Faith through a lens

faith-through-lensAre you interested in entering a national photography competition celebrating “Faith Through a Lens”? The Congregational & General is holding a prestigious annual photography competition which celebrates diverse representations of faith. Now in its fifth year, the contest is aimed at amateur photographers across the UK and is calling for creative photography that showcases everyday demonstrations and expressions of faith.

Time for creation

creation-timeFrom 1 September to the 4 October churches around the world will be taking time to pray for the protection of creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles that reverse our contribution to climate change.

 

Archbishop to deliver keynote speech at public issues conference

welbyThe Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will give the keynote address at the ‘Love your neighbour: Think, Pray, Vote’ conference organised by the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church. This will be the third such conference arranged by the three churches and will be held at Coventry Central Hall on Saturday 21 February 2015.

Churches campaign for the abolition of Trident ahead of Peacemaking Sunday

JPIT logoAs diplomatic initiatives gather pace to build a framework for a nuclear-weapon-free world, three British Churches are reiterating their call for the abolition of Trident. The call comes in advance of Peacemaking Sunday, which falls on 21 September this year.

 

The United Reformed Church prays for the people of Scotland

flower of scotlandThe Revd John Proctor, general secretary of the United Reformed Church, wrote the following prayer for the people of Scotland prior to the Scottish Referendum, praying for the future it will open, whatever the outcome. John has lived three quarters of his life in England, but retains strong links to Scotland, where he began his life and began his ministry.

 

Peacemaking Sunday

jerusalemPeacemaking Sunday is the Sunday closest to the United Nations International Day of Peace on 21 September. This year it falls on 21 September itself.

 

Community Project Awards 2014

Community-project-playlist-videosOn 6 July the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church celebrated the work of the many community-based projects based in or linked to United Reformed Churches with the Congregational and General sponsored Community Project Awards.

Four projects won awards – the overall winner was Glenorchy Work Club based at Glenorchy United Reformed Church in Exmouth and the three runners up were Chapelfield Grow Your Own; Hope Restored, and Messy Church SEND.  Short films of all four projects are available here.

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Val Morrison and Clare Downing

On Saturday 8 January the Revd Clare Downing was formally inducted as moderator of the Wessex Synod of the United Reformed Church. 

As synod moderator, Ms Downing will lead Wessex Synod, giving strategic direction and offering care and support to the synod’s 60 URC ministers and 138 URC churches.

Talking of her appointment, Clare says: “I’m really looking forward, with some trepidation, to the joys and challenges of my new role in Wessex.  For me, ministry is always about people and I’m looking forward to sharing in and developing the mission of the synod and to the opportunity to share my life and story with the lives and stories of the people of Wessex.”

She adds: “I bring with me broad shoulders and a well developed sense of humour. Of course, I take faith seriously, but I have learnt that the ability to laugh at myself is just as essential as other more overtly ‘spiritual’ characteristics!”

Peter Pay, Wessex Synod Clerk, concludes: “We are all delighted that Clare has been appointed as our new synod moderator. I have no doubt that she brings with her exactly the right combination of deep love for God, proven leadership skills and a warm and engaging personality, and I look forward to working with her over the coming months and years,”

Clare trained at the South East Institute for Theological Education and Westminster College, was ordained minister in 1998 and served at Braunstone & Evington Road, Leicester between 1998 and 2007. Immediately prior to this appointment she worked as special category minister at St Philip’s Centre for Study and Engagement in a Multi Faith Society in Leicester, and before training for ordination was a qualified social worker.

Wessex Synod covers a swathe of central southern England, taking in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, together with parts of Buckinghamshire, Dorset and Surrey and Ms Downing’s appointment represents something of a homecoming for her; she was born in Oxford and spent her early years in Wallingford in Berkshire and Bournemouth.

Clare is married to John, also a URC minister, and they have two adult sons.

On Sunday 9 January Clare appeared on the Mary Green Show on BBC Radio Berkshire, listen to the interview here, it starts at 1.35:    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00cvwhd/Mary_Green_09_01_2011/

Photo caption: Mrs Val Morrison, moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, with the Revd Clare Downing (pictured right) at her induction service on Saturday 8 January