E-LETTER NO: 237 – 2nd FEBRUARY 2017



As you all know, 2017 is our year of Feasts and Festivals.  Did you realise that in addition to everything else, it is also the 40th anniversary of the Council for World Mission (CWM)? 

In the 1960’s and 70’s the London Missionary Society and the English Presbyterian Board of Mission, were in the forefront of moves to create new structures of world mission fit for the modern world, based on equal partnership.  In 1977 the old missionary societies associated with the URC died and the Council for World Mission was formed, amid great excitement.  We were doing something new which would revolutionise relationships between churches worldwide.  This approach has been copied by many other western missionary societies.  So this year we will celebrate 40 years of CWM and being in mutual and equal partnership with its many member churches in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Pacific and the Caribbean.

There are now 32 member churches in 41 countries in CWM, working in partnership in mission, supporting reflection, research, discernment and communication.   CWM strategy is to:

  • Equip young people for mission
  • Build capabilities in member churches
  • Develop missional congregations
  • Share people in mission

Our own Synod link with the Botswana Synod of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa is part of CWM and involves our young people.  Our Synod focus on mission reflects CWM’s theme of developing missional congregations.  CWM is part of our life in the United Reformed Church.  So let’s celebrate!

There is background and worship material on the URC website under Feasts and Festivals/monthly resources/ March.  Unfortunately it does not include the hymn Caryl Micklem wrote for the inauguration of CWM: “Thanks be to God, whose Church on earth has stood the tests of time and place”, 582 in ‘Rejoice and Sing’, and I would urge you to include it.  (Verse 4 is relevant today in ways we could not even imagine 40 years ago!)  CWM itself has designated Sunday 16th July as CWM Sunday and will be producing worship and study material.  It doesn’t matter what date you choose, celebrate and pray for the Council for World Mission this year.                                                                                                     Helen Lidgett (Synod Clerk)



  • It is with sadness that we inform you of the death of Revd Arnold Dawson, Arnold was a retired minister and died peacefully on the morning of 22nd January, the day before his 94th birthday. Arnold was minister at Felling 1959 – 1961;  Ryton-on-Tyne 1961 – 1966;  Winlaton 1964 – 1966;  Thornaby-on-Tees 1966 – 1972; Cottingham & Newland, Hull 1972 – 1985 and Heaton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1985 – 1988. For details of the funeral please contact Northern Synod. The family of Revd Arnold Dawson, would like to express their thanks to all those people who have been in contact from many parts of the country since the notice was circulated about his death.  It has been a source of comfort to know that his ministry over the years has been appreciated by so many people.
  • It is with regret that we tell you of the death of Revd Eileen Mary Sambrooks, who died during the last weekend of January. Eileen served at:  Ingrow 1979 - 84, Christ Church Keighley & Worth Baptist Mission 1979 - 85, Blundellsands, Crosby 1985-99, Grange over Sands with Allithwaite 1999 - 2010. For funeral details please contact North Western Synod.
  • We regretfully inform you of the death of Mrs Patricia Nunn, who died on 7th January. Patricia was the wife of retired minister Revd Frank Nunn, who died in 2011. Our thoughts are with Patricia’s family and friends at this difficult time.



Gainsborough United Reformed Church are hoping to arrange a Training Day in March/April led by Sarah Crossland, a Trustee with Churches and Visitors Tourism Association (CVTA).  CVTA describes itself as ‘the UK’s leading body for promoting best practice in welcoming people to places of worship.  Our work is all about developing the tourism potential and visitor experience...of our historical and contemporary sacred heritage, captured for the future, living in the present, and distinctive to the location of every community across the land.’  (See cvta.og.uk for further information).

Gainsborough U.R.C. was built as a memorial to John Robinson ‘pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers.’  We are seeking to develop our church’s heritage potential in the approach to the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the ‘Mayflower’ in 2020.  We see this as a springboard to developing our ministry of welcome.  Members of other churches keen to develop their ministry of welcome may also find the CVTA Training Day valuable.  There will be a cost, varying according to numbers attending.  If 15-20 people attend, the cost will be no more than £20 per person according to current figures.  Please contact Church Secretary Mrs. Susan Bee (e-mail: bee.susan@yahoo.co.uk, Tel. 01427 811258) to register your interest.



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.




This is a reminder that applications for the Synod Mission Fund must be received in the office by Wednesday 15th February. 

Forms and Guidance Notes are on the Synod Website: http://www.urc5.org.uk/MissionFund


In a fantastic new publication, entitled, In Our Own Words, URC black and minority ethnic ministers (BAME) write about their personal faith journeys in the URC. Rev Dr Michael Jagessar, who edited the collection, said: "The writers underscore that there are 'many types' of BAME'S! And it is not just about us writing our story/history. You will find here God-talk that relies upon God's generosity (grace); that demonstrates in its weakness and shortcoming a radical confidence in God, that can be both confident and joyous, yet self-critical; and God-talk that delights in employing mind and heart, spontaneity and imagination - in response to the offer of a full life for all." Of special interest in our Synod is ‘Ministering in a Different Context’, by Revd Samuel Silungwe, minister of Brigstock, London Road Kettering and Geddington URCs and Convenor of the East Midlands Synod Ministries Group. To receive a copy, please email Veronica Daniel (veronica.daniel@urc.org.uk).



Following discussion at Mission Council in November, the URC Education and Learning and Finance Committees will be preparing papers on the future of the Windermere Centre for discussion and decision by Mission Council on 12-14 May. These papers have to be ready well in advance of the meeting so that Mission Council members have time to read the papers before the meeting, and discuss them within their synods or committees.  They have requested submissions from individuals, groups and committees to help their thinking.  These are to be submitted by email or post to Revd Fiona Thomas, Secretary for Education and Learning by 1st March.  Papers will be made public, unless otherwise requested, and available to read on the URC website.   Details can be found at: http://www.urc.org.uk/future-of-the-windermere-centre.

This can also be reached from within the Education & Learning pages of the United Reformed Church website:http://www.urc.org.uk/discipleship/education-and-learning.html [1]



Don't forget that Racial Justice Sunday now falls on 12 February 2017, to mark the occasion global & intercultural ministries have produced some useful resources for you, that are available here

Racial Justice Sunday is an opportunity for all Christians to join together in:

  • Reflecting on the importance of racial justice
  • Thanksgiving for human diversity
  • Prayer for an end to misunderstanding, racism and injustice
  • Action that truly makes a difference
  • Fundraising for national and local racial justice initiatives    


Form March 12th to 20th we will be having two visitors from our Partner Synod- Revd. Keleneilwe Kgerathwa ( Synod Secretary) and Revd. John Motswai ( Synod Chairman Elect). I would like to give them a flavour of our Synod so if you have any meetings, gatherings during that week we would love to visit. Please contact me a.s.a.p. so that I can put a programme together. 

Judith North  0116 2862625. 07765009585. Judithnorth64@yahoo.co.uk



Churches in America have responded strongly to President’s Trump executive order on immigration. In a spirit of solidarity and shared concerns the joint public issues team have put together a selection of the statements made by our sister Churches. To view this please follow the link:




All proceeds are in aid of Launde Abbey, the retreat house for the dioceses of Leicester and Peterborough and a great local resource for schools, church groups, individuals and charities.

The basic details are as follows, but if you require any further information email: info@launde.org.uk

  • Thursday, February 9th until Sunday, March 12th 2017 - Snowdrop Spectacular, 2pm until 4pm daily, £6.50 per person to include a cream tea
  • Saturday, February 11th 2017 - Swing into Spring:  Dinner and Dancing to tunes from the big band and swing era, 7pm for 7.30pm, £35.00 per person for a four course gourmet menu and dancing
  • Sunday, March 26th 2017 - Mothering Sunday Lunches, 12.30pm for 1pm, £15.00 per person for a three course lunch (children under 12 half price)

 For more information and to book: T: 01572 717254    E:info@launde.org.uk   W:www:laundeabbey.org.uk



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)



For those who have been exercising this valuable ministry for many years, please do bring along the resources that you use and tips that you have found helpful, especially when going to serve in this way in different churches, so that we can all learn more.  For those who have not yet presided, or are very new to doing so, here is the opportunity to undergo some training with Revd Mary Burgess.  All are welcome! The two dates are:

  • Saturday 4th March 2017 from 10am – 12noon (arriving at 9.45am for tea/coffee before a prompt 10am start) At Long Eaton URC, Nottingham Road, Long Eaton, NG10 1HQ


  • Saturday 8th April 2017 from 10am – 12noon (arriving at 9.45am for tea/coffee before a prompt 10am start) At Ermine URC, Sudbrooke Drive, Ermine, Lincoln, LN2 2EF. There is parking on site and around the Church

Please let Mary know if you are coming, by email mary@spiritualseekers.co.uk or phone 0116 2849623.




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. Please bring a packed lunch. Booking is essential, to book contact Hannah B at the Synod Office:    

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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: 13.02.2017