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Image credit N. elladeeThe Bible is full of rivers - and other great bodies of water - into which Bible people go with more, or less, willingness ... Will we be cleansed or drowned? Will we cross or sink? And what is waiting on the other side? Baptism into truth isn't a one-off thing. But we stand, both as souls and as churches, at the brink of much that we neither choose nor understand. Shall we trust and jump in, or linger un-washed and un-travelled on familiar shores? 

 

Read more: 'The Rivers Ahead' by URC poet-minister, Lucy Berry

Advent Pray Hands Candlelight Candle Prayer Open Light 1926414The Revd John Proctor, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church, explores the true meaning of hope at Advent 

Advent. Candles, calendars and countdown to Christmas. Lighting the darkness, logging the passing days and looking ahead. Waiting, watching, yearning. 

A friend of mine fell into conversation with an old man at a rural bus-stop. When was the bus due? Some time yet. ‘But it won’t take me as long to wait,’ said the old man, ‘as it will take you.’

Read more: Waiting, watching, and yearning

Francis and RichardNews of Walking the Way has been rumbling through the denomination for the past few months – with the introductory leaflet and the initial resources already available online.

Yet Advent marks the official launch of the URC’s new focus on lifelong Christian discipleship, and Francis Brienen, Deputy General Secretary (Mission), and Richard Church, Deputy General Secretary (Discipleship), explain what Walking the Way is, and what resources are planned for the coming months.  

They say: ‘Walking the Way explores what it means to actively follow and learn from – and to be eventually transformed by – Christ.  It’s for everyone at any stage of the Christian journey – whoever you are, whatever your existing relationship with Jesus Christ and the Church is, whatever your personal circumstances. While there’s nothing new about being a disciple of Christ, we’re confident that there is something new about Walking the Way – in its accessible approach and in the wide range of supporting resources produced and planned.

Read more: It's here! Walking the Way launches

Bishop Latimer female gardenersAn overgrown plot of land behind a church building, has been transformed into a thriving community space.

Bishop Latimer Community Garden was set up by Bishop Latimer United Church, Winson Green, Birmingham, with the help of Birmingham City Council, local schools and the Soho Sure Start Centre in 2009.

According to church related community worker, Adella Pritchard, the garden has now become an integral part of the local area.

Read more: Disused plot turned into thriving community space