EDITED THIS WEEK BY: HELEN LIDGETT
Those of you following the URC Daily Devotions on your computer or phone will know that we have been working our way through the book of the prophet Amos. He does not make easy reading over breakfast! If you read the newspaper or listen to the news alongside the passages, you can be hit hard by striking parallels.
“You levy taxes on the poor and extort a tribute of grain from them” - “I’ve been moved on to Universal Credit and because I’ve had no benefit payments for 6 weeks I can’t afford the rent or food for the children.”
“You hate a man who brings a wrongdoer to court and abominate him who speaks nothing less than truth” - “It’s just fake news.”
“You loll on beds made of ivory and lounge on your couches, you feast on lambs from the flock and stall-fed calves….you drink wine by the bowlful…but at the ruin of Joseph you feel no grief” - “The construction giant Carillion has collapsed; thousands of jobs are at risk; the executives have been paid huge bonuses but the Pension Fund has been massively underfunded for years.”
“When will the Sabbath be over that we may expose our wheat for sale, giving short measure in the bushel and taking overweight in the silver, tilting the scales fraudulently and selling the refuse of wheat?” - “Over two million people are living in homes rented from private landlords which are so
squalid that their health is at risk.”
Amos is harsh in his condemnation. “The Lord God has sworn by himself: I abhor the arrogance of Jacob, I detest his palaces; I shall abandon the city and its people to their fate.”
In well over two and a half thousand years, human nature has not changed. The capacity to trample on the weak and deprive them of their livelihood in order to make money and live in luxury has become more sophisticated but just as devastating. As many of the commentators on Amos in the Daily Devotions have asked, how can we speak truth to power in our own day and challenge policies that favour the rich and drive the weak into poverty; how can we use our own resources for good?
You can sign up to receive the URC Daily Devotions on the URC website:
- We are pleased to announce that Andrew Mudharara will be ordained and inducted into the Hinckley and Daventry Pastorate on Saturday 28th July, 2:00pm at Hinckley URC. We look forward to welcoming Andrew to the East Midlands Synod.
- It is with sadness that we inform you that Revd Janet Hargis passed away peacefully at home in Leicestershire on Saturday 20th January 2018. Janet had been a missionary in Malaysia in the 1960s, as well as one of the URC's first non-stipendiary ministers, working as Associate Minister at the Weoley Castle Community Church, Birmingham (1984-92). In 'retirement' Janet was active in churches of the South Leicestershire area, as well as wider afield. The funeral and thanksgiving service is to be held on: Friday 16th February at 11am in Blaby Methodist Church (Winchester Rd, Blaby, Leicester, LE8 4HL); followed by committal and refreshments to which all are invited.
BOULEVARD URC NOTTINGHAM - Do you want to put your culinary skills to a new use?
Gregory Boulevard URC Nottingham is looking for volunteers in the kitchen of the Bridge Centre which uses the lower hall of the church. The Centre is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10.30am to 2pm.
If you could commit to 1 or more session each week, or fortnight or even every month this would be great.
// --> or by telephone – 0115 9421680 or Kathleen Pass on 0115 9278833 or better still call in to see us on any Wednesday, Thursday or Friday between 9.30am and 12.30pm and enjoy a coffee or lunch.
THE DALES URC - are holding a Coffee morning on Saturday March 3rd from 10.30am - 12 noon at The Dales URC. This is a charity Event for Admiral Nurses, supporting Dementia. Please do come & support this worthwhile cause. All profits to Dementia Admiral Nurses.
Arrangements have been made with Andrew Gallie, the lawyer who made a presentation to the URC PLATO group on the General Data Protection Regulations, to run a half-day session on GDPR for Synod Office Staff and others with responsibility for handling Synod data.
15 spaces are available on this and are offered to appropriate people from local churches (maximum 2 people per church) on a ‘first come - first allocated’ basis.
The session will be in the Synod office on Wednesday 7 March 2018, commencing at 10.30 (and due to end for 13.00).
The cost will be £35 for one person (or if 2 from the same church £30 each).
Please note that the Synod are currently in the process of arranging a further training session for Churches and details of this will be available soon.
// --> or by telephone 0115 960 9241 to book (Monday - Thursday 9:00am - 3:00pm)
The 2018 General Assembly will be asked to elect two Moderators for General Assembly, one a minister and one lay, to serve from 2020-22.
Nominations are requested from Synods. If your church wishes to nominate someone, a Minister or an Elder, please complete the Nomination Form by following this
link: https://www.urc5.org.uk/Nominationmodga and send it to Helen Lidgett, the Synod Clerk, on
// --> or post it to her at the Synod Office by Monday 12th February.
The Synod Meeting on 17th March will be asked to decide which nominations to approve and forward to the General Secretary.
Yes, I know it is still some time off but we need to be planning and to assist with this the meeting of F&P will be considering the timetable at its meeting in a few day’s time. This will be circulated, along with the necessary information for completion of M&M offers, soon after Easter.
One thing that all churches can do ‘now’ is to send their accounts to the office by the end of March 2018 please.
Most will be for the year ended 31/12/2017 but if your church’s financial year covers a different period please send the accounts appropriate for that date.
All accounts should be audited / inspected as necessary and can be ‘draft’ if still awaiting final approval by the AGM.
// --> - or the Synod office address if using the postal service.
Many thanks, David J Greatorex, Treasurer.
Please note that in 2018 Church House will be holding two Assembly-organised Enquirers events for people interested in a range of ministries in the church:
- Saturday 24 March 2018, 10am – 4pm at Luther King House, Manchester
- Saturday 10 November, 10am-4pm at Westminster College, Cambridge
An Antidote to Black and White Religion presented by Dave Tomlinson
Rev'd Dave Tomlinson is the Vicar of St Luke’s, Holloway. He is known beyond St Luke's as a speaker and writer (e.g. The Post-evangelical, How to be a bad Christian and The bad Christian's Manifesto). His current book is “Black Sheep and Prodigals: An antidote to black and white religion.”
As part of his book tour, Dave is coming to Wellingborough URC for an evening of conversation on 22 March at 7 pm. Come hear Dave’s story and his take on faith that is welcoming and open. Be assured of some laughter and well as thoughtfulness.
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, please note that spaces are limited and will be given on a first come first serve basis.
* 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
// --> Tel: 0115 9609241
From Natalie Gibbs, one of the newly appointed Youth Assembly Moderators Elect
URC Youth Assembly 2018 took place from 19 to 21 January at Whitemoor lakes, Alrewas, where Hannah Jones was welcomed as the URC Youth Moderator. Natalie Gibbs from East Midlands Synod and Katie Henderson were both elected as Youth Assembly Moderators Elect.
But what do we do?
Both the Moderator and the Moderators Elect will be busy representing URC Youth and ensuring the voices of young people are heard both within the URC and beyond. This includes attending various meetings: Children & Youth Work Committee, Mission Council, General Assembly and chairing the meetings of the URC Youth Executive, who meet 4 times a year to work on the business voted on at Youth Assembly and also plan for the following year.
I am excited for the next year both Katie and I will work hard supporting Hannah in her role and preparing for our year as Moderators after Youth Assembly 2019. I am looking forward to learning more about the wonderful Children & Youth work that's already happening, including within the East Midlands Synod. Having grown up in a URC Church and serving on Youth Executive for the past two years I consider URC Youth as more of a family and am looking forward to welcoming more people into this community in my new role.
From Georgina Neale, the new Youth Rep to Synod - Hi I am Georgina Neale and I’m the new Synod Youth rep. I am currently a second year student studying
‘Disaster Management and Emergency Planning’ at Coventry University.
I have been on the Youth Exec for the past 2 years and have enjoyed taking a part in Synod Meetings, Youth Assembly and Youth Exec meetings during this time. Alongside my new role as the Synod Youth Rep I am also a 2017/18 General Assembly Intern and I sit on the URC Guide and Scout Fellowship committee. I am looking forward to my new role and raising awareness of Guiding and Scouting as part of the URC youth. If you have Scouts or Guides who meet at your church and want to know more please get in touch with me at:
9-11th March 2018 for 9 to 18 year olds. £25 per person (£10 deposit).
With leaders: Dave Dennis and Eleanor Rice.
Join us for Fun, Games, Movie Late Nights, Food, Laughter, Quiet and Loud Times, Exploring, Developing, Sharing, Learning, Worship & loads more ….
To book visit: https://bulwellurc.churchsuite.co.uk/events/h9c3effp
// --> Tel: 07480 113252
- Children and Youth Leaders ‘Meet Up’ – Scunthorpe - Saturday 3rd March 2018 from 10am - 2pm
- Children and Youth Leaders ‘Meet Up’ - Bulwell URC, Notts - Saturday 12th May 2018 from 10am - 2pm
- Children and Youth Leaders Training and ‘Meet Up’ - The Dales URC, Nottingham- Saturday 15th September 2018 from 10am - 3pm
MAINTENANCE SURVEYOR - HOUSING SOCIETY, LONDON-BASED WITH UK TRAVEL - FULL TIME
Salary: c£45,000 plus car/allowance
ASSISTANT MAINTENANCE SURVEYOR
West Midlands-based with UK travel - Fixed Term 2 years, Salary: c£39,500 plus car/allowance
Are you a qualified building surveyor preferably with experience of social housing? These key appointments will manage repairs and maintenance operations within a small team. You will play a crucial role in the review and efficient delivery of the asset management strategy.
The United Reformed Church Retired Ministers’ Housing Society is a Community Benefit Society providing housing for church ministers in retirement. Our 350 properties are dispersed across England, Scotland and Wales. Both roles require significant travel. You will therefore need a clean driving licence.
You will be assessing properties for their ongoing suitability and specifying repairs and adaptations to meet the needs of elderly tenants.
Managing planned maintenance forms an important part of the role, alongside the need to deal promptly and effectively with reactive repairs. You will prepare specifications and technical drawings and select and manage contractors within budget.
The successful candidates will have residential maintenance and surveying experience ideally within the context of social housing. Understanding of adaptations for the disabled or elderly tenants is important. A good communicator, you will have the ability to write and present complex technical reports. You will have experience of controlling budgets. It is important that you are a team player and willing to support your colleagues.
Candidates should be educated to a degree level and hold a RICS or CIOB accreditation with at least 3 years post qualification experience. Good IT skills are essential.
Previous applicants need not apply Please indicate salary expectation on your application form If you are interested in working for us and can meet the above requirements,
please contact us/see our website for an application form (noting that we do not accept CVs):
// --> W: www.urc.org.uk/vacancies
Closing date for applications: 12 noon, Monday 19 February 2018
Interview dates: Thursday 22 & Wednesday 28 March 2018
This post requires an enhanced DBS certificate from the Disclosure and Barring Service
- CORRECTION: Please note that the email address for Mrs Julie Froggatt, Secretary at Sinfin Moor, was written incorrectly in the last edition and should be: **AVAILABLE FROM SYNOD OFFICE**
- Please note that Brigstock URC have a new Treasurer: Mrs Margaret McDonald **AVAILABLE FROM SYNOD OFFICE**
- Please note that St Thomas’s LEP, Milton Keynes, have a new Treasurer: Mr Gary Newton **AVAILABLE FROM SYNOD OFFICE**
- Please note that St Thomas’s LEP, Milton Keynes, have a new Secretary, Mrs Alison Lucas: **AVAILABLE FROM SYNOD OFFICE**
- Please note that Castle Hill URC, have a new Treasurer: Mrs Ellen Tero: **AVAILABLE FROM SYNOD OFFICE**
- Please note that Mrs Rooke, Secretary at Bourne URC, has a new phone number: **AVAILABLE FROM SYNOD OFFICE**
- Please note that Hinckley URC have a new Secretary: Mr Tony Wallis: **AVAILABLE FROM SYNOD OFFICE**
- Please note that Mrs C Lound, Treasurer at Bourne URC, has a new email address: **AVAILABLE FROM SYNOD OFFICE**
- Please note that Sutton in Ashfield URC, have a new Treasurer: Mrs Gill Brunt: **AVAILABLE FROM SYNOD OFFICE**
- Please note that the telephone number for Revd Robert Bushby, who will be inducted to the Riverside, Sleaford Pastorate and MDO post on Saturday, is: **AVAILABLE FROM SYNOD OFFICE**