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Karen reflection photo 002‘Luton gangs to be targeted by Bedfordshire Police,’ screams one headline. ‘Luton fast food owner jailed over drugs in takeaway bag,’ shouts another. ‘Luton terrorism hotspot,’ cries one more.

For those unfamiliar with the area, it would seem, on first appearances, to be a place to avoid.

But Karen Campbell, United Reformed Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) for Grassroots – a Luton-based ecumenical charity that supports community work through its involvement with the Bury Park Beech Hill Council of Churches (BPBHCC) – shows just how much work is going on behind the negative headlines, to build community and celebrate multiculturalism. 

Read more: CRCW helps build Luton up from the grassroots

Chaos in ChurchThere are times when a person enters church so damaged that we can see absolutely no way to help them, or even to reach them. This upsets me. It upsets me equally to hear church people say: ‘They've made a choice’. To believe this is a comfortable way off a terrible hook; because the point at which such chaotic persons could discern their choices is long gone. So, what do we do? Nothing. But pray.

Chaos in Church

Chaos wandered into church;
with splitting plastic-bags of cans,
and stubbed-out fag-ends in each hand,
and sat down with a lurch.  

Read more: ‘Chaos in Church’ a poem by URC poet-minister Lucy Berry

Pentecost imageOn Sunday (20 May) Christians around the world will be celebrating Pentecost. As described in Acts 2:1-31, it is an occasion that commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and other followers of Jesus, and is referred to by many as ‘the birthday of the Church’.

The Revd David Grosch-Miller, immediate-past Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, offers the following reflection:

If Pentecost is the birthday of the Church then balloons and party poppers are a poor substitute for wind and fire. When the Jewish Festival of Pentecost was given a makeover, a disruptive force was released which challenged assumptions, tore down barriers and invited the whole world to dream a new dream. Luke has already given a warning of what is to come when, in the Gospel, he names the female followers of Jesus as the witnesses to the Resurrection. The fact that it has taken the Christian Church the best part of 2000 years to catch on suggests that the Holy Spirit has some work to do to shake us up as we listen to what God is about.

Read more: Pentecost is the invitation for all of us to dream a new dream

FobtsThe United Reformed Church has joined a group of churches and faith-based organisations and issued a welcome to the government’s response to the review of fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

In a statement, the URC, The Salvation Army, The Methodist Church, The Church of Scotland, The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Evangelical Alliance UK, Quaker Action on Alcohol and Drugs, CARE, The Mission and Public Affairs Council of the Church of England said:

Read more: Churches welcome cut to betting machine stakes