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Women's World Day of Prayer

stream in desertToday is Women’s World Day of Prayer, this year’s theme is “streams in the desert”, produced by the women of Egypt. The Revd Ruth Whitehead, United Reformed Church moderator of South Western Synod, offers the following reflection:

“In a world where most denominations (still) do not welcome women into roles of leadership, the Women’s World Day of Prayer provides an oasis of inclusion and involvement.

“What makes these services different is that it is produced by groups of women, and usually led by groups of women, many of whom are gaining their first experiences of leading worship.

“The service gives an opportunity for the voices of women from all parts of the world, to be raised in praise of God, using an order of service that has been developed this year by the women in Egypt and centres on “stream in the desert”.

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Encountering the Cross

ash wednesday 2Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, signifying the beginning of the liturgical period of prayer and fasting before Easter Sunday. The Revd Roberta Rominger, general secretary of the United Reformed Church, reflects on the centrality of the cross of Christ in our daily lives.

“Earlier this year, I had the enormous pleasure of returning to St John’s United Reformed Church in Wideopen, North Tyneside, where I was minister for seven years prior to moving to London. A dear friend there reminded me of a game the members used to play if the sermon was boring (never the case with the current minister, let me hasten to say!) The game is count the crosses. There’s the big cross on the wall of the chancel which presides over all the worship that takes place there. There are smaller crosses on lecterns and the communion table. Then there is artwork which has been added over the years as talented church members have offered something for the decor of the sanctuary. There are kneelers (used for weddings) and stained glass. There are the flags – the Union Jack and the Pilots flag. There are banners. If you haven’t spotted more than ten crosses by the time the sermon is over, you haven’t tried hard enough.

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Climate Week

Climate-Week-2014-Logo-RGB-medium-resClimate Week, which runs 3 to 9 March, is Britain’s biggest climate change campaign, inspiring a new wave of action to create a sustainable future. This week’s reflection by Andrew Bradstock, United Reformed Church, secretary for church and society, contemplates how we can help to keep hope alive in the fight against climate change.

“How would it be if we approached climate change with the same attitude people adopted during the First World War? This is a question I read recently and it got me thinking.

“According to the TV documentaries being shown to mark the War’s anniversary, there was a sense of purpose at that time. Winning was all that mattered. Governments could not turn round and say ‘we’re doing our best’. They had to implement measures that would actually secure victory.

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Tear Fund Sunday

tearfundThis Sunday is Tear Fund Sunday, a day when churches can focus on the work of Tearfund around the world and find out how they can get involved to help make a difference. To mark the occasion Ben Niblett, Head of Campaigns, Tearfund, has written a reflection on the reality of climate change and how we need to work together to help those most affected.

“A few mornings ago I woke up to the sight of an army lorry in my road distributing sandbags. I wasn’t expecting it.

“For the past eight years with Tearfund, I’ve been saying that climate change isn’t just a problem for our grandchildren, or for African farmers, or for polar bears – it’s a problem for us. Today, although the water’s not reached my house yet, and I’m hoping it won’t, climate change is a problem for me.

“We don’t know for sure that these particular floods are caused by climate change as we never know that about any single weather event. But we do know that climate change makes floods like this more likely. As the Met Office's chief scientist Dame Julia Slingo told BBC Radio: ‘A warmer world will lead to more intense daily and hourly rain events.’ This is what we’re seeing.

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