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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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.