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."

 

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.

Moderator prayers for Scotland

mod-prayers-for-scotlandAs the date of the Scottish referendum draws closer and politicians from both sides continue their campaigns for a Yes or No vote, the Revd John Humphreys, moderator of the synod of Scotland, reflects on the subject of Scottish independence and how we as a church can respond:

 

Racial Justice Sunday 2014

racial-justice-picThe second Sunday of September is Racial Justice Sunday, an initiative of churches together in Britain and Ireland that offers an opportunity for Christians to focus their worship, prayer and action on racial justice by celebrating human diversity and rejoicing in how far God’s people have travelled together, whilst acknowledging that there is much further to go both in the Church and in the world.

 

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.

 

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 new mural at Bethnal Green Meeting House

Members of Bethnal Green Meeting House, a United Reformed Church in East London, have just unveiled a new mural for the side of their church. The work was painted by Penny Bearman and Lucy Somers, a mother and daughter team of community artists.

The Revd Lucy Berry, minister of Bethnal Green Meeting House, said: “The church was extensively bomb-damaged during the war – and then subject to an unsympathetic post-war refurbishment – and, as a result it has been “invisible” for decades.  We don't, from the outside, look like a church. People don't know that inside we have a little, loving, multicultural and varied congregation.

“Over the past three years the church has been trying to think about what its mission to Bethnal Green should be. Part of the congregation's strength resides in its diversity. There is a lot of happiness in the relationships we share here, but we're also aware of the hardships faced by many in this community. People from Rwanda and from South America have made us more able to witness to tragedy and to resurrection – and it’s all around us in Bethnal Green.

“So, though outreach is also part of the plan, we need firstly to be visible; the mural expresses what we want to say about ourselves: the symbols to the side represent the explicit Christian things we want to say: communion, peace, justice, racial harmony. The golden, mixed-heritage woman expresses some of the things which a good church should stand for – but which are harder to put plausibly into words: belonging, mix, acceptance, spirituality, fun, compassion, safety.”

Ms Berry concluded: “We're not perfect and we never will be, but that doesn't stop us wanting to try. The mural is part of that: letting people of every age, faith, background, experience, orientation and colour know that we are here – and that we’re open and that we are happy to see them. We’re utterly committed to radical welcome and we want our commitment to that welcome to be crystal clear – we want it to be the writing on the wall.”

www.bgmh.co.ukwww.pennybearman.co.uk