Commitment to Eco-Congregation Scotland reaffirmed
Members of three ecumenical congregations came together last month to celebrate the National Synod of Scotland and wider United Reformed Church's commitment to the ministry and mission of EcoCongregation Scotland. Consisting of more than 600 churches, EcoCongregation Scotland is a registered charity and is committed to addressing climate change and conservation. The Revd David Coleman serves as the charity's Chaplain and has also been appointed to serve for a further five years. This, unusually, is the second renewal of this post, meaning that the URC will have committed to funding this post for 15 years, reflecting the importance the Church attaches to it. Learn more about this.
Windrush decision slammed
The Revd Dr Tessa Henry-Robinson, General Assembly Moderator, has called the Home Secretary's decision to disband the team dedicated to addressing the fallout from the Windrush scandal "disgraceful, divisive and disrespectful.” Read the Moderator's response in full.
WCC appeals for immediate ceasefire
The World Council of Churches, of which the URC is a member, is following closely the developments in Israel and Palestine since the outbreak of hostilities on 7 October. "The WCC appeals urgently for an immediate cessation of the deadly violence," said the Revd Prof Dr Jerry Pillay, WCC General Secretary in a statement, "and asks both parties for de-escalation of the situation." Read the statement in full.
The URC also offers these prayers for public or private use.
Books bring hope and faith to new Zambian school
An idea to bring a few books in an extra suitcase on a trip to Zambia to celebrate the opening of a new school library wasn't possible after a whopping 4,000 titles was donated. Members of Cumnor URC were making the trip to celebrate the opening of Hope and Faith Christian Community School, of which the church raised £500,000 through donations to help build. Learn more about Cumnor's fundraising effort.
Order your 2023 Advent resource
'God in the ordinary’ – the URC Advent resource for local churches to give away to families. Following the success of the 2022 resource, we are producing an Advent pack with a huge poster, four mini-books and things to make and do to help families find God in ordinary, everyday life. As previously, this will come in an unsealed envelope so churches can add an invitation to their Christmas services and events. Please pre-order by emailing the Children's and Youth Work Team with the quantity you would like to ensure you don’t miss out. Cost £2.50 per pack +p&p. They should be available for despatch from 1 November.
Download or print News Update
A downloadable version of News Update, formatted for print, and for churches to copy and paste into church newsletters or magazines will be available within a week of this edition being published. Please check here.
If you have a good news story that can inspire, raise hope or show God's work in action then please let URC Communications know. We would love to help share your news across the denomination and in local news outlets. Email the team here or call 07976 753 250
Government funding for churches
Places of worship in England and Wales can apply to a £28 million government fund, available through two schemes, to help keep them and their attendees protected from the threat of hate crime and terror attacks. Learn more about the schemes.
Abby Mayers, aged 19, of Malpas Community Church in Mersey Synod, Sebastian Little, aged ten, of Brockworth Free URC in West Midlands Synod, and Jessica Warren, aged 24 from Cornerstone Church in Southern Synod, have been named recent Lundie Memorial Award winners for July, August and September respectively. Learn more about these young people, the Lundie Memorial Awards and how to make a nomination.
Ethical financial help available
This month in Reform magazine
Once again, this year’s Greenbelt featured the URC’s highly successful yOURcafé, which teamed up with Nikki Dravers and REfUSE to produce affordable, delicious meals from food that supermarkets say is worthless. In this month’s edition of Reform, Steve Tomkins asks Nikki how REfUSE came about and why. In A Good Question, non-violence in light of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is debated, and Laurence Wareing talks to chaplains about the unique opportunities in their work. Clare Davison explores what we can learn from Jesus about prayer, Anthony Reddie asks why Christians are so fixated on what we believe rather than what we do, and Michael Hopkins wonders whether the task of pastoral care is still relevant. Subscribe to Reform digitally or in print, alternatively for a free sample copy, please email the team.
Please order online using the URC Bookshop’s easy-to-use website www.urcshop.co.uk or by calling 020 7916 8629.
Gifts and stocking fillers for all ages including new designs and bestsellers in the URC Bookshop's Christmas gift. From £2.99, plus p&p. Order your Christmas gifts.
New designs and bestsellers in the URC bookshop's Christmas card selection. All cards purchased raise money for a variety of Christian charities. From £2.99 for a pack of 10 cards with envelopes, plus p&p. Order your cards.
Revolting Christians badges and hats, jubilee communion glasses, polo shirts, hoodies and much more. Ideal gifts and resources. Order merchandise.
The Revd Dr Michael Hopkins has been nominated to serve as Moderator of the Wessex Synod after the Revd Clare Downing became the Moderator of the North Western Synod in June. Learn more about this Michael.
The Revd David Salsbury has been nominated to serve as the Moderator of the National Synod of Wales after the Revd Simon Walkling returned to local ministry. Learn more about David.
Congratulations to Clitheroe URC which became the first church in the North Western Synod to achieve an Eco Church Gold Award during the summer. The church has always considered the impact of its behaviour on the environment, locally and worldwide and this has been a central theme of worship and leadership of Clitheroe URC for a number of years.
Congratulations to the Revd Ruth Dewis who, last month, was ordained and inducted to the North Enfield pastorate (Bush Hill Park, Christ Church and Lancaster Road URC’s) in the Enfield and East Herts. Local Area Group.
Congratulations to the Revd Jonathon Greenwood, a Baptist minister, who was inducted to Eastgate Union Church, Louth, last month.
Bookings are now open for Youth Assembly 2024, taking place at Whitemoor Lakes in Alrewas, Staffordshire, from 26-28 January 2024. Youth Assembly is for all young people associated with the URC in any way. The cost on or before 13 November is £124, and then £154. Learn more about Youth Assembly or book your place.
Christian resources, Solihull
The Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE) Midlands takes place from 8-9 Nov 2023 at Cranmore Park in Birmingham. As well as the URC's stand, Members of the URC's Children's and Youth Work Team, Lorraine Webb and Dr Sam Richards, will be running two sessions on 'running a holiday club' on the 8 from 11.30-11.55am and on 'where are the young people?' on the 9 from 3.30-3.55pm both in talk area two. Get your free CRE ticket.
Westminster College in Cambridge is hosting the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion's one-day conference exploring how the church can engage with mental health. The event, taking place on 4 November from 9.30am-4.15pm, will consider both theory and practice – providing a model for understanding mental illness as well as plenty of worked examples to grapple with the practicalities. The event takes place both online and at the college. Register for the conference.
The Bible Reading Fellowship is offering a training course to help churches seeking to develop their ministry to older people. The Spiritual Care Series consists of eight two-and-a-half hour sessions (including video material) giving churches and carers the confidence, understanding and skills to provide effective holistic spiritual care. The Spiritual Care Series course consists of a six-user pack costing £360 and additional participants licences cost £60. Learn more about The Spiritual Care Series.
The Council for World Mission's webinar series, in partnership with School of Oriental and African Studies, continues on 6 November with 'Memorialising the Demerara Slave Uprising: Whiteness and Decolonizing the Archives' led by the Revd Dr Michael Jagessar, a URC minister, now retired. Email to register.
Youthscape Essentials is a ten-week course to equip and strengthen anyone working with/ministering to young people in churches and community projects. The five northerly Synods' CYDO+ team will be running the course every Tuesday night from 10 October to 12 December from 7-9pm on Zoom. For more information, please email Leo Roberts in North Western Synod to book your place and get further details.
Stepwise facilitator training
If you are interested in finding out what Stepwise has to offer, what’s involved in facilitating Stepwise and how you might go about setting up a group, join the Stepwise facilitator training session taking place on 23 October from 7-8.30pm. For further details and to register for these sessions please email David Salsbury or Marion Brown.
Church leaders share dismay at watering down of green policies
The Revd Dr Tessa Henry-Robinson, Moderator of the URC General Assembly, joined leaders from the Baptist Union of Great Britain and The Methodist Church in Britain in issuing a statement saying they were "dismayed that the Prime Minister is delaying the implementation of policies to achieve net zero." Last month, Rishi Sunak, vowed to forge ahead with watering down key green measures despite intense criticism. Read the church leaders' statement in full.
Be part of a new movement of faith groups and charities who are united in calling for an end to poverty in the UK. Individuals and organisations are welcome to sign up to the 'Let's End Poverty' campaign. Learn more about the initiative.