Dear Friends,

A few days ago I watched a Chinese film in which a tender love story unfolded.  Naturally, being Chinese, there was also much fighting using martial arts with the masters (male and female) of their arts performing unbelievable stunts.  Actually, the stunts were truly unbelievable as I know they used wires to hold the stunt men and women up in the air.  In this beautiful film, I noticed very beautiful ceramics, furnishings and even buildings which must have taken days, months and years to make, being destroyed in minutes.  How hard it is to build, how easy to tear down.  This put me in mind of our relationships and again, what care and attention they take to build up but how quickly they can be torn apart due to careless words, selfish deeds, harsh things said that cannot be taken back.   We witness this in the life of our churches, which are communities of Christians who have taken much toil to build but can easily be damaged by a few people who do not think before they speak or do.   Our Lord Jesus Christ came to mend, to reconcile, our relationship to God, but that means living in reconciled relationships to the earth and to each other.   Often there are things that we hold so dear we are not afraid to say damaging things to others in defence of our precious ideals.  But let’s remember that what we cherish might well not be uppermost on God’s mind.  Clearly from all Jesus taught, that is keeping our relationships loving for how can we say we love God if we do not love our brothers and sisters in Christ? Love one another sincerely from the heart says the Apostle Paul.  He’s right. Its practical, its not a feeling, its what and how we say and do.  Let’s orientate ourselves to love this Advent and Christmas with the help of the One who is Love."    

With Best Wishes, Peter


We regretfully inform you of the death of the Revd Tom Owen, who sadly died on Friday 8th December. Tom’s ministries had been at Tetbury, Hawkesbury & Didmarton (1952-57), Melksham (1957-64) and in the Landsker Group (1974-92).  He lived in retirement in Haverfordwest. Please remember his family and friends.  Further details of funeral arrangements, when made, can be obtained from the National Synod of Wales Office.

Synod Office Christmas Closure

Please note that the Synod Office will close on Wednesday 20th December at 3pm for the Christmas break.  We will re-open on Wednesday 3rd January 2018. 

May we take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year!

Good News Stories


Following publicity in the last e-letter, the first Illuminate event in Gainsborough did much to raise awareness of the associations of the Mayflower Pilgrims with the area.  Gainsborough highlights included the Lantern Parade through the town on 22 November.  Local school children and adults carried lanterns made in workshops in schools and other venues, including the United Reformed Church, to commemorate the voyage of the ‘Mayflower’ in 1620.  The Lantern Parade was followed by a service in Gainsborough United Reformed Church which incorporated the Pilgrims’ anthem sung by Songbirds Choir, drama from Kismet Theatre Company, and an address from Deputy Moderator of the U.R.C. East Midlands Synod, Revd. Geoffrey Clarke.  Following the service there was a reception in Gainsborough Old Hall, the medieval manor house close to the United Reformed Church where it is believed a Separatist congregation met.  Similar events took place in nearby towns and villages including Austerfield, Bawtry and Retford.



The South Derbyshire Association of URCs held our annual Advent Service at Alvaston URC on Sunday evening (3rd December). Here are three photographs that give a flavour of our successful event, with almost every church from the Association represented at and participating in our worship.

Synod Elders Gatherings

An opportunity to meet with other elders to share experiences and ideas within our churches and take part in bible study. All elders are welcome to join us on either of the following dates, please note that spaces are limited and will be given on a first come first serve basis.

  •          Saturday 27th January 2018 from 10.30am - 2.30pm (bring your own lunch) at The Synod Meeting Room, Nottingham, NG5 3AA, Led by Revd Dr Deborah Baird
  •          Saturday 3rd March 2018 from 10.30am - 2.30pm (bring your own lunch) at Loughborough URC (blue room), LE11 3BH, Led by Revd Dr Deborah Baird

 To book contact Hannah Holmes, Email: trainingpa@urc5.org.uk  Tel: 0115 9609241


You will doubtless be aware that the commencement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is looming. The GDPR will impact on all churches, is unaffected by Brexit, and you have to be fully compliant with it by 25 May 2018. In conjunction with Stone King, our longstanding Partner in Ministry, ACAT is holding half-day seminars in three different locations to give practical guidance on this new legislation, with particular relevance to churches and faith organisations. 

Please see https://www.acat.uk.com/gdpr.html for more details.                                                                       

We do hope one of these will be convenient for you - the venues & dates are:-

  •           LONDON - Saturday 27 Jan 2018 at UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL                       
  •           NEWARK - Thursday 22 Feb 2018 at Everyday Champions Centre, Unit 2 Jessop Close, Brunel Business Park,Newark,NG242AG                                                                                                                                                   
  •           DURHAM - Thursday 8 March 2018 at The Durham Centre, Belmont Industrial Estate, Durham DH1 1TN 

Registration for all seminars will begin at 10:00, with the seminar itself from 10:30 to 13:15. We anticipate that these seminars will be of interest to many members of the church leadership, not just to the treasurer, hence we are incorporating a discount for multiple delegates from the same church. Prices include all materials & tea/coffee: 

1 delegate: £35;  2 delegates: £30 each;  3 or more delegates: £25 each                                                                                                                                         

Booking is available via the ACAT website at https://acat.uk.com/gdpr.html   You can book instantly online using Paypal or credit/debit card, or print out a postal booking form to send with a cheque. Your booking will be acknowledged by email and will include a map with directions to the venue you have selected.  As always, you do not have to be a member of ACAT to take part in our training. Please book early to secure your place if you wish to attend. 


Led by Jane Henderson (CYDO) on Saturday 3rd February 2018 from 10am – 3pm at The Synod Meeting Room, Nottingham, NG5 3AA.

For more information or to book contact Hannah Holmes at the Synod Office: trainingpa@urc5.org.uk


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: £140  Book your place at: www.urc.org.uk/urcya

More information from Jane Henderson – Funding is available from Synod.



The role is responsible for providing administrative support for the operational activities of the College from Council, Sub-committees and monthly Leadership Team Meeting Management through to running the Reception and General Office functions.  It will also include supervision of our Domestic Assistant and reports directly to the College Manager.

Scoping of Post: 0.6 FTE, 21 hours per week, preferred hours Monday to Friday for 4.2 hours a day                                      

Salary: £18,270 per annum. Start Date: ASAP. Term of Post: initially on a contract to end 31.08.18*                                         

*The contract could be extended or the role expanded depending on performance and student recruitment.               

Deadline for applications 12 noon on 15 December 2017. Interview Date provisionally booked for 21 December 2017. For more information or to download an application pack visit: https://stjohns-nottm.ac.uk/contact/current-vacancies/college-administrator-0-6-fte/

Year Book Changes
  •          Please remove the telephone number listed in the Year Book for Grimsby URC (5C07) on page 23, as this is incorrect.
  •          Please note that the Revd Josephine (Jo) Williams, retired minister, and her husband John have moved house. Their new address is **available from the Synod Office**
And Finally...

Please send any comments or feedback on this e-letter to: admin@urc5.org.uk
The URC East Midlands Synod, 1 Edwards Lane, Sherwood, Nottingham, NG5 3AA.
Email address for E-Letter Editor: trainingpa@urc5.org.uk Copy Date for Next E-Letter: 01.01.2018

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