Quarterly Update Winter 2011-2012 From The United Reformed Church

 Winter 2011-12 


The year ahead

Spending cuts now necessary 

It’s Olympic year at last!

If you have a spare room… 

Moderators-elect start blogging

A fresh expression of
faith in Wales…

Seeking companions

College Appeal Update

URC people

Calling all elders

Courage, Conscience, Conviction 

Have your say…

Can you help?

Life long learning at the Windermere Centre
Consensus decision-making
Church websites

Ecumenical Pilgrimage
to Italy 

 Diary Dates        

Service of Reconciliation
  7 February 
Westminster Abbey
Click here for more information.

FairTrade Fortnight
  27 February – 11 March 

Climate Week
  12-18 March 

Mission Council
High Leigh
  21-23 March 

General Assembly
  6-9 July 

Back to Church Sunday
  30 September  

The deadline for receiving items for the spring 2012 issue of QU is 14th March 2012. Please note that all items submitted need to be relevant to churches across the three nations. qu@urc.org.uk

Subscribers: 3,033

The year ahead


2012 is a big year for the UK – and a big year for the United Reformed Church. The Revd Roberta Rominger, general secretary of the URC, sets out some highlights of the next 12 months.

“We have quite a year ahead of us. The Queen celebrates her diamond jubilee in June and the 2012 Games come to the UK in July. National events like these provide opportunities for creativity in church mission. What can we do that will catch the public imagination, deepen our community engagement and enable us to share what we believe?

“Alongside these national events we have celebrations of our own to look forward to. 2012 begins with a service in Westminster Abbey to express reconciliation between the United Reformed Church and the Church of England. It’s the fruit of bilateral conversations that resulted in resolutions at URC Mission Council and the Anglican General Synod in 2011. This service, on 7 February, will mark the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Great Ejectment by looking to a future of shared work and witness.

“And, when General Assembly meets in Scarborough this July, we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the URC as well as the 350th anniversary of some of our churches. The unofficial theme for this commemoration is ‘Courage, conscience and conviction’ and these three qualities are indeed what we offer in our determination to live faithfully in these challenging times. Our valiant Church makes contributions out of all proportion to its size. God bless you for all the lives you will touch in the year ahead and the faith that will shine from you.”


Spending cuts now necessary

The United Reformed Church, like many other organisations, is facing a financial challenge – and needs to act now to ensure a balanced budget for 2013. At its November meeting, Mission Council instructed all General Assembly committees and the General Secretariat, to present theoretical “scenarios” for how they would deploy their committee budgets in the event of 25 per cent and 50 per cent cuts to their expenditure. These scenarios are to be presented to the treasurer by 9 March, in advance of the next Mission Council meeting on 21-23 March. The expectation is that the cuts finally agreed will focus on particular areas of church activity and will amount to between 15 and 20 per cent of total committee and secretariat spending.

The Revd Roberta Rominger, general secretary, comments: “The task ahead will be challenging as the United Reformed Church thinks afresh about its priorities and discerns ‘What kind of Church are we meant to be in 2012?’”

Mrs Rominger concludes: “I ask for your prayers for all of us, particularly the staff at Church House who are facing a period of uncertainty as the Church decides its priorities. Pray too, that the process may be Spirit-led, based on a commitment to be the church God is calling us to be. There will be times when it is tempting to lapse into competitive struggles to protect our own pieces of the jigsaw – but it is God’s jigsaw and it needs to be Jesus-shaped. I believe that if we undertake this process faithfully, the end result will be a mission-centred church, newly focussed on its identity and vocation, re-energised for what lies ahead.”

More than gold logoIt’s Olympic year at last!

We seem to have been in planning mode for years, but 2012 and the London Games are here at last!  And, if your church is looking for ways to make the most of the mission and communication opportunities on offer, then we really recommend that you sign up for one of the sixteen “Get Set” events which are being organised by More than Gold between February and April.

The programme includes full day sessions on Running a Community Festival, Using Sport to Impact Every Age-group and Being a Games Pastor. Workshops include Reaching Children and Youth, the Torch Relay and Your Community and Prayer. There is also a session for those new to the idea of using the 2012 Games to engage with their community.

The dates and locations for the Get Set tour are as follows. February: 4th Crawley, 25th Reading, 25th Cardiff; March: 3rd Stoke, 3rd Bath, 10th Wolverhampton, 10th Central London, 17th Greenwich, 17th Gateshead, 24th Barnsley, 24th Weymouth, 31st Bolton, 31st East London; April: 21st Glasgow, 21st Stevenage, 28th Belfast, 28th Nottingham.

Tickets cost just £10 per person, with advance registration encouraged to secure the choice of workshop. Details and registration are at www.morethangold.org.uk/getset

Homestay Launch image

If you have a spare room …

… and live within striking distance of any Olympic event venue you may be interested in the Athlete Family Homestay Programme. It’s an initiative of More Than Gold and has been set up to provide free accommodation for the family members of 2012 Games competitors.

Hosts will provide bed and breakfast for their guests, alongside a warm welcome, and any practical help and advice needed to help guests make the most of their stay. The majority of hosts are required in London but accommodation is also needed near Benfleet, Birmingham, Broxbourne, Cardiff, Dorney Lake, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Weymouth and Portland Harbour.

The Revd Ashley Evans (pictured at the programme’s launch, top left), URC minister at Christ Church, Newham, East London, close to the main Games stadium, is the URC liaison member for the Homestay programme. He says: “This is a really valuable service Christian people can perform. For some competitors it will mean their family can be present on one of the greatest days of their life. It will also be a wonderful opportunity for hosts to get to know people from a very different culture. It is a real opportunity to show Christ to the world.”

Prospective volunteer hosts can find more details at morethangold.org.uk/homestay

Moderators elect image

Moderators-elect start blogging

Lawrence Moore and Michael Jagessar, the moderators-elect of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, have launched a blog – Immoderate Thoughts – which aims to get people across the denomination engaged in “some of the exciting, difficult and life-changing conversations that we need to be able to have about our life together in mission, seeking to make a difference for Christ’s sake”.

The blog has already covered topics such as For Christ’s Sake (the theme of Assembly 2012) and The Art of Waiting. In the run-up to Assembly 2012 the moderators-elect will be using it to prepare for it, posting details of themes, venues, programme and events. Take a look here: http://immoderatethoughts.urc.org.uk

The blog is run and maintained by the moderators-elect and is does not contain or purport to contain “official URC policy” The blog of the current moderators, Kirsty Thorpe and Val Morrison, can be found here: http://assemblymoderators.urc.org.uk/

Gethin image

A fresh expression of faith in Wales…

URC minister Gethin Rhys talks about his commitment to Fresh Expressions and the monthly Café Church he hosts at Castle Square URC in Trefforest. Click here to view.


Seeking companions

The radical welcome campaign is still seeking companions. For information and inspiration please view this film here – http://youtu.be/1v-qpqy3ZZM – and then pass it on to at least three people who might be interested in becoming a companion.

Westminster college image College Appeal Update

The Westminster College Appeal has now raised £4,186,830. Synods have contributed a total of £2,055,000 and churches and members have given a total of £148,426.

The college is delighted with the total raised so far, and warmly thanks everyone for their generous contributions. The appeal fund organisers would like to remind everyone that pledged gifts can be spread over four of five years and encourages potential donors to spread the burden in this way.

For more information see here and to request a copy of the appeal brochure or a gift form, please contact Jenny Thorogood at campaign@westminster.com.ac.uk or on 01223 742375.


URC People

Margaret Thompson has retired as archivist at Westminster College and Helen Weller has taken on the role. If you have any enquiries relating to the Presbyterian Church or Westminster College please contact Helen direct on hw374@cam.ac.uk Margaret Thompson continues to be secretary of the History Society and can be contacted at mt212@cam.ac.uk

Ros Conisbee joins the Children and Youth office team as PA to Karen Bulley-Morrison and administrator of the Pilots organisation.  Ros comes to us from the National Trust where she worked as PA to the manager of Basildon Park. Ros can be contacted on pilots@urc.org.uk

The Revd Lucy Berry has come to the end of her 12-month contract as strategic consultant and campaign advocate to the campaign of radical welcome. In her life-before-ordination Lucy worked in the advertising industry and, during her time as strategic consultant, she brought all of her creativity, copywriting skills and professional expertise to the campaign. The steering group is immensely grateful for her sustained and invaluable contribution to the campaign. Lucy continues as a member of the steering group. She is minister of Bethnal Green URC, an intercultural church in London’s East End.


Calling all elders

“An Event for Elders” is taking place at Westminster College on 13-15 April. The weekend is an opportunity to explore eldership, to meet other elders, and to think together about the opportunities and challenges of being an elder in today’s URC. It’s aimed at all who already elders, as well as those who are thinking of taking on the role.

The weekend will be hosted by Susan Durber and John Bradbury, with input from others with expertise on eldership. The full-board cost is £159.50 and the day delegate rate is £82.30. For more information please email admin@westminster.cam.ac.uk   www.westminster.cam.ac.uk


Courage, Conscience, Conviction

The URC and the Congregational Federation has organised Courage, Conscience and Conviction – a conference to reflect on the contemporary relevance of 350 years of dissenting history. It will take place at Mansfield College, Oxford, 16-18 March 2012.

Described as “not your usual kind of theological conference” it promises to excite, annoy, challenge and provoke those who attend. It will end with an invitation to participants to worship on Mothering Sunday at a Congregational Church with a United Reformed Church preacher or vice versa, having spent the weekend together in conversation about God and public life and reflecting on dissent in history, art, Christology and politics. The cost is £200/£90 for residential/non-residential attendance. Further details can be found here.


Have your say…

In late February the URC’s Faith and Order Reference Group will be engaging in a discussion on the future of the Church and is keen to consider contributions from a broad spectrum of thinking. Contributors should seek to answer one or more of the following questions: What do we see as the future of the Church (URC and other) and why are we where we are? Where are we going – and where could we go? Where is God calling us?

To have your say please send in your positive contributions of no more than 750 words to david.tatem@urc.org.uk
All submissions need to be received by 15 February 2012.


Can you help?

David Tatem, the URC’s secretary for ecumenical relations, is engaged in research on the subject of changes in the image of God within the experience of people (now) in the URC who would describe themselves as having moved out of a fundamentalist or strongly conservative background. He is looking for people who would be prepared to be interviewed about their experience to contact him on 07830 113794 or at: davetatem@googlemail.com
The research is being carried out under the auspices of the Cambridge Federation of Theological Colleges and potential interviewees may be assured that normal rules on confidentiality will be followed.


Life long learning at the Windermere Centre
Consensus decision-making

General Assembly has resolved to use consensus decision-making in all the councils of Church – church meeting, synod and General Assembly – but both our use and experience of it has been patchy.

Using the process properly will be vital to the success of General Assembly 2012 and, in preparation, there will be a workshop at the Windermere Centre 8-10 May. The workshop will look at the principles behind consensus decision-making, different models of working by it, and at developing the model to be used at General Assembly. Those models will be tried and tested through role-playing. It’s hoped that synod and committee representatives will attend, and, then, when back in their home situations will pass their new knowledge on to Assembly representatives.

Church websites

A church website does more than give people information. Simply having one gives a strong message: “We’ve something important enough to us to make us want to share it with you!” Equally, not having a website is already saying, “There’s nothing vital enough about our church that we want to bother sharing”.

The Windermere Centre will be running three dedicated website courses in 2012.

Pimp Your Site – 27-29 February.
Learn how to customise and improve your existing iChurch website by adding calendars, photo streams, maps, social networking and more.

Website in a Week – 4-7 June and 19-22 November
Developed to take you from zero (no website at all) to a fully-functioning site in just three days.

For more information see http://windermere.urc.org.uk or call 015394 44902.


Ecumenical pilgrimage to Italy

The Revd John Robinson, a retired URC minister in north Devon is leading an ecumenical pilgrimage toRome, Assissi and Tuscany 7th – 15th September. The pilgrimage includes four nights in Rome followed by four nights in Tuscany as well as a programme of sightseeing. For more details please call Mr Robinson on 01271 813783.

         Archive copies of QU        

Quarterly Update Autumn 2011 from the United Reformed Church
Quarterly Update Summer 2011 from the United Reformed Church
Quarterly Update Spring 2011 from the United Reformed Church

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.