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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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