The United Reformed Church prays for peace in the land we call Holy

URC-Logo-Web-2014As the situation in Israel and Palestine worsens, and the number of lives lost and civilians wounded continues to rise, the United Reformed Church prays for peace and an end to the suffering. You may like to join us, using this prayer written by the Revd John Proctor, general secretary of the United Reformed Church:

 

Prayers for the people of Scotland in the run up to the referendum

scottish voteA resolution brought forward by the synod of Scotland at the United Reformed Church General Assembly last month, called for the URC to pray for the people of Scotland before, during and following the independence referendum to be held on 18 September 2014. The resolution stated: "These prayers should be for all, regardless of conviction, recognising how important the peoples of these islands are to each other."

 

The Windermere Centre offers radical generosity – not raised prices

Windermere CentreThe Windermere Centre – one of the United Reformed Church’s resource centres for learning – has taken the radical decision of abandoning its policy of charging set fees for guests attending courses and events or simply using the centre as a base for a holiday in the Lake District.

 

The United Reformed Church offers statement of solidarity on crisis in Iraq and Syria

iraq crisisModerator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, the Revd David Grosch-Miller, offers the following statement of solidarity as the crisis continues to unfold in Syria and communities in northern Iraq continue to face unrelenting persecution for their religious beliefs:

 

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.

The winner and two highly-commended entries are to be decided by the “Faith Through a Lens” judging panel, led by internationally renowned photo-journalist Don McCullin, along with Paresh Solanki from the Inter faith Network, and the Revd Dr David Cornick from Churches Together in England, with award-winning photojournalist Hazel Thompson also joining the judging team.

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