and Liss URC, he looks back at the paths which have led him here, reflecting on God’s continuous presence throughout his journey.

My childhood sense of calling to the ministry of word and sacraments, inspired by my grandfather who was a URC minister, soon faded as my dream of being a rock star took over. That is, until I took part in a trip with Commitment for Life, the United Reformed Church’s international development organisation, to Jamaica, at the age of 17. As I learned more about the work which the organisation supports, I was inspired by so many of the people I met and the strong faith they showed, despite the very little they had by way of material things. From this time on, I felt God challenging me to think about my calling.

Read more: Following in Faith: Josh's Story

HeidiAfter attending the United Reformed Church’s (URC) Children’s and Youth Work department’s Big Speak Out event in Nottingham in 2018, Heidi Grogan, a member of URC Youth, has grown in faith and confidence and is now ready to respond to the call to become a nurse. She shares more of her story…

I was brought up in the URC until I was seven, but my family drifted away from church. Encourage by my mum, at 16 I found myself back at church and began to form my own sense of faith.

In July 2018, I attended the Big Speak Out (BSO) event for under-18s taking place alongside the URC’s General Assembly in Nottingham. I found myself surrounded by people who didn’t yet know each other but who seemed to feel like a close-knit family in no time at all.

Read more: From Big Speak Out to bedside nursing: Heidi’s Story