E-LETTER NO: 255 – 2nd NOVEMBER 2017
EDITED THIS WEEK BY: HELEN LIDGETT
ACROSS THE SYNOD
Take a journey with me around the Synod. We start in one of the most deprived communities in Nottingham where The Bridge Centre, hosted by Gregory Boulevard United Reformed Church, provides a community space, with a computer room, children’s play area, prayer room and cafe. On Mondays you can find a ‘cook and play’ session, on Tuesdays it’s ‘Tums and Toddlers’, on Wednesdays an interfaith group serves 60-70 free vegetarian meals, on Saturdays there are classes in maths and English for Romanian children and adults and the Law Centre provides weekly advice sessions for Romanians. A monthly group funded by the City Council supports destitute and vulnerable people from Eastern Europe. On 16th October the national Co-op HR team held a tea party in the Centre for the local community. After years of struggling the Bridge Centre is thriving once again.
Down the M1 to the outskirts of Leicester and where a new bridge spans the motorway Lubbesthorpe New Town is beginning to grow. Here we meet Sue Steer, a Pioneer Community Worker sponsored by Churches Together in Leicestershire, who has been working for a year, first with builders and developers and now with the sales teams and at last the first residents of the new houses. New arrivals receive a Welcome Pack and a gift of bulbs and chocolates. Sue receives support from some local Baptist churches and is expecting a visit from the Archbishop of Canterbury in November. There are two URC representatives on her support group. Sue comments: ‘We’re out there at the very beginning seeking to build something of God’.
Keep going south and you come the Well Street Local Ecumenical Partnership in Buckingham. Here an Oasis Student Youth Worker is engaging young people in the life of the church through a variety of activities on Sundays, running a Friday night youth club and an after school Christian Union. He is seen as the ‘go to person’ for teenagers with problems and anxieties.
Go back north into Lincolnshire and discover Gainsborough United Reformed Church, one of the five ‘Pilgrim Churches’ (and the only URC) co-operating with Bassetlaw Christian Heritage to prepare for the 400th anniversary in 2020 of the voyage on the Mayflower of the Pilgrim Fathers. Among other improvements they have installed LED lighting, a digital/PA and loop system and are planning internal and external noticeboards and leaflets with heritage information. Road signage to all five Pilgrim churches is planned, ready for the influx of hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors from the United States claiming descent from the Pilgrim Fathers.
Take the road east and call in at Bulwell United Reformed Church in Nottinghamshire to discover exciting work amongst children and families, both in the church and with a range of partners. Families on the fringe of the church have moved through three phases, from awareness of the church to association and on towards attachment, ready to take the next step into a life of faith.
Continue on your journey north west through the Derbyshire Peak District until you come to Fountain Square Methodist/United Reformed Church in the heart of the pretty village of Tideswell, Here a major building project is about to get underway to convert the old Methodist Church into a vibrant fully accessible community and worship centre.
What does our survey show us? Churches close to their communities with lively and innovative projects living out the love of Christ. All of them have been awarded grants from the Synod Mission Fund. The Mission Fund Panel met last week and for the first time in 9 years, we had no new applications. So start planning and praying and send us a project proposal for the next meeting in March or if that’s too soon in October. The Guidance Notes and Application Form are on the Synod website at www.urc5.org.uk/mission . The deadlines for applications in 2018 are 7th February and 12th September.
It is with sadness that we inform you of the death of Revd John Islwyn Evans from the Synod of Wales. Islwyn served at Bethel, Gorseinon 1953-59; Timperley 1959-68; Vicars Cross, Chester 1968-95. We remember Margaret and the wider family at this time. For details of the funeral please contact Wales Synod Office: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE DALES URC – are holding their Autumn Fair on Saturday 18th November from 2.15pm. There will be tombola, raffle, greeting cards, stalls, toys, books, cakes and jams. There is a small charge for entry, all are welcome!
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE WORLD CHURCH SUNDAY - 19th November at St. Andrew's with Castle Gate URC from 4 pm to 6 pm. Celebrating our World Church connections at national, synod and local church levels, this event will also include a "bring and share" tea and worship with hymns from across the world. All are welcome!
CHRISTIAN AID – CHRISTMAS APPEAL
This Christmas, for every pound you give to the Christian Aid Christmas Appeal, the UK Government will also give a pound, meaning even more mothers and children under-five across Sub Saharan Africa will be saved from the life-threatening effects of malnutrition.
As many families gather together for a time of plenty and abundance, millions of mothers and young children hit by severe hunger in countries across the world, including South Sudan, are wondering where their next meal will come from. Earlier this year, famine was declared in parts of South Sudan: the first time it was declared anywhere in six years. More than three years of conflict had displaced nearly 4 million people, disrupting harvests and leading to devastating food shortages. Although the famine was averted, the crisis in South Sudan has reached unprecedented levels – nearly 6 million people are facing severe food insecurity. If left untreated, acute malnutrition – the most extreme form of food crisis – can lead to death.
Aluel used to run a small business selling tea and bread at her local market, which provided enough money to feed her family. As the situation in South Sudan deteriorated, inflation rose to 800%, meaning her earnings could no longer buy enough food to put on the table.
The mother-of-four could only provide one meal a day for her family, and sometimes that meal would consist of nothing but leaves.
Christian Aid partner organisation SPEDP (Support for Peace and Education and Development Programme) is providing cash vouchers to people, like Aluel, struggling with acute malnutrition in South Sudan, so they can buy essential food in local markets to help their families recover. Donations made to the Christmas appeal between 6 November 2017 and 5 February 2018 will be matched up to £2.7 million. The UK Government’s match will fund our work in South Sudan. Please donate at www.caid.org.uk/Christmas
You are invited to our Synod Advent Refresher on Saturday 25th November 2017 from 2pm – 5pm at Sherwood URC, Nottingham, led by Revd Dr Deborah Baird. Come along to share ideas and discussions with other churches and be led in bible study and reflection. Booking is essential, please contact Hannah Holmes to book your place: email@example.com Tel: 0115 9609241
WESTMINSTER COLLEGE EVENTS:
Eldership on the Front Line - 19th-21st March 2018
A chance to be refreshed and resourced for the important role Elders play in the URC. As the tasks and role change along with society you will be given the chance to think about what this means for you and your church and to hear stories and experiences that will get you thinking and sharing together.
To ensure that everyone who wants to attend gets the opportunity, we’re repeating this course on three dates;
Monday 19th-Wednesday 21st March 2018
Friday 6th-Sunday 8th July 2018
Wednesday 11th-Friday 13th July 2018
Living the Life of Jesus through our worship - 15th-17th August 2018
For Lay Preachers and Worship leaders in 2018 we are offering a mix of Bible study, worship and reflection alongside of some practical ideas on how we bring alive the life of Jesus for today’s worshippers. There will be a variety of session leaders and styles all looking to provide you with the tools and new insights for your important ministries.
To ensure that everyone who wants to attend gets the opportunity, we’re repeating this course on four dates;
Monday 13th-Friday 15th August 2018
Wednesday 15th-Friday 17th August 2018
Wednesday 5th-Friday 7th September 2018
Friday 7th-Sunday 9th September 2018
Draw Breath and reflect upon: theme to be confirmed - 3rd November 2018
In the busyness of life we all need the opportunity to step back and spend time in the company of God reflecting upon life, our faith and what God is calling us to. Each of these days will have a different emphasis allowing a variety of approaches that make the most of Westminster’s stunning buildings and facilities.
If you think you would like to take longer than a day with us why not consider our “In the Company of” (see the top of this page) initiative that allows for some guided reflection.
We also have two other dates planned for 2018 which will follow a similar format but will explore other themes;
Saturday 24th March 2018: Aspects of the cross
Saturday 11th August 2018: Theme to be confirmed
For information on cost or to book for any of these events please contact Annmarie on firstname.lastname@example.org, or by post to Tutorial Office, Westminster College, Cambridge, CB3 0AA
DALE ABBEY – Church Summer Outing Idea
If you should happen across a glossy magazine called Exclusive for Derbyshire, November 2017 edition, do have a look at the article on pages 129 to 131. It features the ruins at Dale Abbey, near Ilkeston, most of which are in the garden of Ruth and Roger Allen, from Ilkeston URC.
Dale Abbey would be a great place for your church summer outing. Not only are there the ruins, with lots of room for children to run around, but there is a Hermit's Cave and a tiny 12th century semi-detached church with box pews and wall paintings. Come for a picnic, or make contact with the Friar's House at Dale Abbey where Diane does marvellous lunches and scrummy cream teas. If you'd like to know more, contact Ruth on RevRAllen@aol.com or 07974 835171 (text is best).
YOUTH AND CHILDREN
THREE SYNOD’S YOUTH WEEKEND
From 17- 19 November 2017 at The Pioneer Centre, Kidderminster. East Midlands together with Wales and West Midlands Synod’s are holding this exciting weekend. This is a chance to meet together and have fun.
If you are aged between 11 and 17 then we hope you’ll join us. This is an inclusive event at which everyone is welcome. The cost is £69. Funding may be available towards costs. For a booking form contact Hannah Holmes at: email@example.com Tel: 0115 9609241
If you have any queries then give Jane Henderson (CYDO) a call on: 0757 229 1007 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
YOUTH ASSEMBLY 2018
Theme: Pilgrimage: Are we there yet? From 19-21 January 2018 at Whitemoor Lakes, Alrewas, Staffs.
Age: school year 10 to age 25
It is a great weekend to meet up with other young people in the Synod and around the country. Worship, workshops, activities and some business.
Cost if booked before 9 November: £110, cost on or after 9 November: £140
Book your place at: www.urc.org.uk/urcya
More information from Jane Henderson – Funding is available from Synod.
- Please note that London Road URC have a new Treasurer: Sylvia Pitts **available from synod office**
- Please note that Gus Webbe, Pilots Officer and Elder at Abbots Road URC, has a new email address **available from synod office**