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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Citizens Advice is working with churches - including the United Reformed Church - and other places of worship across the country to make advice services more accessible, particularly for those living in remote areas. The aim is to will provide face-to-face advice in the local community, rather than users travelling significant distances to a Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

Faithful Advice: A guide for advice services in places of worship, and available to view here: http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/aboutus/publications/faithful_advice.htm was published at the Citizens Advice service’s annual conference and provides practical examples and guidelines for churches to set up face-to-face advice sessions on their premises. The guidelines acknowledge that as the public sector cuts bite, churches can play a vital role in offering premises for advice sessions, particularly where there are no alternative sites available locally. The resulting services can save people having to travel up to 50 miles for face-to-face advice. Building on the knowledge and experience gained by pioneering examples of advice centres in churches, the United Reformed Church, the Methodist Church, the Church of England nad the Church Urban Fund  have been working in partnership with Citizens Advice to produce this guidance specifically for places of worship. 

Graham Jones Rural Officer for the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church based at the Arthur Rank Centre said: “There are already some excellent examples of churches collaborating with CAB to deliver face-to-face advice services to less accessible communities. Our hope is that these guidelines will help develop this relationship and lead to a growing number of churches acting as partners and hosts in this way. Building on previous guidelines encouraging churches to host post offices and community shops, here is further evidence of the churches’ commitment to playing their part in meeting the needs and challenges of rural and isolated communities.”

The Rt Revd John Gladwin, former Bishop of Chelmsford and chair of CAB said: “In an era when the demand for advice services is increasing and funding cuts may result in advice outreach locations such as libraries facing closure, advice agencies must find cost effective ways of ensuring people can get the face to face advice they need.  By working with faith organisations, Citizens Advice Bureaux has already established partnerships which enable them to reach out and provide advice services to some of the most vulnerable and disengaged sections of our communities.”

www.arthurrankcentre.org.ukwww.citizensadvice.org.uk