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 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.

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.

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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The Revd Graham Maskery

On Pentecost Sunday – 12 June – the Church on Oakwood, celebrated 25 years of ministry on Oakwood estate in Derby – one of Europe’s largest private housing developments.

The morning congregation comprises worshippers from three denominations – United Reformed, Methodist, and Anglican – and in the evening a Roman Catholic service is held in the building. 

In spring 1986 a few local Christians met in the home of a deaconsess who made it available for prayer; and the first official service was held at Pentecost in June that year.  About 60 people from all denominations attended, including Steve Judd, who still worships at the church, who recalled: "People were on the window sills, in the kitchen, in the hall and up the stairs. The band stood half inside and half on the patio."

In October 1992 building work started, being completed the following spring, with the first service held at Easter 1993.  It was named The Church on Oakwood – as it was, and remains, the only church in Oakwood, catering for all denominations.

Mrs Hazel Ellison, chair of the church's 25th anniversary committee, said: "We consider Pentecost our birthday – our first church meeting took place on Pentecost in the deaconess's house and our church building was also dedicated on Pentecost Sunday."

Over the years, the church has seen many people come and go, but Mrs Ellison said numbers had gradually risen, bucking the national trend.

She said: "It's hard to say why that is. We're a modern church that encompasses different denominations, so there are aspects of all Christian traditions. It works. While there may be some differences between those traditions, everyone's attitude is we all worship the same God. We have various services to cater for everyone, but also get together as one church community."

During the four weeks leading up to and including Pentecost Sunday there were special services with guest preachers from the Methodist, Anglican, Roman Catholic and United Reformed traditions.  On Sunday 5 June, the Revd Graham Maskery (pictured), currently URC minister at St Columba’s with New Lendal, in York, was the guest preacher.  Graham, a former ecumenical officer for East Midlands Synod, played a leading role in the early life of the church on Oakwood. His passionate sermon  included a call for all present  to recognise our calling as “the priesthood of all believers” and to “stop maintaining what we've got and get on with the mission of the church” –  to be the heart of Christ at the heart of Oakwood and to tell people of God's love for them.

The anniversary  weekend was marked by an afternoon of fun and games at Oakwood Park on Saturday, and a special lunch, after the Sunday morning service.