United Reformed Church Feasts and Festivals 2017

FF-button-2-2016A year of celebration 2017, a year for the whole United Reformed Church to celebrate all that we have been, are now and are called to be as we continue walking the way of Jesus Christ today. It’s 500 years since the Lutheran Reformation, 100 years since the ordination of Constance Coltman, the first woman to enter congregational ministry, 45 years since the URC came into being, more than 80 years since Pilots started and 25 years since Commitment for Life began. So, let’s celebrate! And, in doing so, let’s think about who we are, what we’re about and how we can support one another as we all, in our own ways and contexts, seek to be better disciples of Jesus. - See more at: Feasts and Festivals Events   Resources for Worship, Bible Study and action. New resources added every three months.   Website: Feasts & Festivals - Celebratory themes 2017

Walking the Way/URC Pilots Big Day Out Film 2017

Following a very successful URC Big Day Out, we have produced a short film giving an overview of the day, thinking about the URC’s renewed focus in Missional Discipleship on Walking the Way and how Pilots offers us all a great example of what it means to walk with Jesus.

You can view/embed the Pilots Big Day Out film from You Tube here   Alternatively, you can download a copy from here (URC Big Day Out 2017)

If you have any questions or issues, please do contact us. Simon Peters Feasts and Festivals Desk, United Reformed Church  86 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9RT

Gospel Street-Touring-the-UK 2017

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Retelling the News - People are out on the street

Another generation is looking for answers - a rich young career girl, an angry gang leader, a charming church-goer, misfits, activists, crooked bankers, a surprising refugee and the bloke who bought himself seriously expensive jewellery. People who stood face to face with Jesus. There are anecdotes, bust-ups, blogs and posts. It’s a wild ride through issues of life, death and miraculous street food.

Despite their differences and social divisions, 140 characters want to meet one extraordinary person. Jesus has arrived on their street and he’s on the lookout for trouble – looking to do something about it. Four young people - two women, two men - like the first evangelists, tell the startling story of what happened, just now, on that street. The result is a powerful mix of theatre, music, comedy and spoken word.

GOSPEL STREET is a collaboration between award-winning writers, including rapper and hip-hop artist Testament. Riding Lights is doing what it does best: bringing everyone together to hear some of the good news with wisdom, laughter, energy and insight.

To book a performance call 01904 655317 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.      Download: Retelling the News Gospel Street flyer

Praying for People in Korea

Praying for our Partners and People of the Korean Peninsula

URC-LOGO-blue-smallPlease see link below,a letter of support from the United Reformed Church in the context of the current situation in Korea and sent to our Partner Churches in South Korea and to all our minister colleagues of the Korean community who are among us.

You may wish to share the letter (or the sentiments expressed therein) across your synod. Our Korean partners (and many others) continue to value all our prayers.

View: Letter from the URC in the context of the current situation in Korea

Immoral & illogical Immigration Rules in USA

'Immoral and Illogical' Immigration Rules in the US

The Moderators of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, Alan Yates and Kevin Watson, have issued the following call to prayer: It was with deep sadness that we received the news that President Trump has barred entry to the US to the nationals of seven countries. As the ruling was immediate, it caused severe distress and personal loss to many.

If the President will not listen to his critics at home, including one of the foremost American finance businesses, Goldman Sachs, we have no expectation that he will listen to us. However, that does not prevent us from expressing our disgust at this action, which is both immoral and illogical. It is not likely to have any positive impact on the security of the US, and in fact could have just the opposite effect. Jesus calls us to do two things: To love the Lord our God and to love our neighbour as ourselves. We call upon the Trump administration to reverse this obnoxious order and to begin showing the love Jesus called us all to show to one another. We call upon all Christians to pray that the Trump administration will drop this odious order, and to pray for all our Muslim sisters and brothers that they may find peace and forgiveness in their hearts.

Read a selection of statements issued by US churches in response to the ban, gathered by the Joint Public Issues Team - See more at:  Latest News Immoral and Illogical Immigration

URC Past Case Review

The URC Past Case Review Process

past-case-review-2017A time to acknowledge past abuses, show Christian love and build a stronger, safer church community. The United Reformed Church Past Case Review phase two is an open invitation for anyone to raise concerns about the behaviour or conduct of anyone affiliated with the United Reformed Church since its formation in 1972.   Why is this happening and what does it mean for us?

There is the highest level of public and political concern about past failings in the behaviour of national bodies which have resulted in past abuses being ignored or covered up. A number of high profile cases involved national figures in positions of authority or influence who were found guilty of abusing their power, authority or celebrity status (such as Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris), in particular involving the abuse of women and young people.

The churches have recognised that they have ignored evidence about past abuses. Some church leaders have been found guilty, including a Scottish Cardinal and a former Anglican Bishop of Lewes. The Pope has said that abuse of children was like "leprosy" infecting the Church, according to the Italian La Repubblica newspaper. Pope Francis has strengthened the Vatican's laws against child abuse and has sought forgiveness from the victims of sexual abuse by priests. Sadly, there have also been a few cases within the URC.

Concern about abuse is now widespread around the world and several countries have established public enquiries. The UK government’s Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is investigating a wide range of institutions including local authorities, the police, the armed forces, schools, churches and mosques to consider the extent to which State and non-State institutions have failed in their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation; to consider the steps which it is necessary for State and non-State institutions to take in order to protect children from such abuse in future; and to publish a report with recommendations.

All the UK churches are reviewing their own files and past practices concerning all forms of abuse. A consistent finding is mistreatment is usually associated with abuse of power by people exercising authority. Examining these cases has therefore inevitably led churches to explore the ways in which power is used and abused within the church, in particular, the concept of spiritual abuse, meaning the use of spiritual authority or The Bible by an ordained or lay church leader to coerce, intimidate or ill-treat people, not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually.

The URC has established a formal process to receive, evaluate and respond to any allegations involving ordained ministers and also lay church leaders. All churches are being asked to draw this to the attention of congregations. To share the review with others, you may download:

A Brochure (explaining the process in detail) PCR Poster for local use. This PCR church magazine article may be placed in local magazines, used in full or edited. This clear statement to churches may be read at any church meeting. 

Contact us on 0207 916 8692 or email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.       Website: see more at: - Past Case Review  

In Word and Spirit Book

in-word-and-spirityIn Word and Spirit is a collection of discussion papers on the Theology of Worship by members of the United Reformed Church, previously presented to conferences and meetings of the Theology of Worship Group.

Contributors:
Sally Bateman - John Burgess  - Susan Durber  - Richard Goldring  - Brian Harley   - Michael Jagessar  - Peter Stevenson  - Julian Templeton - Elizabeth Welch 

The publication includes papers on the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures, preaching and worship in the post-colonial and contemporary contexts.

Available as a kindle book from Amazon  Available as a paperback (from John Burgess  email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )  £1.99  £5.75 incl p&p  For further information contact:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
Download: In Word and Spirit Poster   

Cambridge Church Leaders

Cambridgeshire Church Leaders commit to working for good of all in our communities

“In her first speech as Prime Minister, Theresa May acknowledged that our nation is currently experiencing a “time of great national change”, but that in the midst of that we are called to be a country that works for every one of us, whoever we are and wherever we are from. It is natural to be anxious about the change that lies before us, but as church leaders in Cambridgeshire we commit ourselves and call on our churches not to look inwards or to our own needs, but to draw on the Spirit of our generous self-giving God to reach ever outwards to our whole community for our common good. This will bring different challenges in our different places, but the way to the better future we all long for is to be found in the heart of each one of us, as we seek to live out the Gospel call to love our neighbours as ourselves.”

Statement issued today, Thursday 21st July, by Bishops Stephen Conway and David Thomson (C of E) and the Revds Simon Goddard (Baptist), Julian Pursehouse (Methodist) and Paul Whittle (URC) on behalf of the Church Leaders Group of Churches Together in Cambridgeshire.

Council for World Mission Assembly

Report from Council for World Mission Assembly held on  17th - 24th June 2016

peter-ball-presenting-paintThe Council for World Mission (CWM) Assembly took place on Jeju Island, Korea from June 17-24 2016. People gathered from all over the CWM world family to explore the theme of the Assembly “HEALING – hope in action. The Assembly explored this through an exposure field study, bible studies and workshops alongside of keynote speakers. The URC was represented by Rev’s Peter Ball and Zaidie Orr, Stephen Ball and outgoing Moderator of General Assembly John Ellis. During the election of officers to serve CWM for the next four years John Ellis was elected treasurer.

Rev Neil Thorogood and Sally Whitehead of Westminster College had produced an oil painting for Peter Ball to present to the Protestant Church in Korea as a gift from the URC. The painting depicted the burning bush and Pentecost and was produced in a book form to place the painting within the living word of God. The picture shows Peter presenting the painting to Rev Kwan Jin Kim the Moderator of the Jeju Presbytery of the PCK. In return they gave a Korean fan with an inscribed handle marking the occasion of the 2016 Assembly for Peter to present to Westminster College.

Braintree Area Foodbank

Braintree Area Foodbank - Four years on - Still supporting people in crisisfioodbank-braintree-2

Braintree Shopping List for February 2018

Braintree Foodbank Items for "Warm' and 'Homeless Packs'

The warehouses remain well stocked but we are very short of some items.

Braintree Area Foodbank was set up four years ago in April 2012, under the auspices of The Trussell Trust to provide assistance for local people in crisis. The Foodbank has expanded to four centres, now including Christ Church, Braintree; Braintree Baptist Church; St Andrews Church, Halstead; and Witham Methodist Church. Since opening, the four centres have provided emergency food to over 10,020 people of whom 47% were children, and has distributed over 100 tonnes of food.

Latest statistics published by Trussell Trust foodbank network show UK-wide foodbank figures for 2015-16 remain at record levels; national need is still not decreasing. Early findings in new data analysis of Trussell Trust figures by University of Hull suggests foodbank use is highest in areas where many people are unable to work due to illness or disability, are skilled manual workers, or are deprived.

The Trussell Trust won the Overall Award at the Charity Awards 2016, as well as the Social Care and Welfare Award.  It is an honour that our work to tackle UK poverty and hunger has been recognised, with this achievement celebrating the incredible work of our staff and volunteers who change lives in communities across the UK and make what we do possible. We accept this award on behalf of the 40,000 volunteers who give their time so we can provide the most effective service to people thrown into crisis every day.    Website: Charity Awards for more information

Download: Braintree Foodbank Details and Newsletter     Website Braintree Area Foodbank

Praxis Newsletters

praxis-newsletter-0315-2016Praxis Newsletters

The public issues newsletter of The Baptist Union of Great Britain, The Methodist Church, The United Reformed Church and The Church of Scotland

If you would like to publicise an event or project, please e-mail   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or contact her by Telephone - 020 7916 8632 Address - 86 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9RT

PRAXIS NEWSLETTERS

Download: Praxis Newsletter - December 2017
Download: Praxis Newsletter - September 2017
Download: Praxis Newsletter - June 2017
Download: Praxis Newsletter - February 2017
Download: Praxis Newsletter - January 2017       Praxis Newsletter Item Correction January 2017 

A Season of Invitation

Back to Church Sunday/A Season of Invitation

michael-harvey1Michael Harvey suggests how we can create a culture of invitation in our churches with help from the Season of Invitation initiative. As I have travelled the world, I am yet to find an invitational church. - 'Is your congregation welcoming or... inviting? Welcoming! But how welcoming can we be if we are not inviting? We are welcoming as long as people can get themselves across the threshold of the church building, but we don't take our welcome out in the form of invitation. Something is going wrong at the threshold of our church buildings. I became fascinated as to why congregational members are not inviting. In fact I went on to find out that up to 95% of most congregational members are not going to be doing any inviting. "Why are we not inviting our friends to take a closer look at Christ and his church?" Here are some answers I receive regularly and some of my thoughts as I hear them.    

Download: A Culture of Invitation Flyer

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Back to Church Sunday has now run for 12 years and Season of Invitation for 3. This will be the final year that Season of Invitation will run in its current form, while the organisers are reflecting on what the next stage will be. Mission Committee decided not to sign up centrally this year, but to leave it to each Synod to decide whether they wanted to take advantage of the training and resource packs that Season of Invitation will offer to the URC this year. Season of Invitation training events are great opportunities for people from any denomination to come and learn about how to make the most of A Season of Invitation in their church context.

 Across the 2 hour workshop, you will....

  • -        Learn how to produce a unique mission field for your church at any given time
  • -        Be given tools to identify distorted thinking in your church
  • -        Discover the creative power of fear
  • -        Receive a number of emotional mental and physical approaches for developing a culture of invitation
  • -        Learn best practice from Season of Invitation

Michael Harvey (co-founder of Back to Church Sunday) will provide interactive and relevant training, which will be useful for ministers and any churchgoers interested in making the most of opportunities to invite people to church.

View:  Season of Invitation Training Video   Website: A Season of Invitation   Download: A Season of Invitation Flyer    

Westminster College

To God be the glory and to you be the thanks! westminster college_3

The transformation of Westminster has humbled those of us most closely involved because of the generosity, support and goodwill of so many accross the URC and beyond. All of this has been blessed by God as we have sought God's will and known God's gracious provision. It is deep faithfulness that gives life to our buildings. We are delighted to be actively planning and promoting a growing range of events, courses and resources as we seek to serve the whole URC.

Sam White will teach alongside other Directors of Pastoral Studies in the Federation and on in-house programmes at Westminster. Part of her job will include continuing to build up and develop the wider training and opportunities for learning, refreshment and nurture that Westminster seeks to offer the whole United Reformed Church as one of the denomination's Resource Centres for Learning.

Website:    Westminster College News and Training Events      Download: To God be the glory and the thanks 


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In the company of…  is suitable for anyone, ordained or not, who wants to spend some time in the peace of Westminster exploring the work of someone they wish to learn from and discover.

Arrange a stay that suits your diary, enjoy great hospitality, and let us help you discover treasure! In whose company would you like to spend some time? Who would you like to learn from? Who would you like to discover? Take your pick: biblical character; gospel writer; theologian from long ago or today; musician; artist; cook; novelist; thinker; politician; liturgist; hymn-writer; leader; poet; film-maker; architect...? The idea is simple; book yourself in to stay at Westminster, or come as a day visitor. Stay for as long as you like. Tell us who you want to spend some time with; whose work might inspire you. We'll arrange a conversation at the beginning of your time to help you focus and to make sure you have some good resources, not least through our library. We’ll talk at the end to help you take things onwards.     Download:  In the Company of Leaflet      Download:  Booking Form


Friends of Westminster Collegewestmisnter-college5-copy

To join up with and be involved with the Friends of Westminster, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. the Friends Membership Secretary. If you would like to be added to the College News email circulation list (we send out around 1 to 2 emails a term), please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   View links below to keep up to date with college events.

Website: "LIFE@WN"                   View: Westminster College Facebook     

Sam will begin work in Westminster and the Cambridge Theological Federation from July, 2014. She will teach alongside other Directors of Pastoral Studies in the Federation and on in-house programmes at Westminster. Part of her job will include continuing to build up and develop the wider training and opportunities for learning, refreshment and nurture that Westminster seeks to offer the whole United Reformed Church as one of the denomination's Resource Centres for Learning

Commemorating 'Reformation 1517'

churches-together-logo-2016The Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.   A Statement from the Presidents of Churches Together in England who represent the Western traditions of the Church, The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury), H.E. Cardinal Vincent Nichols (Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster), The Revd Dr Hugh Osgood (Free Churches Moderator), Bishop Eric Brown (Pentecostal President) and Billy Kennedy.  Their statement is issued with the prayerful support of the Orthodox President, HE Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain

Setting the tone As Presidents of Churches Together in England we encourage all churches in England to mark the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 with sensitivity as we acknowledge our unity in Christ. We have learnt over the past century that unity is achieved by walking together, and we have grown in communion, friendship, reconciliation and healing. During this anniversary we want to be able to listen to the truth that is in each other, to hear our different stories, and build bridges of deeper understanding and respect. 

Download: Statement Commemorating 'Reformation 1517' in England 

Taking Action Praying & Giving

Invitation to count and share your Blessings C4Llogo smallest CMYK

Commitment for Life is the world development programme of the United Reformed Church. We encourage participating churches  to take action, pray and give for people across the world but especially in our four partner countries/region of Bangladesh, Central America (Honduras, Guatemala. Nicaragua and El Salvador), Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory and Zimbabwe. We work in partnership with Christian Aid and Global Justice Now raising around half a million pounds a year from contributing churches. To find out more about the programme, visit the resources page click on the website link below.

Website: URC Mission Commitment for Life

Mission Tools

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Vision Initiatives

Find out more about Vision4Life; Vision2020 and Fresh Expressions.

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Newsletters

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The aim of the Newsletter is to improve communication across the Synod, which will require your input and feedback to help in offering worthwhile information.

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Committees

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The Purpose and Mission of the Synod; the Synod Meeting; our Area Partnerships; each of our Committees and the calendar of meeting dates.

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Who's Who?

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Find out who's who on the Synod Office Team.  If you are unsure who to get in touch with, use the Contact Us form and your query will be routed to the right person!

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