• Together is Better

    The LORD God said, “It isn’t good for the man to live alone. I need to make a suitable partner for him.” Genesis 20 v 18

    In Genesis, we read that the first time God saw something that was not good was when God looked at Adam on his own.

    It is not good for man to be alone...and so God gave Adam a companion. Fellowship is important; it is the time and place where many of the Holy Habits are fulfilled.

    One of the first things Jesus did in his ministry was to bring a small group of people around him for mutual support and spiritual development. Even at his death, Jesus made sure that his mother Mary would be cared for and not be alone. 

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  • Musical Journey

    MusicJourneyTake time today to think of the music which goes with you on your journeys today. Is it pop, jazz, classical or rock music, is it from the charts today or the charts 20 years ago?

    How does it make you feel, what is it saying to you today?

    Make it your prayer for your journey through today.

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  • In CRCW ministry - you change the world one person at a time

    According to a recent Smirnoff Vodka campaign: "Labels are for bottles not people". This got our very own CRCW; Rosie Buxton thinking... Man Image Rosie Reflection web

    The second reflection we offer you this month is all about the labels we put on people, intentionally or not. As Rosie says in her reflection:
    "It does not matter which way you find information; labels are the first way people are defined. Vulnerable, disadvantaged, troubled, challenging, disabled, celebrity, addict, Christian, Muslim, lonely, financially inactive, refugee, asylum seeker… to name but a few. We get so caught up in labels, we forget the human being behind that label."

    Rosie is currently the church related community worker at the Swansea Region project in Wales. Rosie's reflection this month, provides a great insight into the life of a CRCW and shows us that we really should try to see the person before the 'label'.
    To read the article in full click here.

    If you would like to know more about CRCW ministry, please contact the CRCW office via our main switchboard: 020 7916 2020 or email us at crcw.admin@urc.org.uk

    Image credit: photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

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  • Holiday on a submarine...

    Simon reflection photo web crop"I got out of bed, to discover I was paddling. To our alarm, the boat was full of water and sinking! We quickly got everyone up and abandoned ship, then phoned the marina for help."    

    In the first reflection of 2018, we are treated to a collection of short stories by CRCW Simon Loveitt. If you would like to find out what  on earth happened in: 'Holiday on a submarine…'and read more amusing tales from Simon's time in ministry, you'll find them in a PDF here: It was one of those days...

    Simon Loveitt is currently Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) at The Manor Church and Community Project in Sheffield and has been a CRCW for nearly 3 decades! Simon is also the Chair of the CRCW Programme Sub-committee and has written a document called: 25 Years of Creating Change in Communities which provides a really useful insight into the ministry.

    If you would like to find out how your church could get more involved with its community or you yourself are keen to find out about what is involved in becoming a CRCW, please email me or call the URC switchboard on 0207 916 2020 and ask for the CRCW office.

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  • The run up to Christmas for a Church Related Community Worker

    We are lucky enough to have 2 reflections at once this week! This second reflection has been written by CRCW Alison Dalton, who is based at the Building Bridges projectat Tonge Moor, Bolton. This time of year can be busy for anyone, as there is so much more to squeezeAlison Dalton Dec Reflection into the days leading up to Christmas and being a Church Related Community Worker is no different!

    One example was to help organise Christmas gatherings, as Alison explains: "On the Friday of this week I had great fun with our partnership lunch club (Age UK, Church at the Centre and Tonge Children’s Centre) before I find myself acting as entertainment officer for a local community group: FUSION. This evening they held their Christmas dinner, 4 courses, for 30 local residents. Luckily another CRCW kindly shared some quiz questions with me, thanks Mal!" (Mal Breeze CRCW of the North East Blackburn Group).

    If you would like to take a look back with Alison, over the last couple of weeks, to see just how busy herself and those at the Building Bridges Projecthave been, take a look at this: The run up to Christmas for a Church Related Community Worker.

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  • Church Related Community Work is not about projects it’s about people

    This month's reflection comes from CRCW Helen Stephenson and it is a very important one because it will be the last we will hear from Helen for a while (perhaps ever!) whilst she explores a new career pathSunderland and Boldon Picture2Amend and undertakes new training. We will miss her enormously, as I am sure many of the people she works with will but we wish her the very best in the future and who knows, we may be lucky enough to see her return to the ministry of Church Related Community Work one day.

    If you are in any doubt about what CRCW ministry is all about, this would be a good reflection to read. Helen really sums up what it means to be a Church Related Community Worker and what riches can be brought to a community when everyone pulls together. Helen writes:

    "The joys of the ministry for me have been all the things that lead to project work as a result of journeying with people. Meeting people, hearing their stories, sharing in their celebrations and struggles, bringing people together, making safe spaces, making creative spaces and seeing ideas grow, people grow, challenges faced, struggles overcome and lives transformed."

    This really is a heartfelt piece by Helen, where she explores 4 themes within her CRCW career and you can read her full reflection here: Church Related Community Work is not about projects it’s about people

    To read a brief overview of the CRCW project in Sunderland and Boldon, click here.

    If you would like to know more about becoming a CRCW or about setting up a Church Related Community Work project, please email us at crcw.admin@urc.org.uk or call 0207 916 2020 for more information.

     

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  • So, the question is: What am I doing here?

    "When asked to reflect on my work as a Church Related Community Worker, I wasn’t sure quite what I would reflect on? Having completed my training this year (2017); not inducted nor LisaW Photocommissioned into an accredited CRCW Project, I felt I would struggle. I have thought long and hard about what and where reflecting might take me, it took me back to first hearing the call to Church Related Community Work and to what I have achieved since then."

    A very personal and honest piece by CRCW Lisa Wigfield this month, reflecting on how tragic personal circumstances have shaped her journey through CRCW ministry and led her to a very familiar setting.

    Read the full article here.

    If you have been inspired by Lisa's story and would like to know more about CRCW ministry, do contact the CRCW office at crcw.admin@urc.org.uk or call 0207 916 2020.

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  • Befrienders - In the heart of Manchester city centre.

    "In this modern society, it is hard to find a place to be welcomed and to meet a person who may embrace you as you are, especially in a big city."BefriendersPhoto web 002

    In this new reflection by CRCW student Maria Lee, we hear about the impact 'Befrienders' is having on a community in the heart of Manchester. Maria is in her final year of training and this placement, at Befrienders, is so very different to work she has been involved with before, now working alongside vulnerable communities.

    Maria writes: "The Methodist Central Hall chapel is open alongside Befrienders and is the place to reflect with quiet music on, perhaps to light a candle and people can write down their struggles or prayer requests on the board. This kind of ministry of presence is vital, as an oasis in the midst of a noisy city life."

    To read Maria's reflection and find out about other agencies who work with Befrienders in Manchester, click here.

    If you are interested to find out more about Church Related Community Work (CRCW) and are perhaps inspired to find out more about training opportunities, please contact us and we will respond with all the information you require.

    We also have a CRCW facebook page and twitter account: Enabling Change where you can follow news and updates.

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  • Winson Green in Bloom

    For our latest CRCW reflection, we have a wonderful film created by Kevin Snyman, which shows 'Winson Green in Bloom'. WinsonGreenComGardenWebCropAdella Pritchard, who is the Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) for Bishop Latimer United Church in Birmingham talks about how important Bishop Latimer Community Garden is to the local area and how it not only brings people together but also provides people, many of whom may not have a garden of their own, to learn, share and grow produce and flowers, as well as making friends:

    "For me, it was a fast realisation. It wasn't just about coming and gardening, it was about building friendships between the gardeners".

    Andrew Simons talks about setting up the community garden in 2009 and how he helped enable volunteers and community groups to establish 'grow sites' and provides an insight into the impact it has had: "It's a great way of bringing the community together to share knowledge, to share experiences and to get to know each other."

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  • A bit of a do...

    "Sometimes, in my job, the hardest thing to do – is nothing."Ann Honey Reflection web crop

    "Recently the congregations who worship in the building decided they would like to have a combined event. They wanted to organise something that people in the community would come to, to have fun and to meet new people."

    It's time for another reflection and this month, CRCW Ann Honey talks about what happens when you are nearing the end of your CRCW Project and you realise that you now have to step back...even if you don't always want to!

    Read Ann's reflection: A bit of a do... here.

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  • What do I prepare for the end of my life? - Challenging topics for the Seniors Community Group.

    Jo patterson is currently in the second of her two-year placement projects at St Paul’s Anglican Church in Brixton, South London and enjoying the challenging diversity it brings on a daily basis. Seniors photo for blog WEB

    One of the groups that Jo works directly with is the Seniors Community Group, who meet regularly and have a varied program of visiting guests, bible study, reflection and food! Many topics are discussed and the latest one has been around a theme that for many people, can be a difficult to talk about: “What do I prepare for the end of my life?”

    Read Jo's reflection here.

     

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  • An interesting place to be!

    Luton photo web crop

    Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) Karen Campbell works with the Bury Park Beech Hill Council of Churches - an ecumenical group of churches in Luton and it is a very interesting place to be.

    "It is a town where some families have lived for several generations, whilst others are simply passing through. It is a town of very many colours and cultures. A town where faith really matters. It is a town where difference is widely valued and respected, but where some people seek to use difference as an excuse for hatred and division."

    In this month's reflection, read about the Same Difference initiative, which explores various themes in life which make us at once the same, and yet different.

    Read the full story here: Luton - An interesting place to be!

    For more information about this project, visit: BPBHCC, Luton

     

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  • New Beginnings

    I have consumed vast quantities of bacon butties, scones, sausage squares, sausage links as every activity seems to be MarieCrop2 Web 002accompanied by food.  But as Revd Peter Brain, a former Synod Moderator and Church and Society secretary once observed ‘a church and community that eats together, also grows together’.

    CRCW Marie Trubic talks about New Beginningsas she embarks on a new term in Glasgow with the recently accredited CRCW project at Priesthill and Shawlands URC's. Read her reflection here: New Beginnings.

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  • Levenshulme Women's Group - A reflection by Liz Kam

    “One of the privileges of being a CRCWM (Church Related Community Work Minister) is having time. Knowing that your post willinspire Levenshulme WebPhoto last at least 5 years, and may be even 10, gives a CRCWM an opportunity to develop strong working relationships and trust with local people, and to walk with them through journeys of transformation.”

    In the second reflection for June, CRCWM Liz Kam talks about her work with an inspirational Women's group in Levenshulme: "...they are a flourishing group of women committed to breaking down barriers of difference, ethnicity, age, culture and religion".

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  • As the dust of the election settles, much remains uncertain

    Four days after the country went to the polls, Grace Pengelly, the URC Secretary for Church and Society, reflects on the uncertain political landscape we are currently inhabiting.

    Since Theresa May called the snap election on 18 April, politicians and political parties have campaigned intensively, seeking to secure their place in our next government. Voters were encouraged to reflect on the challenges that face the whole of the UK, as well as those specifically affecting our most marginalised individuals and communities. Many of our churches will have played a crucial role in this process, hosting hustings that provided a platform for parliamentary candidates to present their policies to the local electorate.

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  • EVH – and why it has become a vital IT resource for a community.

    ‘Electronic Village Halls’ as described by the local council of Sunderland’s IT team are nowcomputer image Helen2 a really important resource for members of the community without access to a computer.

    Redundant computers from the local council were made available to community projects and Helen Stephenson, CRCWm at the Sunderland and Boldon project, saw this as an opportune time to get involved: “With the knowledge at the time of the introduction of Universal Credit, which among other things would mean people seeking work and benefits would need access to a computer to fulfil what was required of them, and the closure of job centres and libraries where people could currently access IT, this presented us with an opportunity.”

    Read how conversations with residents, and other local organisations at a consultation event lead to the CRCW project in Sunderland and Boldon developing their own Electronic Village Hall, which has grown from strength to strength:

    Sunderland and Boldon's EVA.

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  • Community Allsorts

    According to Community Minister Pat Oliver, the variety of work within CRCW ministry is a bit like her favourite sweAllsortsets: Allsorts, because ‘they come in all shapes, sizes and colours, have different flavours which can clash or complement and they make the world feel better!’

    Find out more about the church related work within Southampton’s community here: 'Community Allsorts'

    You can read more about the CRCW project at Avenue St Andrews and Freemenatle in Southampton here.

    Avenue St Andrews and Freemantle, Southampton
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  • How can the Church respond to those with memory loss in your community?

    This month, we have the first of our two CRCW reflections for May from community minister; Mal Breeze. Mal works for the North and East Blackburn CRCW project and 'The Open Door Memory Cafe' is one of the many community projects introduced to Blackburn. MemoryCafe Web

    'It was very clear from the beginning that one church could not respond alone and that it had to be ecumenical if it was going to succeed and so there are four denominations involved, the Methodist Church, Anglican Church, Baptist Church and the URC.'

    “The Open Door Memory Café was established in response to the needs of those living with memory loss in the community and the church. It is an ecumenical project, offering an informal, friendly and welcoming space where people with various forms of memory loss or dementia can come together for a cup of tea, chat and optional activities and homemade- cakes in proper China cups.”

    You can read the full article here: How can the Church respond to those with memory loss in your community?

    To read more about Mal Breeze in Blackburn, see our Projects page here.

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  • Time to think and learn - A reflection by CRCW Alison Dalton

    Alison HikingIn this reflection, we hear about Alison's time during her recent sabbatical and how important it was for her to go on her spiritual journey and to reflect upon the last 10 years of service.

    Alison spent some of her time continuing the embroidery she had begun, as a memorial piece for the Building Bridges Projectand says: ‘To achieve this I have read a lot, tried new techniques, which have included exploring my own creativity, spent time in special places and with my family.  This has been a  time to work differently,  to take stock, to learn, to be challenged and to refresh my own spirituality.’

    To read Alison’s full reflection, click here.

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  • Easter reflection: continuing the journey with the risen Christ!

    easter day News images 554x415 cross blue skyThe Revd Kevin Watson, Moderator of the General Assembly, reflects on ‘love so amazing, so divine’ this Easter – and always

    I can certainly understand Cuthbert needing to get away from the responsibilities of his ministry to spend time just with God, in prayer and reflection, Bible study and fasting. All my life the Lenten journey has, for me, been a very personal and individual one. Brought up in the Methodist tradition, the preparation for Easter actually began at new year with the awesome Covenant Service, in which we invite God to take our lives for his use. 

    I would use an old Methodist hymn: ‘O the bitter shame and sorrow’ the last line of each verse inviting us deeper into a personal relationship with Jesus. The first verse ends: ‘All of self and none of thee’ – I could confess this. The second verse: ‘some of self and some of thee’ I could acknowledge but verse three challenged me with: ‘less of self and more of thee’ and I never got to pray honestly the last verse: ‘none of self and all of thee.’

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