Inter Faith Week 12-19th November 2017

Inter Faith Week 2017 12th to 19 November

Faith leaders’ statement at the inauguration of Inter Faith Week

We believe that good inter faith relations are a vital part of a harmonious, just and respectful society. We pledge, today, to deepen our work to increase understanding about and between our faiths and to strengthen our cooperation on social issues. We renew our commitment to developing effective and long term ways of dialogue and mutual learning. We shall continue to seek to understand the patterns of engagement of our faith communities – through history and today; to affirm the positive aspects of these patterns; and to heal wounds of misunderstanding where these are found. While our great religious traditions are distinct in belief and practice, there is much that unites us. We will draw on fundamental values held in common and on the wisdom of our respective faith traditions to continue to work – as individual communities and together – for the wellbeing of our society, our wider global community and the planet that is our home. Alongside all of good will, we will work to tackle with renewed determination the challenges of poverty, ignorance, injustice, crime and violence, and social fragmentation and to help shape a society where all feel at home; all are valued and justly treated; and all have a chance to thrive.

A Prayer for Inter-Faith Week

Heavenly Father,

We pray today for a just, respectful and tolerant community and a greater understanding of the meaning of faith to all.
We pray for greater co-operation between peoples of different faiths and belief on all issues and that there will be healing for the wounds of misunderstanding between ourselves and others.
We pray for all involved in Inter-faith working, that they will draw on the values that are held in common and use the wisdom that comes from their respective faith traditions to improve the wellbeing of our society, our world and our environment.
Help us to work together to face the challenges of poverty, ignorance, injustice, crime, violence and social fragmentation.
Father, you sent your son Jesus to us and He taught us to love our neighbour as ourselves. We pray for courage and strength to help us to understand each other better.           Amen

Turn Peas into Profit this Harvest

Turn peas into profit this Harvest

Pigeon-PeasAs we approach the season of Harvest, most of us in the UK are not in the fields gathering or gleaning, but with our families and friends, giving thanks for God’s plentiful gifts. And as we celebrate and praise God for providing all we need to eat, we also stand with our sisters and brothers around the world whose harvests are uncertain. Frank, a farmer from Malawi, found because of climate change his traditional crop maize failed easily when the rains didn’t come, bringing hardship and malnutrition to his family. It is very pathetic, as a father, to feel helpless, and feel you cannot provide food for your children.

Christian Aid’s partner, the Evangelical Association of Malawi, has been helping Frank and his family to grow a special variety of pigeon peas, a remarkable protein-rich crop and ideal for southern Malawi’s dry soil. They are also bringing farmers together into Farmers’ Clubs, to learn vital business skills and plan their planting to ensure a good balance of crops and generate a profit.

Your church’s support will bring hope and a more abundant life to people like Frank and his family.
To plan a harvest collection, order harvest envelopes, posters, prayer cards and sermon notes.

please visit:  www.caid.org.uk/harvest            Download: Resources for Harvest

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

gospel-street-2017

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

Thanksgiving Service for Windermere Centre

Thanksgiving Service for the Windermere Centre

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The Windermere Centre – which focused on delivering residential courses for lay people – closed on 25 May 2017. The decision to close the Centre was made at Mission Council on 13 and 14 May 2017, following long and difficult deliberations, and acknowledging a profound debt of gratitude for its unique, 30-year contribution to the life of the United Reformed Church.

The decision to close the centre was made with sadness, yet with determination that the legacy of the Centre will continue with the work of the Centre in digital discipleship and online training part of the URC’s future offer for lay training and congregational development. Full information on the decision to close the centre, including full text of the Mission Council resolutions, can be found here

On Saturday 15 July A service of thanksgiving for the life of the Windermere Centre was held at Carver Uniting Church; the Revd Tony Burnham preached and the full text of his sermon can be found here.

 A link to the online video of the service is also available here.

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

Greenbelt 2017 How to get involved

greenbelt-knitting-2017Preparations are going on behind the scenes in the build up to the Greenbelt festival, which takes place on the August bank holiday, 2017. The URC was an associate partner in 2016 and continues to be this year. It was a wonderful experience last year and we look forward to an even better one in 2017! The ideas emerging from the URC planning team have been plentiful and there have already been some fruitful meetings, with lots coming to the table.  Talking of fruit (and a table) we would like you to get involved, if you can. We are calling for all URC Churches and individuals to come together (or alone if you’d prefer!) and help us to create an enormous bundle of knitted or crochet food items.

As part of this year’s theme of ‘More than Welcome,’ and in keeping with last year’s successful and popular treasure hunt, we are preparing a knitted food themed treasure hunt for 2017. The hunt will take festival-goers to hampers dotted around the site, where they will need to answer questions on food/feast stories from the Bible and collect various knitted food items. They will then be asked to add the fruit to an empty banqueting area so that over the course of the weekend the area goes from being empty to abundant.

So this is where we need your help. There is a lot to knit; the more people involved the better! If you do start this project, we really would like you to send us a picture of the group/individual doing the knitting for the tent display: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   Please make sure you have permission to share the photo from everyone in the picture, before sending. To find out where to send your food please e-mail:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will let you know where to take or send them.

Website:  For more Information          View our PDF: 'Calling all knitters and crocheters’

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  

'Thy Kingdom Come' 2017

PRESS RELEASE: The Presidents of Churches Together in England unite with 'Thy Kingdom Come'

thy-kingdom-comeThe Presidents of Churches Together in England have issued a Press Statement to all member churches and key denominational officers: for immediate release. View links below

In May 2016 many of the churches in England took up the invitation of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to set aside the days leading up to Pentecost Sunday to pray for the renewing and empowering presence of the Holy Spirit to 'make Christ real in our midst, for the flourishing of all'. In Sept 2016, the Presidents of Churches Together in England said, 'we are delighted to join together to extend this invitation to all the churches in England to participate in this movement of prayer in 2017'.

We want to encourage our brothers and sisters in churches of all traditions to partner in praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in the days leading up to Pentecost, from 25 May - 4 June, 2017. There is no prescription about how we should pray; we hope each church will participate in a way that is authentic to them and where possible to engage in this with their partner churches in their area. The Six Presidents are encouraging all churches to promote and pray together through the initiative 'Thy Kingdom Come' and provide quotes in a video

Website: For Information:  Churches Together in England 'Thy Kingdom Come' 
CTE staff contact: email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. target Tel: 07837 973214

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 crisis

fioodbank-braintreeChristmas Appeal  2017 - Press Release 

Braintree Foodbank November Christmas Shopping List 2017

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

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