A new poem from United Reformed Church poet-minister, the Revd Lucy Berry. This month, Lucy reflects on Silent Stars, which was the theme of this year's Greenbelt Christian arts festival. She says: ‘Broadly, church and Church are in steady decline in Britain, with the exception of inner-city Pentecostal churches. I admire the silent stars in any organisation but it will not be individual acts of love, unselfishness, courage, or sacrifice which will save church.’
Tessa Henry-Robinson, who has been greatly involved with the Racial Justice Network and Cascades of Grace, offers the following reflection for Black History Month.
The times in which we live call for change, for us to be self-aware and to act in a way that brings a positive difference. The way we act ought to demonstrate deep awareness of how profoundly what we do in our lives matter. So seeking justice, sharing love and waking up to the fact that Black and other historically marginalised communities matter to God too, should matter to us all.
The United Reformed Church (URC) is launching the second phase of its Past Case Review on 4 October 2016 when the public are being invited to raise concerns formally about the behaviour, or conduct, of anyone affiliated with the URC since its formation in 1972.
The first phase, which ran from September 2015 to May 2016, involved reviewing all URC ministers’ files – both Ministers of Word and Sacrament and Church Related Community Workers.
The Revd Richard Church, the URC’s Deputy General Secretary (Discipleship), is responsible for the Past Case Review. He highlighted the progress to date and outlined the next phase of the ‘transparent, comprehensive and robust’ process. He said: ‘A specialist team read the records of everyone who held ministerial office from 1972 onwards, around 2,500 files, to look for any historic incidents of inappropriate behaviour or abuse that may have been overlooked at the time. Some significant cases emerged, but the majority were found to have been handled appropriately at the time.
Bramhall URC in Stockport decided to join in with the phenomenon that swept the nation this summer: Pokémon GO!
The game, played on mobile phones, involves searching for – and catching – cartoon characters (called Pokémon). The characters appear on screen in houses, public areas, parks, beaches, gardens, shops, libraries and churches. If players want to catch Pokémon characters and score points, they have no choice other than to go to the physical place where the virtual characters might appear.
October is Black History Month and the United Reformed Church Global and Intercultural Ministries team are calling on churches, both in the UK and around the world, to reflect on what Black History Month means for us as people of faith.
To mark the occasion, we will be sharing weekly reflections from church leaders from around the world and sharing resources and materials on our Facebook and Twitter pages. The first reflection is by the Revd Dr Collin Cowan, General Secretary of the Council for World Mission: