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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Yesterday – 3 May – Roberta Rominger, general secretary of the United Reformed Church, and James Breslin, clerk to the General Assembly, wrote to all synod moderators and clerks requesting nominations for the role of lay Moderator of the General Assembly. The nominations are to be submitted to Mrs Rominger no later than 31 May.

This urgent and unusual request was made for two reasons:

  • The URC’s normal nominations process has produced the names of two ministers – but no elders – to stand in the election, to be held at General Assembly this July, for moderators to serve 2014-16. Obviously both are needed.
  • At Mission Council Mr Lawrence Moore resigned as lay Moderator of General Assembly 2012-14.

Taken together, these two facts meant that the Assembly officers needed to find a solution to a unique set of circumstances. Several options were considered, including that the current lay moderator, Mrs Val Morrison, serve for a further two years; and, alternatively, that an election be held at Assembly, for a lay moderator to start their term of office this July. In the end the officers opted for a third way.

The current rules of procedure state that a moderator remains in post until the induction of his or her successor. Given this, Mrs Morrison, will continue until her successor is inducted – it is hoped that this will take place at the May 2013 Mission Council meeting – and she will therefore join the Revd Dr Michael Jagessar in chairing General Assembly in July.

The proposal of the Assembly officers is that a lay Moderator should be elected at General Assembly and will serve as moderator-elect until his/her induction in 2013. S/he will then serve a three-year term, until General Assembly meets in 2016. Mrs Morrison's continuation in post does not require any changes to the rules, but the proposal for a change to the period of service for the next lay moderator will need the consent of the General Assembly and this will be sought when it meets in Scarborough in July.

The 13 Synods of the United Reformed Church have been asked to submit the names of elders, serving or non­serving, who are prepared to serve as Moderator of General Assembly 2013-16. Each Synod has been asked to nominate one person and these names will all go forward for election at General Assembly in July. Members of the United Reformed Church, who have names to suggest, should, in the first instance, contact their synod office.

The election of the ministerial moderator is unaffected by these proposed changes. Dr Jagessar will serve as moderator 2012-2014 and the election of his successor will be held using our normal procedures.