EMURCE-LETTER 236 - 19th January 2017


E-LETTER NO: 236– 19th January 2017



Next week the young people of the URC will be gathering for URC Youth Assembly 2017.  We have 8 young people from our Synod attending, some for the first time.  Youth Assembly is a great opportunity for the youth of the URC to be together and have fellowship, worship and discuss issues that concern them.

Young people who attend Youth Assembly are not all from the URC.  There are invited guests from other denominations and also one of the strengths of URC Youth is that anyone who is connected with a URC, be that attending worship or one of the young people’s groups, Pilots, Scouts, Guides, Boys Brigade, Girls Brigade are considered part of URC Youth and are welcome to attend events.   This means that there are young people who either attend another local church or do not attend church at all, only when they attend their group. 

I am writing this as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins.  This year’s theme is ‘breaking down barriers’ and how Christs love compels us towards reconciliation.

We are facing difficult and challenging times, both as a denomination and in the wider world with many people who are not at peace with one another.  As a denomination we work and worship with many other Christian communities, let us encourage each other and work to become a united Church across the country and across the world showing Gods love to everyone, working for peace in our world.

There are resources prepared for the week of Prayer available to download for free from the Churches together website www.ctbi.org.uk . Perhaps you will be meeting with others from your local churches during this week.

Please pray for URC Youth Assembly 2017 and for the young people of the URC and wider church, that they may have fellowship together during the weekend and develop relationships that enable them to continue to work together for unity in the Christian Church. You can follow what happens at youth assembly by following URCYouth on Facebook or Twitter – #URCYA17.                  Jane Henderson (CYDO)




  • We are pleased to let you know that Revd Robert Sheard will be inducted to Boston URC on Saturday 21st January.  Boston has joined the pastorate of Bourne and Spalding United Reformed Churches, of which Robert is already minister.
  • We would like to congratulate Revd Marcus Hargis and his wife Jaya on the birth of their baby boy Benjamin, brother to Joshua, on Saturday 31st December.  Mother and baby are both doing well and Marcus is now back from paternity leave.
  • It is with sadness that we inform you of the death of Revd John Fuller on Monday 9 January. John was living in retirement in Kirkby Lonsdale, with his wife Jean. John trained at Westminster College, was ordained in 1949, and served at Trinity, Clapham Road (1949-52) and Blackheath (1952-61). The funeral service will be at St Mary's Church, Kirkby Lonsdale, on Tuesday 24 January at 1pm.
  • It is with deep regret that we inform you of the death of the Revd Kenneth John Henry Hibberd, a retired minister living in Exeter with his wife Roma. Ken died on Tuesday 10th January. He served the church at Belper 1952-56; Skinner Street, Poole 1956-62; Elmwood, Birmingham 1962-77 and at Southernhay & St Thomas, Exeter 1977-90. There will be a service of thanksgiving on Thursday 26th January at 2pm at Southernhay Church in Exeter following a private committal service.




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 01332 381611    keith_burchell@yahoo.co.uk




THE DALES – On Saturday 4th March, The Dales are holding a Coffee morning, to raise funds for Dementia research. Time 10-30am -12 noon. There will be tombola / raffle/ sales table/ coffee & cakes. All Welcome.

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.





ALL Churches should now have received their annual returns (posted 28 December). These should be completed and returned to the Synod Office by Tuesday 31 January at the latest. If you have any queries when completing the form please contact Chris Willis on 0115 960 9241 or e-mail the office on admin@urc5.org.uk


The New Training for Learning and Serving (TLS)  - Local Introductory Training Experience (LITE)

TLS is now more accessible and more flexible and even more enjoyable!  The excellent One Year TLS (Gateways) Courses continue as before, but everything else has changed.

In place of the two-year Foundation Course, organised nationally, everyone studying TLS will take TLS LITE, organised locally.  They may embark on TLS for personal development or it might be in order to progress to Synod recognition or National accreditation (e.g. as a lay preacher, as a community/youth worker or for pastoral care).

Those studying simply for personal development take BASIC LITE.  Those working towards National accreditation would take LITE+PLUS.  They can, of course, all be members of the same Study Group.

People working towards Synod recognition as a lay preacher, community worker etc will need to study the same modules as for National accreditation, but they will then take a further module of TLS LITE instead of proceeding to a nationally organised One Year (Gateways) course.

It is advisable to consult the Lay Preaching Commissioner, the CYDO or the Training and Development Officer as appropriate before embarking on TLS courses with accreditation/recognition in mind. Successful completion of TLS is an important step but does not guarantee accreditation/recognition.

Most TLS LITE modules include one or two Study Days as well as a series of Study Group sessions.  These are the responsibility of the person leading the Group, and comprehensive guidance is provided in the course material, obtained from Church House.  The Synod will provide support as practicable.

There is another difference involved in working towards National accreditation under the new arrangements.  Following successful completion of TLS LITE and then the One Year (Gateways) course, the student will need to complete a year of mentored Reflective Practice. 

I am delighted to hear from people thinking about embarking on TLS LITE as well as from potential Study Group leaders/facilitators, Reflective Practice mentors etc.  I can provide (as a hard copy or as an email attachment) a sheet: 'Starting a TLS LITE Group' and/or a booklet that provides a more detailed introduction to TLS LITE.  These will also be available at March Synod.

Please email me at charles.jolly1@talktalk.net (ask for a 'read receipt' to check it arrives!)

or write: Charles Jolly, 13 Darwin Avenue, Buxton SK17 6NF (s.a.e. with a standard stamp appreciated).

Charles Jolly, TLS Regional Organiser.  Jan 2017



Previously part of the Congregational and General Insurance Company, the Trust became independent of the Company in 2016. To reflect our new status we have launched  a new website:  www.candgtrust.org.uk

We are an independent grant-making charity. Our aim is to support churches, particularly those of the United Reformed and Congregational denominations, in the provision and repair of suitable buildings.  Please encourage churches who are engaged in building work to apply to the Trust for help.  Full details are on the website. Grant applications are now considered on a quarterly basis and full details of how to apply are on our website.



Two Youth and Children’s Leaders from The Dales URC, Arran Bilsbrough and Rebecca Prince, are climbing Snowdon at night on 23rd June 2017 to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society. They would like your support as they and 2 friends try to reach their goal of raising £1,600! To support them, visit their JustGiving page:  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/snowdon-2017

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.



Church: More than a preaching station?

Rural Ministries Day Conference 4th February Near Huntingdon. Cost £15

The church today is ministering in a time of rapid social, economic and cultural change, and undoubtedly the pastoral task for many of us has become far more complex. Nevertheless, pastoral care might just be one of the most compelling ways of proclaiming the Gospel and of being the church in ‘missionary mode’ serving our local communities now.

This interactive training day is suitable for people involved in pastoral care, ministers, as well as regular members of the congregation. We will take a practical look through four workshops at how churches can structure pastoral care to respond appropriately to local needs within a rural context.

For more information and booking go to www.ruralministries.org.uk/regionalconferences2017 or follow the link on our home page.

Whole-life Discipleship

Rural Ministries Annual Conference 2017, The Well, Retford, Nottinghamshire 13th May, Cost £30

It's too easy for 98% of the church (all the 'lay people') to think that their contribution to God's work mainly happens in 5% of their lives (when we are engaged in church-sponsored activity). At least that is the impression we can give one another.

But the Bible is full of stories that show what can happen when God takes ordinary people and uses them in ways that they could never have imagined. What might that look like in our places, in our lives when we get a vision for whole life discipleship? Together we will be inspired, encouraged and challenged as we hear stories, rethink old truths and imagine what could be possible in the places we find ourselves in most of the time.     For more information and booking go to www.ruralministries.org.uk/annual-conference or follow the link on our home page.



Churches Together in Grantham and District on Sunday 22 January at 6.00pm

United Service at ChristChurch on Finkin Street with refreshments from 5.00pm

Preacher: Revd Dr David Cornick

General Secretary, Churches Together in England



I would like to try and run a Quiet Morning or Afternoon in each of our Synod counties this year. The months I have available are March, July, August and October, and Derbyshire has already booked one (Wirksworth, 20 May). If you would like to host one of these, please contact me on RevRAllen@aol.com or 07974 835171 (text is best as we have appalling telecommunications where I live). I shall take bookings on a strictly first-come-first-served basis.

In case you’re wondering what these Quiet Times consist of: typically we meet in a church or hall, start with a drink, and then a little bit of input from me. Then the main part of the time is taken up with 3 half-hour slots with a short break in between, and there will be sheets of paper with reflections to work on if you wish. But if you wish just to be still before God, that is absolutely fine. Finally we come together for the chance to comment, if we want to; a final prayer, and home we go. The whole thing lasts about 2½ hours.

Blessings, Ruth Allen (Synod Retreats Organiser)




Please note that the date and venue for our Youth and Children’s Weekend has been changed. The correct details are now: Friday 15—Sunday 17 September 2017 at The Hayes, Swanwick. If you are a Youth and Children’s leader and would be interested in attending, please contact Hannah B at the Synod Office: trainingpa@urc5.org.uk



You are invited to attend a Messy Church Family Ministry Day, led by Jane Henderson (CYDO) with Lucy Moore from Messy Church. 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:    

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  • Please note that Revd George Mwaura, Minister at Christ the Cornerstone LEP and Pastoral Consultant for Milton Keynes, moves in to his new manse this week. The address is: 16 Morrison Court, Crownhill, Milton Keynes, MK8 0DA   George’s email address remains


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: 30.01.17