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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URC Logo 300On Friday 23 March, the United Reformed Church’s Mission Council passed the following resolution:

“Mission Council strongly encourages all churches to continue to work on developing their radical welcome, recognising the synergy with Vision2020 outcomes, but discontinues the ZI [Zero Intolerance] Campaign with immediate effect.”

 

Time pressures on Mission’s Council’s agenda meant that the preceding debate, whilst intense, was brief. However, many voices were heard, with the consensus clearly being that take-up across the congregations was not at the level necessary to make a full launch viable, even if it was postponed until September 2012, as had been suggested by the steering group.

The Revd Tracey Lewis, convener of Mission Committee, summed up the debate, proposing a resolution of thanks to the steering group, which passed unanimously. Noting how warmly some 500 local churches had embraced the concept of radical welcome, she said:

“If it had not been for the work of the ZI steering group , which has been brave and risky on occasion, many would not have been introduced to radical welcome, which is bringing health and life into our churches. Let us remember this project has brought tremendous riches to our church.”

The Revd Fiona Thomas, member of the steering group and secretary for education and learning, reminded the gathering that there had been many affirmations of the quality of the toolkit created for those volunteering to act as “companions” to churches who make a serious commitment to the challenges of radical welcome. She also pointed to the affirmation shown of the value of the companion model, and stressed that these resources would be lost unless they were safely located in a specific department of the church.

The steering group meets for the final time this week – on Thursday 29 March – and it will be looking at the many issues that need to be discussed in the light of the decision to terminate the campaign.