The United Reformed Church commemorates the lives behind the names of World War One

poppy red and whiteThousands of red and white poppies have bloomed across the United Kingdom as the United Reformed Church begins a series of commemorations to mark the outbreak of World War One.

 

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:

 

A Reflection for Slavery Remembrance Day

slavery remembrance dayThe 23 August of each year has been designated by UNESCO to memorialize the transatlantic slave trade. This date is significant as it commemorates the uprising of slaves on the island of Saint Domingue (today Republic of Haiti), on the night of 22 to 23 August 1791, which set forth events which were a major factor in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. A reminder that enslaved Africans were the main agents of their own liberation. The Revd Tessa Henry-Robinson, is a newly ordained minister at the United Reformed Church, who has been greatly involved in Racial Justice and Multicultural Ministry and Cascades of Grace, she has written the following reflection for Slavery Remembrance Day:

“On a regular day, perhaps no different than yesterday or today, my African ancestors lived freely...

“Then, imagine being brutally captured, dragged off in chains to a castle or under a tunnel, chained-up with cattle under a tree, and forced to wait on the unknown. This is what happened to them, sometimes their captors were familiar and other times they were white foreign faces. Then imagine yourself packed in tight horizontal rows after being herded in chains onto a ship built by the Dutch for the purpose of transporting thousands of human beings as cargo. Then the ship sets sail to a place unknown to you.

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 Roberta Rominger

A decade on from the 9/11 attacks British Church leaders are calling for the Government to examine its use of military force in response to violent extremism.

The Revd Roberta Rominger, general secretary of the United Reformed Church (pictured); the Revd Lionel E Osborn, president of the Methodist Conference and the Revd Jonathan Edwards, general secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain state:

“It is clear that our reaction to the attacks on 9/11 has caused more suffering and loss than the original attacks. The “War on Terror” has done little to make anyone safer, but has harmed human rights, depleted our coffers and damaged our standing in the world, and at a cost of many lives.”

The Churches will celebrate Peacemaking Sunday on 18 September. A service booklet and worship resources are available to download online here: http://jointpublicissues.org.uk/peacemakingsunday/?dm_i=BVI,J7TI,3698E2,1KB3K,1

The full statement reads: “The ten year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks will be a day of huge sadness for the whole world and our hearts and prayers are with all those who continue to mourn the loss of their loved ones in the terrible atrocities of 9/11. We remember those who died in the attacks, and those who died in the wars that followed.

“A decade on, it is also an appropriate moment to pause and consider what lessons we have learned as a nation in the intervening years. Our military action in Afghanistan and Iraq has taught us that defeating an enemy may take only days, but rebuilding a just and inclusive society will take many years.

“It is clear that our reaction to the attacks on 9/11 has caused more suffering and loss than the original attacks. The ‘War on Terror’ has done little to make anyone safer, but has harmed human rights, depleted our coffers and damaged our standing in the world, and at a cost of many lives.

“It is sad and ironic that regimes that seek to maintain their rule through military force have often purchased their weapons from Britain, such as Libya, which has purchased 120 million Euros worth of British arms since 2005.

“Our government aspires to support democratic reform in the Middle East, but at the same time tax-payers’ money is being used to support the London Arms Fair, hosting 1,300 weapons companies from around the world.

“There can be no future security if we place our trust in more sophisticated weapons.  We cannot rely on military intervention but must concentrate on supporting the principles of political progress, human security and economic justice if we are to achieve a better and more secure world for all.

“As Christians we follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace. We pray for world leaders, for peacemakers and for those suffering violence everywhere, and we look to the future with hope.”

Read Frank Kantor's blog post on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 here: http://jointpublicissues.blogspot.com/2011/09/to-remember-and-reflect-meditation-on.html

Mr Kantor is the URC's secretary for church & society