• Community Project Awards 2018

    families matter 2016 winnerIs your church doing something amazing in its community?

    Tell us – and win up to £4,000!

    For more than a decade the United Reformed Church (URC), supported by Congregational Insurance, has run the Community Project Awards.  The scheme recognises innovative community projects taking place in URC-connected churches. To be eligible a project must be run in the UK by members a URC congregation by a local ecumenical project involving the URC.

    We are looking for innovative projects that meet a local demand and have a positive effect on community life.  If your church project fits the bill please read the guidelines and start preparing your entry today! Your project could win up to £4,000.  Three other prizes are available for the runners-up – with a total prize fund of £10,000.

    Short films will be made about all shortlisted projects and these will be first shown at the awards ceremony, which is scheduled to take place at the United Reformed Church’s General Assembly on Saturday 7 July at the Albert Hall in Nottingham.  The film about the 2016 winners is available to watch here. 

    Read the guidelinesand start thinking about your entry today!

    You can submit your entry to the 2018 awards in three ways:

    1. Download an entry form
    2. Request an entry form by emailing awards@urc.org.uk, or,
    3. Request an entry form by writing to: Community Project Awards 2018, Communications Department, United Reformed Church House, 86 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H 9RT

    Entries must be received by 5pm on Wednesday 28 February 2018

    Picture caption: Families Matter, a project based at Cornerstone URC in Hythe, was the overall winner in 2016 ©URC/Chris Andrews


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  • Community Project Awards 2018

    Is your church doing something amazing in its community? families matter 2016 winner

    Tell us – and win up to £4,000!

    For more information on the Community Project Awards 2018, click here.

    You can watch an incredibly inspiring film, created by Prophet Motive Films, which shows the impact of four projects on their community. Mark Pickering, who talks about the Feel Better, Enjoy Life More project at Broadway URC says: "We find practical ways that all of the congregation can engage in mission by getting alongside people in the community, getting to know them and building trust".

    Julia Cross, who helps to run the Families Matter project at Cornerstone Hythe URC says: "We have a SWANS group, which is supporting parents with children with special needs. Parents come along to that group, really worried about their child, not knowing who to turn to and they find friendship, support, they find people who can include them and value them."

    View the film here.

    Picture caption: Families Matter, a project based at Cornerstone URC in Hythe, was the overall winner in 2016 ©URC/Chris Andrews


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  • Winson Green in Bloom

    For our latest CRCW reflection, we have a wonderful film created by Kevin Snyman, which shows 'Winson Green in Bloom'. WinsonGreenComGardenWebCropAdella Pritchard, who is the Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) for Bishop Latimer United Church in Birmingham talks about how important Bishop Latimer Community Garden is to the local area and how it not only brings people together but also provides people, many of whom may not have a garden of their own, to learn, share and grow produce and flowers, as well as making friends:

    "For me, it was a fast realisation. It wasn't just about coming and gardening, it was about building friendships between the gardeners".

    Andrew Simons talks about setting up the community garden in 2009 and how he helped enable volunteers and community groups to establish 'grow sites' and provides an insight into the impact it has had: "It's a great way of bringing the community together to share knowledge, to share experiences and to get to know each other."

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  • A bit of a do...

    "Sometimes, in my job, the hardest thing to do – is nothing."Ann Honey Reflection web crop

    "Recently the congregations who worship in the building decided they would like to have a combined event. They wanted to organise something that people in the community would come to, to have fun and to meet new people."

    It's time for another reflection and this month, CRCW Ann Honey talks about what happens when you are nearing the end of your CRCW Project and you realise that you now have to step back...even if you don't always want to!

    Read Ann's reflection: A bit of a do... here.

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  • What do I prepare for the end of my life? - Challenging topics for the Seniors Community Group.

    Jo patterson is currently in the second of her two-year placement projects at St Paul’s Anglican Church in Brixton, South London and enjoying the challenging diversity it brings on a daily basis. Seniors photo for blog WEB

    One of the groups that Jo works directly with is the Seniors Community Group, who meet regularly and have a varied program of visiting guests, bible study, reflection and food! Many topics are discussed and the latest one has been around a theme that for many people, can be a difficult to talk about: “What do I prepare for the end of my life?”

    Read Jo's reflection here.


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  • An interesting place to be!

    Luton photo web crop

    Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) Karen Campbell works with the Bury Park Beech Hill Council of Churches - an ecumenical group of churches in Luton and it is a very interesting place to be.

    "It is a town where some families have lived for several generations, whilst others are simply passing through. It is a town of very many colours and cultures. A town where faith really matters. It is a town where difference is widely valued and respected, but where some people seek to use difference as an excuse for hatred and division."

    In this month's reflection, read about the Same Difference initiative, which explores various themes in life which make us at once the same, and yet different.

    Read the full story here: Luton - An interesting place to be!

    For more information about this project, visit: BPBHCC, Luton


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  • Festival plaudits for United Reformed Church at Greenbelt

    big top News images 554x415The United Reformed Church made itself ‘More than Welcome’ at sun-kissed Greenbeltduring the August Bank Holiday Weekend; attracting many a compliment for its thoughtful, and thought-provoking, presence – and wide-ranging activities.

    The URC’s ‘More than Welcome’ theme for 2017 proved to be fertile ground for conversation and action during the festival of arts, faith and justice. From a knitted food treasure hunt through to intentional conversations, cake and debate, poetry, story-telling, a panel discussion and much more; the URC – with a Greenbelt team of 51 –based its programme on the question posed in Luke 14:15-24: ‘Who’s missing from the banquet?’  This led to further questions: ‘Who’s missing from our conversations, our communities, our churches?’ The challenge was then thrown down: ‘Jesus invites everyone. Do you? What will you do to fully include others – and allow them to replenish and change you?’

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  • The Day That God Came Into Church by poet-minister Lucy Berry

    man in church Lucy Berry News images 554x415The theme which the United Reformed Church has chosen for this year's contribution to Greenbelt is “More than welcome". It's an interesting phrase. I'm not even sure what it means! What could be more, or better, than sincere and authentic welcome? Many people feel that churches can be hostile, judgmental places. I believe many of them aren't but we're highly complicated – often without realising it. This poem looks at the disconnection which can so easily exist between God and Church.

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  • Affectionate farewells to long-serving Church House staff

    david tatem News images 554x415Colleagues and staff, past and present, gathered to say farewell to two United Reformed Church ‘stalwarts’ in July. Wendy Cooper, Administrator for Church and Society (Mission), and the Revd David Tatem, Secretary for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, both retired after collectively serving 74 years with the URC.

    Wendy, the longest serving member of staff at Church House, retired on 31 July after 36 years’ service with the URC. David was honoured for his 38 years of ministry with the Church.

    Wendy’s faithfulness and professionalism in her work spanning more than three decades was at the heart of the tributes during her farewell lunch. Opening the proceedings, Francis Brienen – Deputy General Secretary (Mission) – praised Wendy for having ‘survived’ at least six Church and Society Secretaries and 32 General Assemblies.

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  • Thanksgiving service for Windermere Centre: ‘All have played their part’

    windmere thanksgiving 2 News images 554x415Carver Uniting Church hosted a thanksgiving service on Saturday 15 July for the life of the Windermere Centre, which has closed after 31 years as a much-loved residential training, retreat and hospitality centre for the United Reformed Church.

    The congregation represented people from across the denomination, including former staff, members of the Windermere management committee and its predecessors, members and friends of Carver Uniting Church who had volunteered at the centre and supported its work, as well as people who have run and attended courses over the years.

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  • From church hall to community hub with ‘Mead 500’

    Mead News images 554x415Why resurrect an old church hall when you could build a new centre for local people instead? The Revd Jenny Mills explains how the Newport Pagnell United Reformed Church family has come together to fundraise for a community building. 

    It is an exciting time in the life of the church and we have just launched the final phase in our fundraising efforts to create a wonderful community resource in the centre of Newport Pagnell.

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  • New Beginnings

    I have consumed vast quantities of bacon butties, scones, sausage squares, sausage links as every activity seems to be MarieCrop2 Web 002accompanied by food.  But as Revd Peter Brain, a former Synod Moderator and Church and Society secretary once observed ‘a church and community that eats together, also grows together’.

    CRCW Marie Trubic talks about New Beginningsas she embarks on a new term in Glasgow with the recently accredited CRCW project at Priesthill and Shawlands URC's. Read her reflection here: New Beginnings.

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  • Levenshulme Women's Group - A reflection by Liz Kam

    “One of the privileges of being a CRCWM (Church Related Community Work Minister) is having time. Knowing that your post willinspire Levenshulme WebPhoto last at least 5 years, and may be even 10, gives a CRCWM an opportunity to develop strong working relationships and trust with local people, and to walk with them through journeys of transformation.”

    In the second reflection for June, CRCWM Liz Kam talks about her work with an inspirational Women's group in Levenshulme: "...they are a flourishing group of women committed to breaking down barriers of difference, ethnicity, age, culture and religion".

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  • As the dust of the election settles, much remains uncertain

    Four days after the country went to the polls, Grace Pengelly, the URC Secretary for Church and Society, reflects on the uncertain political landscape we are currently inhabiting.

    Since Theresa May called the snap election on 18 April, politicians and political parties have campaigned intensively, seeking to secure their place in our next government. Voters were encouraged to reflect on the challenges that face the whole of the UK, as well as those specifically affecting our most marginalised individuals and communities. Many of our churches will have played a crucial role in this process, hosting hustings that provided a platform for parliamentary candidates to present their policies to the local electorate.

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  • EVH – and why it has become a vital IT resource for a community.

    ‘Electronic Village Halls’ as described by the local council of Sunderland’s IT team are nowcomputer image Helen2 a really important resource for members of the community without access to a computer.

    Redundant computers from the local council were made available to community projects and Helen Stephenson, CRCWm at the Sunderland and Boldon project, saw this as an opportune time to get involved: “With the knowledge at the time of the introduction of Universal Credit, which among other things would mean people seeking work and benefits would need access to a computer to fulfil what was required of them, and the closure of job centres and libraries where people could currently access IT, this presented us with an opportunity.”

    Read how conversations with residents, and other local organisations at a consultation event lead to the CRCW project in Sunderland and Boldon developing their own Electronic Village Hall, which has grown from strength to strength:

    Sunderland and Boldon's EVA.

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  • Community Allsorts

    According to Community Minister Pat Oliver, the variety of work within CRCW ministry is a bit like her favourite sweAllsortsets: Allsorts, because ‘they come in all shapes, sizes and colours, have different flavours which can clash or complement and they make the world feel better!’

    Find out more about the church related work within Southampton’s community here: 'Community Allsorts'

    You can read more about the CRCW project at Avenue St Andrews and Freemenatle in Southampton here.

    Avenue St Andrews and Freemantle, Southampton
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  • Constance Coltman centenary celebrations

    constance c News images 554x415On 17 September 2017, the United Reformed Church and the Congregational Federation in the UK will mark the centenary of the ordination of Constance Coltman as a Congregational minister. She was the first woman to be ordained in a mainstream British denomination – and she continued her pioneering role by remaining active in ministry as a married woman and mother.

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  • Panthers and Parsnips and Light by Lucy Berry

    panthers and parsnips News images 554x415Dreaming vague dreams which our souls can’t afford,
    harping on memories broken but stored,
    trusting in any cold thing we can hoard,
    bounded by majesty, frequently bored,

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  • Thanksgiving offered for the 30-year service of the Windermere Centre, as closure decision is taken

    windmere News images 554x415Following long and difficult deliberations, and acknowledging a profound debt of gratitude for its unique, 30-year contribution to the life of the United Reformed Church, Mission Council reached a decision to close the Windermere Centre. 

    The full text of the resolutions passed by Mission Council on 13 and 14 May read as follows:  

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  • Mission Council round-up day one

    All Mission Council papers are available online.

    Day One: Friday 12 May 2017

    Mission Council begun with opening worship. Following the Opening Worship, in which the Revd Kevin Watson, Moderator of General Assembly, preached, Mission Council dealt with some matters of basic administration – including the appointment of Andy Braunston as minutes secretary, introduction of all new members, acceptance of the minutes from the last meeting of Mission Council in October 2016 and John Proctor, General Secretary, noted that the Revd Bernard Thorogood, former General Secretary (1980-1992) would turn 90 ‘in a few weeks’ time’ and birthday greetings were to be sent to him from Mission Council.

    Paper X1: The Fourth Scottish Church Census

    The Revd Dr David Pickering, moderator of the National Synod of Scotland, shared with Mission Council some key outcomes for the URC of the 2016 Scottish Census of Churches, the results of which were published in April 2017.

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