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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Positive, practical solutions that help combat climate change are being encouraged, as part of Climate Week, a national campaign supported by the United Reformed Church.

Climate Week provides a platform for showcasing the good work that goes on to tackle climate change, generating discussion and fresh thinking.  Thousands of activities will take place from 12-18 March 2012 and awards will be given for the most impressive and inspirational projects.

The Revd Mike Shrubsole, URC minister and recently appointed coordinator of the environmental network Creation Challenge, has encouraged local congregations  to engage with Climate Week -  to examine the most recent evidence,  plan an event which publicises the issues  and  identify  practical responses through which churches can help to make a real difference.

Creation Challenge is the environmental network of the URC, the Methodist Church in Britain, and the Baptist Union of Great Britain.  Mike Shrubsole explains why climate change is such a hot topic again: “In 2009 we experienced the failure of the Copenhagen climate change conference to agree meaningful carbon reduction targets. This was followed by incidents which caused a loss of credibility in the work of some scientists. As a consequence, the voice of climate change sceptics began to control the carbon reduction agenda.

“Now, two years on, there is a growing sense that scientists have got their house in order, and that the evidence for climate change is stronger than ever. There is also a deeper appreciation that only responses which embrace every part of our life in community with one another, can hope to make a meaningful difference. That is why initiatives like Climate Week are so important”.  Hashim al-Kohan, Climate Week campaign coordinator, said: “We're delighted that the United Reformed Church will be supporting us in 2012, and in doing so, helping to highlight the good work that faith communities are doing.”  

For suggestions of how your congregation can get involved with Climate Week click here: www.climateweek.com

More about Creation Challenge here: www.creationchallenge.org.uk