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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Leaders of the UK’s three largest free churches have welcomed the breakthrough announced at the climate talks in Durban on Sunday morning – 11 December – but warned that time is running out for climate calamity to be avoided.

Commenting on the agreement of a roadmap towards a new climate deal, the Revd Roberta Rominger, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church, said: “This eleventh hour consensus on charting the way towards a legally binding agreement on greenhouse gas emission by 2020 is good news for developed and developing countries alike.  Now all governments must follow it through and take urgent action to cut carbon emissions significantly; failure to do this could have devastating consequences for the world’s most vulnerable communities.”

Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Britain asked, “Why should people with the lowest carbon footprints on earth have to bear the brunt of the increasingly frequent and extreme climate events? Climate change is now threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of people who live in some of the poorest countries in the world.  We have a moral obligation to challenge the voices of wealthier countries that place their own economic recovery ahead of the urgent call for climate action. Effective action to create low-carbon economies will require internationally agreed restraints on the production of greenhouse gases.”  Revd Jonathan Edwards, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, pointed out that taking climate change seriously was also a moral and spiritual issue. He said: “As Western nations we urgently need to address our individualistic, consumer lifestyles which are the major drivers of climate change – and recover an understanding of the richness that is related to sufficiency.  We simply cannot celebrate the wonder of God’s creation in one breath and then destroy it in the next.”

Mr Edwards added: “Living more sustainably and simply to enable others to simply live is a crucial part of our Christian calling.”

The three denominations have supported proposals to reduce the carbon footprint of their churches, help members of congregations to reduce carbon emissions, and engage politically to work for national and international change. These proposals are part of the report Hope in God’s Future: Christian Discipleship in the Context of Climate Change which examines the issue of Christian discipleship in the context of climate change. It can be downloaded here: http://www.methodist.org.uk/downloads/10-hope-in-gods-future-210509.pdf