E-LETTER NO: 235– 5th January 2017



It seems natural at the start of another year to wonder what it will bring. At the moment the Press is full of speculation about what Brexit will achieve, assuming the negotiations get started! To some, that pales into insignificance compared with wondering what the Presidency of Donald Trump will bring. Yesterday I received 2 e-mails within 5 minutes of each other, from my former pastorate in Lancashire, one giving joyful news of a birth, the second telling me of a death. The probability is that the year will bring good, as well as that less welcome, news. Looking ahead from a pastoral point of view, we know that we will need to reduce our number of stipendiary ministers at the same time as needing to find ministry for those churches in vacancy as well as those that will become vacant during the year. It will need an increasing awareness that the nature of ministry is changing if we are to avoid ministerial burn-out. In his New Year message recorded at Coventry Cathedral, where earlier in his ministry, Justin Welby then a Cathedral Canon, developed the Cathedral’s international ministry of reconciliation, concluded by saying:

“If we are welcoming to those in need, if we are generous in giving, if we take hold of our new future with determination and courage-then we will flourish.”

This year has been designated as a year of Feasts and Festivals, so hopefully we will all have lots to celebrate and maybe even flourish!                                                      Geoff Townsend (Convenor of Pastoral)



  • We regretfully inform you that the Revd Andrew Woodside Taggart, a retired minister from South Western Synod, has died. Andrew was ordained in 1960 and served at Clayton, Manchester; Westbury; Martock & Stoke sub Hamdon with South Petherton & Middle Lambrook; the South Somerset Group and finally at Furrough Cross, Torquay & Marldon. The funeral has taken place.
  • It is with deep regret that we inform you that the Revd Ronald Herbert Young, a retired minister, died on Saturday 31st December 2016. Ron lived in Inchbrook in Gloucestershire. He was ordained in 1953 and served in the Baptist Ministry until 1984 then Ross-on-Wye and Whitchurch from 1984 until 1995.  Ron was presented with a certificate at the March 2014 Synod for 60 years since his ordination. The funeral for Ronald Herbert Young will be held at Westerleigh Crematorium, near Yate, South Gloucestershire on Friday the 13th of January at 11:45. The Crematorium has good parking and is easily accessible.
  • It is with sadness that we advise you of the death of Revd Alan Frost, a retired Minister living in Gloucester. Alan died just after midnight on 2nd January having suffered a ruptured aneurysm. Alan, who had been suffering with Alzheimer’s for a while, died peacefully with his son, Peter, by his side. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Mary (Revd Mary Frost) and the rest of the family. Alan was Minister at: Mount Pleasant, Pontypool 1960-66; Stockport, Central 1966-70; Stockport Group 1970-73; Gerrards Cross 1973-88; St Andrew’s. Ealing 1988-89. The provisional details for the funeral are that it will be held on Monday 16th January at Coney Hill Crematorium, Gloucester. Please contact the E.M. Synod office if you wish to be informed when these details are confirmed.


ASHBOURNE ROAD - Meet a Modern Missionary! Dr Julia Edwards, a Mission Partner with the Methodist church in Britain, based in Fiji is coming to Ashbourne Road Church, Derby on Tuesday 24th January at 7pm. She has been researching climate change in the Pacific and advocating for climate justice globally since 2010.  Working alongside communities, as they relocate, and market vendors, so badly impacted by Cyclone Winston, Julia has a wealth of stories and information to share. Come and hear her! Enquiries:  Keith Burchell



FOLK NIGHT – An evening of folk and acoustic music with Malcolm Fife, Steve, Julie and Paul Carbuncle on Saturday 28th January 2017 from 7.30pm at The Dales URC, Corner of Parkdale/Eastdale Road, Bakersfield, NG3 7GL.  Admission is free, monetary and food donations for Friary’s Food Bank accepted. All proceeds in aid of the Friary – working locally to end homelessness.



DANESHOLME COMMUNITY CHURCH – Service of Celebration on Sunday 15th January 2017 at 3pm followed by a buffet. Please RSVP to Helen Wakefield-Carr .





EAST MIDLANDS SYNOD LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES BOOKLET – is out now and available to download on our website: www.urc5.org.uk/2017LObooklet

Please take a look to see which training events, study days and gathering you would like to come along to.



As part of The URC’s Feast and Festivals celebrations during 2017 we are holding a Study Day on Saturday 15th  July 2017  from 10am - 4pm (bring a packed lunch) at Sherwood URC, Nottingham. All Welcome!

With Revd Dr David Cornick. Theme: 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

To book contact Hannah B:  trainingpa@urc5.org.uk Tel: 0115 9609241



An opportunity to meet with other elders to share experiences and ideas within our churches.

Please make sure you book to join us at either of the following gatherings:

  • Saturday 4th February 2017 from 10.30am - 3pm (bring your own lunch) at Oadby URC, Leicester, led by Revd Dr Deborah Baird
  • Saturday 18th February 2017 from 10.30am - 3pm (bring your own lunch) at Matlock Methodist and URC, Derbyshire, led by Revd Dr Deborah Baird

To book contact Hannah B: trainingpa@urc5.org.uk  Tel:0115 9609241



On the morning of Saturday 20th May 2017  at West Derbyshire URC Coldwell Street, Wirksworth, Derbyshire, DE4 4FB. 10am for a 10.30am start – 12.30pm

Led by Revd Ruth Allen. To book or for more information please email or text Ruth (text is best due to appalling telecommunications):07974 835171   Email: RevRAllen@aol.com



Pay What You Can – Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd January 2017

This retreat is an opportunity to explore scripture drawing on the experiences of LGBT people: it is open to LGBT people and friends.

Stillness and scripture are two rich places for encountering God. In many ways they go together, as silence, and talking with others, are two rich was to let things from the Bible resonate more deeply, opening new insights and new possibilities.

In the past some people have read scripture in a way that excludes LGBT people. But we’ve always been part of the story, and this retreat creates the space to explore what echoes for us as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people — and for others who want to join us on the journey. Where are the places in scripture that nourish us, and have nourished people like us down the centuries? What is it to explore scripture as LGBT people created in the image of God? Where might there be surprises in store? This is a group retreat. It will include silence, conversation, group work and creative possibilities to explore scripture speaking to us over a few days. There will be scope to deepen our own experiences, and be enriched by different understandings and experiences of others in the group.

Mark Argent is the Editor of Encounter, the Magazine of the URC Retreats Group, and is a non-serving Elder at St Columba’s URC Cambridge.



Pay What You Can – Monday 6th – Thursday 9th March 2017

The Easter story is so central to Christianity that it can become almost too familiar. In addition, the pressures of putting together services for Holy Week and Easter can sometimes leave relatively little space for church folk to inhabit the story for themselves.
This retreat will draw on the film Jesus of Montreal as a way into the story. The film itself follows a group of actors, engaged to re-think an annual passion play that had lost its spark. As they are drawn into the story, they meet its freshness and its power -- which becomes truly transformative after the authorities, sensing that something beyond their control, seek to close it down. For this retreat, we will work as a group and on our own, in speech and in silence, reacting to film and to scripture, to explore where the aliveness of the story calls us.

Mark Argent is the Editor of Encounter, the Magazine of the URC Retreats Group, and is a non-serving Elder at St Columba’s URC Cambridge.

For more information or to book please visit: http://windermereurc.org.uk/events-by-date/?event_id=105




Saturday 21st January 2017 – 10am – 1pm  - Great Doddington, Chapel Lane, Great Doddington, NN29 7TJ

To book please contact Hannah B at the Synod Office: trainingpa@urc5.org.uk Tel: 0115 9609241

If your church is interested in hosting a safeguarding event please contact Hannah B or Jane Henderson (CYDO): cydo@urc5.org.uk Tel: 0757 229 1007



You are invited to attend a Messy Church Family Ministry Day, led by Jane Henderson (CYDO). Come along to find out more about family ministry and get lots of ideas!!! Saturday 25th February 2017 from 10am – 4pm at Christ Church, Leicester. Booking is essential, to book contact Hannah B at the Synod Office: trainingpa@urc5.org.uk  tel: 0115 9609241





£32,500 – 37.5 hours per week

This is a significant opportunity to join this Christian charitable organisation whilst working in a varied and interesting environment.

We are seeking to appoint a highly motivated Christian who will have the responsibility for ensuring that the needs of Congregational Federation (CF) churches and their members for Learning and Development are met to a high standard and in line with the ethos of Congregationalism.  The successful applicant will manage the Congregational Institute for Practical Theology.  They will work as part of a team of staff and volunteers of the Congregational Federation to advance its work and aims.

We expect the candidate to have a proven track record in successful people management, significant experience in delivery of theological education and evidence of strong self-motivation supported by highly effective communication, negotiation and data management skills. There is a genuine occupational requirement that the post holder is a Christian.

For an application pack which will include the job description and personal specification please visit our website  www.congregational.org.uk/vacancies

Closing date for applications is 5pm on Friday 27th January 2017.

Interviews will be held on Friday 17th February 2017.

8 Castle Gate, Nottingham NG1 7AS, 0115 9111 460



  • Please note that Mrs Sheena Davis, Secretary at Braunstone, Leicester, has a new address and phone number:


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: 16.01.17