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:

“As we witness hundreds of thousands of Christians, Yazidis, and members of other vulnerable religious and ethnic communities being forced from their homes, displaced, persecuted and murdered in northern Iraq and eastern Syria, we call for prayer and acts of solidarity. 

“The atrocities committed by the so-called 'Islamic State' militants have led to the massacre of thousands of men, women and children belonging to religious minority groups. The violence has displaced approximately 1.2million people in Iraq alone including followers of Islam. The thousands of Yazidis who were trapped on Mount Sinjar with no access to food or water, have now escaped into northern Iraq – searching for refuge anywhere possible. Yazidi villages in Iraq are reportedly being taken over by Islamic State militants who are rounding up and executing the men and taking the women to undisclosed locations. Thousands of Christians in the region are now in exile, as communities flee for their lives to take refuge in Kurdish cities.

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 Dr Kevin Snyman preaching at St Paul's © Melanie Smith

On Saturday afternoon, URC minister the Revd Dr Kevin Snyman, preached from the steps of St Paul’s – he was one of many taking part in the ecumenical, interfaith, service which he described as “deeply meaningful”.

Dr Snyman delivered a children’s address on God’s Fabulous Farmyard, a parable focusing on God’s desire to see love, equality, confidence and celebration at the heart of human community.  His words, although aimed at the children, were heard by around 1,200 people, the vast majority of which were supporters of the Occupy London camp in the cathedral piazza. 

Asked why he supports the protest, Dr Snyman, said: “I believe these issues of economic injustice are the most important facing our Church and our world today. If the Church is not supporting Occupy, then is it not, by default, supporting the economic status quo?”

He continued: “I’m a nonconformist minister and I’m passionate about making sure the voice of protest and dissent is heard loudly – the world needs to hear it and the Church cannot afford to ignore it.”

Talking about the Occupy London camp, Nadene Snyman, Kevin’s wife, said: “The atmosphere in the camp is kind and gentle – as far as either of us can tell there has been no hint of negativity – just a positive environment where many committed, creative, people are able to democratically address things they care passionately about.” 

Mrs Snyman added: “One thing that really saddened me is that it has not been St Paul’s, but Starbucks, which has thrown open its doors in welcome to provide basic amenities for the camp and its supporters.  That should be the role of the Church – the role of St Paul’s.” 

Dr and Mrs Snyman are planning to return to the camp next week.

Since Saturday, the position of St Paul’s has changed and yesterday, 1 November, the Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral unanimously agreed to suspend its legal action against the Occupy London camp outside the church.

Photo shows Kevin Snyman preaching from the steps of St Paul’s on Saturday. © Melanie Smith