United Reformed Church Quarterly Update Autumn 2012

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United Reformed Church Quarterly Update Autumn 2012

 QU Autumn 2012 


  • Guidance notes on civil partnerships now available
  • Proposals published for unity in Wales
  • Radical welcome toolkits available
  • Almost 200 United Reformed Churches led the Back to Church initiative
  • Church House staff on the move
  • That glorious summer of sport …
  • Autumn courses at Windermere
  • College principal moves on
  • In brief

The deadline for receiving items for the winter 2012-13 issue of QU is 14 January 2013. Please note that all items submitted need to be relevant to churches across the three nations. qu@urc.org.uk 

Subscribers: 3,185

Guidance notes on civil partnerships
now available

Following the General Assembly’s decision to grant its consent for local churches within the United Reformed Church to register civil partnerships in their buildings, a set of notes have been written to guide United Reformed churches through the process. The guidance notes are available under the resources section of the main URC website.

Proposals published for unity in Wales

The United Reformed Church in Wales – and other nonconformist traditions – have been challenged to take the radical step of electing bishops, as part of a move towards establishing a Uniting Church in Wales.

On Saturday 13 October representatives of the five Covenanted Churches – the Church in Wales, the Covenanted Baptists, the Presbyterian Church of Wales, the Methodists and the United Reformed Church – gathered in Aberystwyth to receive proposals from a commission which has been working towards a scheme for greater unity. A URC delegation of almost 40 attended, including the moderator of the National Synod of Wales, the Revd Simon Walkling. The Covenanted Churches were asked to consider the recommendations by May 2014.

Under the scheme, the URC would elect a bishop jointly with the Covenanted Baptists. Serving ministers would agree to the laying on of hands by at least one Anglican bishop and at least one other bishop, representing the other traditions within the Uniting Church. This would not be regarded as an ordination but as a step forward to full covenanted ministry. Read more here

Picture shows the communion celebration the Revd Simon Walkling is at the far left of those presiding.

Radical welcome toolkits available Facilitator's toolkit cover image

At the March 2012 meeting of Mission Council, the resolution which discontinued the ZI campaign also commended radical welcome and strongly encouraged “all churches to continue to work on developing their radical welcome.” In light of this, work on radical welcome has continued and a facilitator’s toolkit has been developed. Designed to help churches engage with the concept – and work out whether they want to pursue becoming a radically welcoming church – the 13 Synods of the United Reformed Church are giving thought as to how best to make use of this resource in their local context. The facilitator’s toolkit will be available through Synod offices from early November.

Almost 200 United Reformed Churches led the Back to Church initiative

Almost 200 United Reformed Churches took part in the 2012 Back to Church Sunday campaign, which was celebrated on Sunday 30 September. The increased uptake was a direct result of the decision to register, as the national denomination, for the initiative. Churches in all 13 Synods signed up, with Southern Synod having the highest number of churches taking part in the campaign.

John Brown and Frank Cantor images

Church House staff on the move 

The past two months have seen two more members of the staff team at Church House move on to new pastures. John Brown, who was youth development officer for the URC for the past eight years (and before that worked in Mersey Synod as what is now known as a CYDO) started his new post as youth enabler with the Congregational Federation at the beginning of October.

Frank Kantor, secretary for church and society since 2007, has been appointed general secretary of the Free Churches Group, a challenging role which will involve coordinating the ecumenical relationships between 22 UK denominations including the United Reformed Church. All at Church House, like many across the denomination, wish both men well, as they start their new jobs.

That glorious summer of sport … 

Before it all becomes a distant memory, More than Gold want to know what your church did during the Olympics. No matter what you did, More than Gold are keen to learn from it – so future opportunities like this, here and around the world, can be even better.

Please take a few minutes to fill in this online survey. It’s easy and will be a huge help to us and others. Thank you.

Autumn courses at Windermere

The Windermere Centre’s autumn and winter programme is packed full of new courses, with something to appeal to everyone. The Centre’s Advent Retreat, led by Lawrence Moore, Lis Mullen and Dorothee Büürma will take place from 29 November to 2 December.

Spiritual Direction with Mark Argent takes place from 3 to 6 December. This short course will bring together people who give direction, people who would like to explore training in this area, people who receive direction, and people who are wondering about looking for a spiritual director. The aim is not to propose a URC-specific model of spiritual direction, but rather to explore spiritual direction in a Reformed context.

Erik Castenskiold will be running his Recovery from Divorce and Separation (RDS) course from 16 to 18 November. This course is aimed at anyone who has been in any committed relationships – cohabiting, civil partnership, marriage – that has ended. More information on all Windermere courses can be found on the Centre’s website.

Susan Durber image

College principal moves on

The governors of Westminster College, Cambridge, have announced that the Revd Dr Susan Durber, college principal, has decided to leave her current role in the summer of 2013. Her departure coincides with the start of the College’s major building and refurbishment project, and Dr Durber believes it is the right time for her to leave and for the College to seek new leadership. She hopes that, by giving an extended period of notice, the College will have plenty of time to appoint a principal who will be able to take the College forward.

In brief

  • The Revd Nigel Uden will serve as chaplain to Mr John Ellis, moderator-elect of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church. Mr Ellis will start his term of office next spring.
  • The Westminster College Appeal is delighted to announce that it has received a generous donation of £500,000 from the Maurice and Hilda Laing Trust – bringing the total to nearly £6.5million – just over £500,000 from its target of £7million.
  • The moderator-elect of General Assembly, Mr John Ellis, is available to visit churches and groups in the first year (June 2013 to June 2014) of his three-year term of office. Should you wish to invite him to meetings or events, please email your request to Krystyna Pullen, at krystyna.pullen@urc.org.uk by 31 December 2012. Churches will be contacted soon after 31 January 2013.

Archive copies of QU

Quarterly Update Summer 2012 from the United Reformed Church
Quarterly Update Spring 2012 from the United Reformed Church
Quarterly Update Winter 2011-12 from the United Reformed Church
Quarterly Update Autumn 2011 from the United Reformed Church
Quarterly Update Summer 2011 from the United Reformed Church

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