Good News Stories

This page is for all the good news stories out there worth sharing. Please do send us stories and photos of the things that you are doing (big or small) in your local church or synod, and let’s celebrate together how God is at work within our children and young people throughout the United Reformed Church.

Pilgrim front resizedPilgrim URC received this e-mail last year from one of the School Parent Advisors they work with: 
“Finally, I have been able to take the children shoe shopping this week. The receipts are working their way to you via Royal Mail. Please can you pass on our sincerest thanks to the Elders and the Committee. I was truly touched whilst shopping with the children, many had not visited Clarks before, they were crazy over the gadgets that measured their feet, and the fact that they could choose a style of shoe and then model them!
I then couldn't resist a drink and Danish pastry treat for them, they were so excited and genuinely enjoyed the trip.
It is the simplest of things that have ensured some of our children have the correct footwear on the next stage of their education.”

Would your church like to impact young lives in a similar way? Read on to see how this got started.

Read more: Pilgrim URC School Uniform Grant Scheme

Emmanuel church 1                  Emmanuel church 2

Some years ago now Gerard Hughes wrote his book God of Surprises in which he reflected on the inner spiritual journey in which Christians are all engaged. The book focuses on those who have a love/hate relationship with the Church to which they belong or once belonged. It appears nothing much has changed; the pressures have probably increased greatly, and anxiety levels about the very future of the church are at breaking point.

I have witnessed this on many occasions as I have visited churches in my area in Swindon and Wiltshire, and one of the greatest areas of concern has been the inability of local congregations to attract the younger generation. All that many congregations have now are the memories of the days when they could hardly cope with the numbers of young children in their church.

The question is – are there other possibilities to explore when it comes to ministering to young people?

Read more: God of Scouting Surprises: an unexpected call to Emmanuel Church

                                   Time for TotsResized Time for Tots 2

Our group has in fact been going for many years, but was in decline and the two ladies who ran it were exhausted and ready to give up. Five years ago, my mother died and it just seemed right for me to become involved in the time that I had formerly saved for her. I appealed to the congregation, formed a team with friends (all retired, and gathered from three churches in this large village), and we worked together to hash out how we could run something manageably, with clear Christian ethos. It helped that two of us were experienced primary teachers prepared to plan ahead and involve the congregation. We visited other groups, were inspired by Toddler Rocks sessions via the Entheos Trust, gathered practical ideas from Sue Greene of SU, enjoy great support from Nicola Grieves (Eastern Synod CTO) and her collaboration with Ely Diocese.

Since Time for Tots has become so popular that we have had to impose a limit of 40 children at a session, we're delighted that both the Parish Church and the Catholic Church in Sawston have started groups on other days – the need here is so great.

Read more: Time for Tots – toddling on at Sawston Free Church

Stuart Radcliffe

When Dan Morrell asked me to be Chaplain to Youth Executive and Youth Assembly I was honoured, and yet at the same time I was a little fearful if I’m honest.

I was at a point in my ministry where I had reached a crossroads. From where I am now, I recognise that it was time to move on. I had, however, perhaps become a little comfortable where I was and was reluctant to take risks. Working with the young people of the United Reformed Church soon put paid to that. Far from needing to be fearful, I entered into a warm and generous community where I was instantly welcomed and also encouraged. I was taken somewhat by surprise as I had expected that to be my job, and yet was reminded that as well as offering ministry we need to be ready to accept it, even when it comes from places you don’t expect.

My time as chaplain was for me transformational. It gave me enormous hope for the church. I was privileged to work with a group of people who believed that the Gospel could transform lives. It gave me back my belief and my passion to take the risks needed to see that happen. It led me to apply for my new role as Missional Discipleship Enabler for Mersey Synod, from where I hope that I can encourage others to live lives that also offer the hope of the Gospel.

So, I encourage you, make friends with the young people of your churches, don’t think of them as the church of tomorrow but instead I beg you recognise the ministry they exercise today and receive the gifts that they have to offer.

School Path

Chandler’s Ford URC have quite literally cleared a path to enable children from the neighbouring infant school to walk to the church without having to go on the public path by the road! This greatly reduces the ‘form-filling’ for the school and makes accessing the church for visits very easy! Sue Scott, church secretary, has been building links with the school who held their carol service there, were invited to Mothering Sunday and have volunteers from the church going in to listen to children read. ‘We are a church without children on a Sunday morning, but ready to welcome children any day of the week! Our new minister is coming to us in September and both the church and the school hope this will take our working relationship even further.’