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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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.