E - Letter 166 - February 27th 2014


E-LETTER NO: 166 – 27th February 2014



The ELM Pastorate (Eastwood, Langley and Marlpool churches) have been without a Minister for over two years and we have recently had a minister preach with a view and he has been accepted and has accepted the call. During the period of having no minister, like many churches, we have had to call on our own resources and those of local lay preachers and ministers. We have benefitted from this process and it has encouraged us to be innovative and call on the skills (sometimes hidden) of our own members.

I am a great supporter of the URC way of calling a minister and for individual churches to take the decision whether to call or not. But what will be important in the near future is to develop greater co-operation between the three churches to support the new Minister, reflect on work within the communities we serve, be an active part of the Hubs and Advocates grouping for Young People and see if we can encourage work within the churches and the community for children and young people and not to breathe that huge sigh of relief and leave the minister to get on with it!

As I grow older I am aware that the approach that can be adopted is to let others get on with it and assume the church will still be there for me and my family in the future. But the pattern of Sunday worship has changed in this day and age and I am increasingly aware that unless we give of our time and effort we cannot assume the church will be there for us all in years to come.

Across the Synod a number of churches are struggling (to meet their financial responsibilities, look after the building so that it meets modern requirements, play an active part within the wider church and encourage young people to be a part of the weekly activities).  I would encourage all churches and church members to reflect on the present with a view to being active in the future. God has a purpose for us all and we can be active in worshipping and praising our Lord and Saviour in many different ways.

Duncan Smith (Synod Clerk)



DUSTON URC,NORTHAMPTON- Annual Flower Festival and Church Anniversary

Saturday 1st March and Sunday 2nd March. 'Down Your Way in Northamptonshire'

Saturday - 10am -  4.30pm   Stalls and Refreshments

Sunday Morning - Worship at 11am, Flower Festival from 2-4.30pm  

All enquiries to  Wendy Lovell:  01604 592071 



GAINSBOROUGH URC – Are pleased to announce that they have a new website. Please visit them at http://www.gainsborough-united-reformed-church.org.uk/ to have a look!



THE DALES URC - Fashion Show & ClothesSale! Please come along and join us on Monday 24th March from 7.30pm. Admission is £3 (tea/coffee available.)                                                   The proceeds are to boost our funds for the refurbishment of the Church roof.




MILTON KEYNESTHEOLOGY FORUM- MK Christians in a World of Faiths

Monday 10 March, 7.30 - 9.00 pm at:Quaker Centre,OakleyGardens,Downhead ParkMK15 9BH

An open discussion for thinking Christians! Introductions by Cass Howes (Chaplain, University of Bedfordshire), Steve Bell (UK Director, Interserve) & Paul Smith (Team Rector, Stantonbury LEP)

How should we relate to those of other faiths?  How should we live as Christians in a multi-faith community?  How do they see Christians; how do we see them?  Why are we often reluctant to engage with Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and other faiths?  How do we reconcile the traditional Christian teaching about salvation in Christ alone with the emphasis on the equality of faiths in society? Is the presence of those of other faiths in MK a threat or an opportunity?  How can we build friendships across cultures?  What can local churches do?  Is help available?  How can we share our faith with confidence?  All are welcome.





We are sorry to say that the Easter Refresher which was to be held on Saturday 1st March from 2pm – 5pm at West Derbyshire URC has been cancelled.



Join Professor Tim Benton for a special lecture at Southwell Minster on Feeding the World in the Future. Thursday 13th March at 7pm, Entry is free. 

Professor Tim Benton is the 'Champion' for theUK's Global Food Security programme. The role of the Champion is to act as a leader, coordinator and facilitator of the programme and to act as an ambassador both for the programme and the area, facilitating knowledge exchange between research and stakeholders in government, industry and society.



The 2014 Community Project Awards are now open. The biannual awards are a joint initiative between the United Reformed Church and Congregational & General Insurance plc, recognising innovative community projects that are connected to churches of the URC acrossEngland,Scotland andWales. The awards offer prizes of up to £4,000. Judges are looking for church projects that are helping local communities in diverse and exciting ways – Is that your church community project?

For more than a decade, the awards scheme has been giving substantial cash awards to projects connected with the URC that have a positive effect within their community. In 2014, the first prize will be up to £4000; up to three further prizes will be awarded to the runners up, from a total prize fund of £10,000.

If you are interested in applying, please read the rules and complete the entry form.  The deadline for applications is Thursday 27 March 2014. Shortlisted projects will all be the subject of a short film which will be first shown at the awards ceremony, which takes place at the URC’s General Assembly in July 2014. Don’t miss your chance; enter today! Visit: http://www.urc.org.uk/community-project-awards-2014.html




Increasingly the secular world we live in is striving to marginalize Christianity by limiting the supply of Christian books in our libraries. Well here is your chance to reverse the trend by joining in mission with Speaking Volumes.

Speaking Volumes exists to help all sorts of libraries stock good-quality Christian books for all readers to enjoy.  They work with public libraries and libraries in schools, prisons, hospices, playgroups and churches - anywhere, in fact, that literature is lent or made available to a wide readership. They help by providing 50% of the full price of the books and DVDs. You can buy them yourself for a library you're involved with or buy them as a gift for a library you want to support.  Either way, Speaking Volumes still match-fund your purchase for all orders of 10 items or more.                                           So reach out for God and for Christ by contacting Speaking Volumes on www.speakingvolumes.org.uk or contact your local Christian bookshop.  


CASCADES OF GRACE – voices of black and minority ethnic women in the United Reformed Church

We are a group seeking to connect BME women across the denomination

Why not join us to celebrate our gifts and recognise our contributions, hear our stories and share your experiences and help shape the spaces and places for our voices to be heard

To find out more, please contact: Karen Campbell, Racial Justice and Intercultural Ministry Office (RJiM), The United Reformed Church House,  email: crcwsmiles@hotmail.co.uk



Church leaders call national fast for UK's hungry as “End Hunger Fast” campaign planned for Lent

·         Faith leaders, food bank campaigners and anti-poverty groups express outrage at rise inUKhunger and call for urgent political action as Cameron weighs into welfare debate

·         Letter from 26 Anglican Bishops and Catholic, Quaker and Methodist leaders published today announces support for campaign on welfare, wages and food poverty

·         End Hunger Fast launches March 5th (Ash Wednesday) and will be mobilising thousands for a national day of fasting in sympathy with half a million hungry Britons. 

End Hunger Fast is organising an online campaign to encourage citizens around the UKto take part in a national day of fasting on April 4th People can People can pledge to join the day of fasting at: www.endhungerfast.co.uk



With Revd Dr Susan Durber, Saturday 6th September 2014, 10am—4pmNewportPagnell URC

All are welcome, Please join us for a day of learning, discussion and sharing. £5 per person (which includes lunch and refreshments)

Booking is essential; please contact Hannah Bones at the Synod Office for a booking form at: trainingpa@urc5.org.uk

 Surprised by Graceparables and prayers, by the Revd Dr Susan  Durber, former principal of Westminster College and currently theology co-ordinator for Christian Aid, is a beautifully written and illustrated volume which takes a fresh, sometimes surprising, look at 31 parables, each accompanied by a reflection and a prayer. Offering readers advice about reading the parables.



The URC Retreat Group andWestminsterCollegeinvite you to share in a time to explore some of the ways in which we encounter God and God encounters us. Amidst prayer and hospitality share opportunities for dwelling upon the Bible, creativity and silence.

Thursday 19th – Saturday 21st June 2014, cost: £210 per person. For more information or to book contact Westminster College at: admin@westminster.cam.ac.uk   tel: 01223 330633



Monday 8th – Wednesday 10th September 2014 or Wednesday 10th – Friday 12th September 2014 or Friday 12th – Sunday 14th September 2014-02-27

Join us and be better equipped in your service and ministry. Take a couple of days out to recharge and renew. Let us enrich you as we share God’s blessings.

Cost £186 per person, for a booking form or more information contact WestminsterCollegeat: admin@westminster.cam.ac.uk or tel: 01223 330633



  • Please note the change of email address for Roy (elder and treasurer) and Nola Dunkley (elder and correspondence secretary) at Great Doddington URC, Northants: roy@dunkley2770.freeserve.co.uk
  • Please note that the phone number for Joan Seaton (Secretary at Kilby) was printed incorrectly in our last edition. The correct phone number is: 0116 288 0625
  • Please note that RiversideChurchhave a new secretary, Mr Jeremy Green: 2 Ashfield Road, Sleaford, Lincs, NG34 7DZ  tel: 01529 414512  email: jeremy.green@carres.lincs.sch.uk









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: 10.03.14