Revd John Proctor Retires after serving the URC for 34 Years
The Revd John Proctor, outgoing General Secretary of the United Reformed Church (URC), retired on 14 August having served the Church for 34 years.
Due to coronavirus, colleagues and friends gathered digitally for a virtual leaving do. In his own words, John reflects on his time in the role and offers thanks to those he has worked with:
It was refreshing to read the interview in July’s Reform with our new General Secretary, John Bradbury. The Church has made a fine choice. John will get a grip on the job very quickly, and he will serve with great creativity and much good sense.
Meanwhile I am retiring. There are many people to thank. The General Secretary has a special vantage point across the life of the URC, and I’ve often been mightily impressed by the commitment, care, witness and energy in our local congregations. Our people make a difference in God’s world. There is much we should rejoice in and persist with, and I salute everyone who is a part of it – tens of thousands of you.
The team at Church House in London is an excellent bunch of people – gifted, committed, hard-working, helpful. I enjoy their company and have learned a lot from working among them. View the REFORM link above.
Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
Israel/Palestine Trip Advent Resources
In September 2019, 21 members of the United Reformed Church (URC) accompanied Derek Estill, Moderator of the URC General Assembly, on a visit to the Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories (IOPT). It was not a tour or a holiday for any of us, but for all of us it was an immersive pilgrimage as we spent much of our time immersed in the lives of people who are among the world's most maligned, treated as strangers in their own land.
In these materials for Advent, we seek to use the experiences we gained during our visit, literally Walking the Way of Jesus, to read the Bible in a new light, particularly the Old Testament book of Isaiah and the Gospel according to Matthew, to enable those who are leading worship, Bible study or theological reflection during Advent, to explore and share some of these insights.
David Cornick given Lambeth Award by the Archbishop of Canterbury
The Revd Dr David Cornick, former General Secretary of both the United Reformed Church (URC) and Churches Together England (CTE), has received an award from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Mr Cornick received the Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism for 'outstanding sustained contribution to the development of ecumenical life and witness in England'.
The Church of England’s Lambeth Awards were launched by the Most Revd Justin Welby in 2016 in recognition of outstanding service in different fields.
Mr Cornick said: ‘I was astonished and surprised to be honoured by the award of the Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
‘I think it was an honouring not just of me and Churches Together in England, which I had the privilege of serving for ten years, but also of the United Reformed Church.
‘The citation draws attention to the vision of unity which the URC holds at its centre, and that my ministry and perceptions were rooted there. So, I hope all those in the URC who have been quietly working through the years to make local ecumenism work will feel that my recognition is theirs too.’
View here for more details.
Christ Church Wickford Carnival - September 2018
The Wickford Carnival is one of well known and much cherished events in Essex. It's becoming a yearly event in which Christ Church is very active. This year, the event was organised on Saturday 8th September from 10.00 a m to 5.00 p m. Two main aspects dominated the event: View: Report and Pictures
Leaside Church and Community Centre – Opening Weekend 21st - 22nd July 2018
All welcome at Leaside
Leaside Church and Community Centre in Ware recently marked the completion of its £800,000 building project with a weekend of celebrations. People came from near and far to admire the improvements which have transformed the existing buildings, creating the opportunity for Leaside to extend its outreach through more activities for children, the elderly and other community organisations. Leaside Under Fives Kindergarten, Dance Jam Academy, the Listening Place, Herts Welcomes Syrian Families, and Leaside’s art, craft and exercise classes all set up displays in the Hall to publicise their activities.
A crowd gathered to watch Mark Prisk MP officially open the Centre on the Saturday afternoon. In declaring the Centre open, Mr Prisk said “This is a brilliant link between Church and Community for everyone in Ware.”
Christ Church Wickford Carnival 9th September 2017
This year the Wickford Carnival was held on 9th September. Christ Church was once again at the centre of the activities.There was a good number of walkers from the members of Christ Church alongside other organisations.We woke up early to blow balloons; we packed them in a car and added some squeezes. All items were printed Christ Church Wickford, God loves you. The main banner read: ‘Jesus says: love one another.’ More words giving information about the Church’s location, and time of its activities were also printed on all items.
Other than walking and distributing literature and other items, Christ Church had two tents (stalls) in the Leisure Park of Nevendon, where the walk ended. There were various games in the tents and prizes for children. The walk started 1.00 pm at Church end Park; it ended around 3.00 pm. No one, however, felt tired; it was very well enjoyed by all who participated and all who came to met us on the way from the park of departure to the other. We are thankful to God for giving us opportunities to share our blessings with the community around us.
Wattisfield URC Harvest Celebrations Raise Funds for LINC
Wattisfield URC has raised nearly £500 for a Leukaemia charity as a thank you for the help that has been received by one family in the village. Through an auction selling off the Harvest produce, and through regular fundraising at their monthly Lunch Club a total of £434 has been raised for LINC (The Leukaemia and Intensive Chemotherapy Fund) based in Cheltenham.
Earlier this year, a friend of the church and a resident in the village received news that her daughter had been diagnosed with Leukaemia. Receiving treatment at Cheltenham General Hospital meant that life has been put on hold for members of the family, and it is with the help of LINC that they have received support throughout this time. LINC helps a huge variety of patients when they need it the most. In one of the wards at Cheltenham General Hospital, LINC funds all the extra things that help to improve care and make a stay in hospital slightly more comfortable. But through LINC patients have access to a clinical psychologist that can provide some help in coming to terms with illness and the impact on patients and their families. They also provide financial help and support to those patients who are in difficulty as a result of their illness.
The minister, Rev Julian Sanders, says “The church may be a small rural congregation but they are still able to make a big impact on peoples lives. The church is always raising money for charities through its lunch clubs, guest speaker services and folk concerts and we always try to find charities that have a local or personal connection. LINC is really important in supporting families whose lives are disrupted through receiving the medical attention necessary. We hope our prayers go some way to supporting the family in this time of need, but we are really pleased that through our Harvest Festival we are able to support the practical help too.”
View Report and Pictures of Synod Big Day Out - 10th June 2017 - Suffolk Showground, Trinity Park
Saturday 10th June saw a large gathering of adults and children from churches across the Eastern Synod, to celebrate the theme of 'Feasts and Festivals'. Eastern Synod's Big Day Out took place at Trinity Park Ipswich. Glorious weather and a range of activities greeted participants, both young and old. A splendid day of worship, workshops, crafts, art, fun and laughter were shared by all. What a great day of celebration.
A year of celebration 2017, was 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. Website: Feasts & Festivals
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)
CELEBRATE: SYNOD BIG DAY OUT - JUNE 2015
Two years in the planning, 450 people of all ages, loads of smiles, laughter and delight. It felt good to be the URC
Organist at Shipdham URC
Mary Woodcock has served as organist at Shipdham URC since she was a teenager at the end of WWll. Some almost 70 years of faithful service!
We thank God for her faithfulness and pray her time will now be free to enjoy her extended family. She received framed certificate as thanksgiving.
Emmanuel Church Bungay Going Green Environmental Project Awards
With the aim of trying to encourage others to follow our lead, we have entered ourselves for a few awards and the heating engineers, R A Browns, have done likewise as we were their first Community based project.
An award-winning Suffolk congregation has just added Eco Church to its growing list of accolades. Emmanuel Church, Bungay, has snatched the first ever Silver Award in A Rocha UK’s environmental scheme. On Tuesday 3rd May, the award was presented to Revd Jacquie Evans by Mr Alex Verwater, a long standing member and friend from our Dutch Exchange. This was closely followed by another award, The East of England Energy Efficiency & Retrofit Award in the category of ‘Regional Small Scale Project Of The Year’. R A Brown’s Heating Services earned this award for its innovative work on our project. This second award was presented to Revd Jacquie by Mrs Margaret Shepherd, a founder member of Sustainable Bungay.
Castle Hedingham URC Closing Service
The closing service for Castle Hedingham URC was held on Saturday, 4th June 2016 at 2:30pm approximately 90 people gathered at Castle Hedingham United Reformed Church to celebrate the life of a dear old church that was the spiritual home of so many over the centuries. Led by Revd Joshua Norris and with some moving words by Mrs. Mary Stanhope, a valued and long serving member, the beautiful building was full with attendees. The Moderator spoke a few words and the Revd Paul Corson, formerly of the Baptist church in Sible Hedingham led Payers of intercession and the Lord's Prayer. Joshua encouraged all to take hope in the fact that while the building itself might close, the church goes on.
The origins of Castle Hedingham URC stretch way back beyond the beginnings of the United Reformed Church to the early days of the 17th century when Castle Hedingham Congregational Church was established in this location. Following the church's beginning the church grew at a rapid rate and the building required expansion to accommodate the rise in numbers. So in 1842 the building was rebuilt and could seat, at the time, 750 members. People would travel from far and wide to meet at the church to worship God and give Him praise, journeying through fields and all manner of weather to do so. And it was in this rebuilt structure that we gathered on Saturday 4th June. Download: Castle Hedingham URC Closing Service
Christ Church Needham Market - Into the 21st Century and Beyond!
Following 19 weeks building and alteration work from March to May 2015, Christchurch, Needham Market is transformed from a 1837 frontage with obscure entrance doors and narrow corridors to one which embraces today, its High Street scene, the passers by and community.
There are now automatic, fully glazed, entrance doors; a welcome area with kitchenette and accessible toilet; another set of glazed central doors within a glazed screen into the Sanctuary. The sound system has been updated with a portable sound desk and added microphone outlet points with a loop system installed in the main hall too; the floor has had an irritating slope made level, been checked, strengthened, infestation treated and carpeted; the external stonework has been repaired or replaced as necessary and finally the external paving has been slightly raised and new slabs laid.
Retired United Reformed Church minister the Revd. Leslie Ivory has been knighted by the French government his role in the liberation of France during the Second World War.
Mr Ivory – who lives in Stowmarket, Suffolk, and was for many years the minister Of Whiting Street URC in Bury St Edmunds – was informed by the French Ambassador that the President of the Republic had appointed him to the rank of chevalier (knight) in the Order national de la Legion d' honneur.
The official letter offered him 'warmest congratulations' stating: 'As we contemplate this Europe of peace, we must never forget heroes like you.... We owe our freedom and security to your dedication, because you were ready to risk your life.'
View more: France Honours Retired Minister