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Walking the Way News

NW rNorth Western Synod’s team of Missional Discipleship Mentors has been busy gathering good news stories from across the region to bring hope and inspiration in this time of uncertainty, isolation and lockdown.

Stories from April can be read here, and from May here.

Simon Peters, project manager for Walking the Way, says, ‘The work of the missional discipleship mentors across North Western synod is vital in embedding an ethos of whole-of-life discipleship, reminding people that God is present and active in every aspect of our lives. This is especially important in this current time of lockdown.’

To find out more about what’s happening with whole-of-life discipleship in your synod or area, contact us.

2020 05 18rWith the current lockdown in full flow, St Paul’s URC, Bracknell needed to find a creative way to celebrate earth day without actually bringing people together. The use of technology to keep communications and fellowship going led to an innovative way forward, explains local minister, Anthea Wickens:

‘When the lockdown began, we at St. Paul’s URC, Bracknell set up a WhatsApp group to keep communications going. Our Church Secretary, sent a message asking if anyone would like to join a virtual candle lit pudding party to mark Earth Day?’

Read more: Virtual puddings for Earth Day go down a treat

2020 05 04rDuring the past few weeks, in the face of isolation and lockdown, it has been extraordinary to see the resilience, determination and imagination of many URC congregations shine through as they have sought to respond to the uncertainty, physical division and emotional stress which these times bring.

Some responses have been out of the ordinary, such as moving the regular Community Sing-a-long at St Martin’s Church, East Dorset, onto local radio, and St Paul’s Church Bracknell who hosted a virtual pudding evening for Earth Day online, more about which will be shared in the coming weeks.

However, the majority of responses, though relatively simple, are making a huge difference in keeping opportunities open for communities to worship together, share in fellowship, cater for the needs of different groups in the community and continue to comfort each other through this period.

Read more: Innovation in isolation

2020 05 11rAs soon as the Covid 19 lockdown was announced, The Elders at Abbots Road URC in Leicestershire had some important decisions to make to ensure the safety of all those people who use the building every day. The difficult decision was taken to close the doors. This did not, however, mean closing the church.

‘Recently, I became aware that the church looks very closed,’ reports Alison Hadley, manager of The Ark pre-school at Abbots Road URC, ‘so I tasked all of the children and young people to create a 'Window of Hope'. The children have created pictures at home, pushed them through the buildings letter box so they can be displayed in the windows. A lady walking her dog commented (from a safe distance!) on how lovely it was to see the church alive even though it’s closed. Hallelujah!’

Read more: Building closed, church open

2020 04 27rOn looking at the life of Jesus, Elizabeth Clarke, rural officer for the URC and Methodist churches, based at the Arthur Rank Centre, believes that is clear that Jesus comes from a rural context. She shares more:

It wasn’t until I began reading the Gospels while living in the countryside that I began to see just how rural they are. Growing up in the city, I hadn’t really made that connection. The word ‘village’ appears about 27 times across the 4 Gospels and the plural ‘villages’ about 8 times, dependent on translation.

Read more: Jesus was a rural person

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