E-LETTER NO: 240 – 16th MARCH 2017


Dear Friends,

During the last eight months my review has occupied my thoughts and, I confess, my anxieties. Every Synod Moderator is appointed for seven years and if a moderator is willing to explore a call to a further five year term a review is undertaken. It came as a great relief to me and as a great joy to be told that the General Assembly Review Panel will be recommending to Mission Council I be re-appointed to serve a further five year term as Helen has shared on the synod website. I wish to record in this public way my thanks to both the Synod Panel and the General Assembly Panel for the careful, thoughtful and prayerful way they have done their work. Yet as a Christian I cannot help but think there are matters much more important than my re-appointment. We are in the midst of that most thought provoking of seasons, Lent and as ever, much in our world provokes us to prayer and action. In this worrying era of “Fake News” and “Fake Facts” that have done so much to change the minds of the public in Britain and the USA, to push us further to the right politically than we have been since the 1930s, we Christians are comforted and inspired by the Good News and the Truth that “God in Christ was reconciling the world to Godself”. Our minds are naturally, soaked with news that turns out to be lies and facts that turn out to be falsehoods. One widely read British newspaper, regarded as an institution, has, so I've read, been banned from being quoted on Wikipedia because it has been found out so often to have made up stories for editorial purposes!! Let us use Lent and all our days following, to allow our minds to be soaked in scripture and in particular the Good News of Jesus Christ on which we can most certainly rely.  And let's share it, let's announce it with every fibre of our being!                                                                                                                                               With love, Peter



A quick reminder that the East Midlands Synod meeting is this Saturday 18 March 2017 at St Columba’s Church Lincoln. We have guest speakers Revd Kevin Watson Moderator of URC General Assembly and Yorkshire Synod Moderator; Mr Dan Morrell Youth Assembly Moderator and visitors from Botswana. Looking forward to seeing you there.



  • We are pleased to announce the upcoming Induction of Revd Elizabeth Thomson into the joint pastorate of Loughborough and Melton Mowbray with Freeby United Reformed Churches and as Pastoral Consultant for Leicestershire, the induction service is to be held at Loughborough United Reformed Church, 39 Frederick Street Loughborough LE11 3BH on Saturday 1st April 2017 At 2 p.m. Refreshments will be served after the service. If you would like to attend please reply by Friday 3rd March to either Daphne Beale dbeale06@aol.com 01509 261688 Or Marcia Coxhead marciacoxhead@yahoo.co.uk 01664 668158 Please indicate if you require disabled parking.
  • It is with sadness that we inform you of the death of Revd Cyril Lucraft, a retired minister living in Wessex, Cyril died on Wednesday 1st March. He had been living in Dorchester and had previously served at: Southchurch Park, Southend-on-Sea 57-63; Edwards Lane, Sherwood 63-66; Sherwood 66-72; Arnold 64-72; Hackney Area 72-81; Ponders End 75-78; Abney & Rectory Road 78-81; Christchurch Group 81-95. The funeral service will be on Friday 17th March at 11:30am at Weymouth Crematorium, Quibo Lane, Weymouth, followed by a Thanksgiving Service at 2pm at United Church Dorchester, 49/52 Charles Street, Dorchester, DT1 1EE. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Mary and their wider family.



BULWELL URC – Youth Weekend from 24 – 26 March 2017, for 9 – 16 Years, £25 per person (£10 deposit) Fun, games, food, laughter, sharing, learning and much more! To book visit: http://bulwellurc.churchapp.co.uk/events/k7k7q4f3  for more information contact Dave Dennis: dave@bulwellurc.org.uk  Tel: 07783 695857

EASTWOOD URC – A Tradecraft Sale is taking place at Eastwood URC, Alexandra Street, Eastwood, NG16 3BD on Saturday 8 April 10 am - 12 noon. Tea and coffee will be served as we do every Saturday also from 10 am - 12 noon. All Welcome.

THE DALES –A very Big Thank you, to everyone who came to the Dales Dementia Coffee morning.

It was a busy morning, from 10-30am -12 noon, we raised £800 and a further £100 from the sale of badges. This will be a help to the Admiral Nurses who help with dementia patients.




The Revd Peter Meek took post as Moderator of East Midlands Synod on 1st September 2011, and is thus in the sixth year of his initial seven-year tenure. In recent months a careful review process has been under way, to consider whether Peter should be asked to continue this ministry for a further five years, extending to August 2023.

The General Assembly’s Review Group was drawn from members of Southern, Wessex and Yorkshire Synods, chaired by Mrs Hilary Miles. The Group met on 7th March, first with the Synod’s own Review Panel and then with Peter. At the end of the day the Group made two important recommendations.

The Group recommended with conviction that Peter’s tenure should be extended to August 2023. The URC’s Mission Council, at its meeting in May, will consider this recommendation on behalf of General Assembly; only at that stage could it become a decision of the Church.

The Group noted that East Midlands is very large, in land area and number of congregations, and the Moderator’s job is somewhat unwieldy. It may now be time for the Synod to focus and prioritise its work in some fresh ways. The Group invites East Midlands Synod ...

  • to undertake a careful and purposeful review of its priorities
  • to re-draw its working structures in ways that reflect and promote these priorities
  • to use its Moderator’s gifts in ways that reflect these priorities
  • so far as possible, to ease the Moderator’s load of meetings and expand his time for people and churches

A longer letter to the Synod Clerk, which she may make available to the Synod or on its website, gives further detail of these recommendations.  (www.urc5.org.uk/SMReviewJPletter)

The Group was impressed by the careful thought that the Synod Panel had given to the working of the Synod, and to the Moderator’s role within this. It was equally impressed by the gifts, wisdom and commitment that Peter offers to his ministry and to the people among who he serves. It extends warmest good wishes to the Synod and its Moderator, in all the Christian service that is ahead.

John Proctor (General Secretary), 10th March 2017  


JOINT PUBLIC ISSUES TEAM – Fracking: A Briefing for our Churches

Part of our work involves exploring the issues around fracking, something which is of concern to many people in our churches and communities. We have produced a briefing for our members to help facilitate conversations and thinking about fracking.

The briefing argues that a policy that seeks to incentivise investment in fracking could divert attention from the need to accelerate investment in clean affordable alternatives to fossil fuels.  It would be feasible to satisfy the temporary increase in gas demand with imported gas.  This might be appropriate if it enables a better focus on securing investment for the necessary upgrade of infrastructure to support a transition away from fossil fuels.

The resource ends with questions for churches to consider and a list of resources, which we hope are both useful and thought-provoking.

To download please visit: http://www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/frackingbriefing


The General Assembly task group, which was set up following the 2016 General Assembly, has been asked to bring to General Assembly 2018 proposals for running the General Assembly from 2020 to 2030. To do this it needs to consult widely and is actively seeking opinions or insight from around the Church. In short, the task group wants to hear from you – and has devised a short online survey (which will not take more than ten minutes to complete) to help them more fully understand what the denomination wants from General Assembly.

The survey is now available – and will close at 12 noon on Friday 28 April. Please do participate – and encourage other members of your URC congregations to do the same. The direct link to the survey is here: http://bit.ly/gasurvey2017 Thank you!

Should you know anyone who would like to take part in this survey but does not use a computer, please download the pdf version of the survey, which can be posted to the General Secretary, again by 28 April.


BIGCHURCH DAY OUT                                                                                                                                                       

Tickets are still available for the United Reformed Church’s Big Day Out, part of the URC’s year of Feast and Festivals. This is an event for all ages run by the Youth and Children’s organisation, Pilots. The event takes place at Warwick Castle on Saturday 20th May 2017 and involves fellowship, worship and reflection. Activities will run from 10am -5pm in the historic and beautiful setting. A festival-like programme on the Pageant Field will celebrate many aspects of the URC’s life, with participants including the URC’s General Secretary, John Proctor; Neil Thoroughgood, Principal of Westminster College; Paul Northup, Creative Director of the Greenbelt Festival; Wayne Hawkins, Mission Secretary (Europe) for the Council for World Mission; and representatives from the Christian Aid Collective and Messy Church. Individuals and groups, with their church communities and wider family and friends, are all welcome to be part of what promises to be a day to remember.  For more information or to book email: feastandfestivals@urc.org.uk or call: 020 7976 8637 Booking forms should be returned no later than 31st March 2017. If anyone attending has a merlin pass, they will be able to attend free of charge but please let us know so that we have enough goodies for you!

CONSTANCE COLTMAN CENTENARY SERVICE - on Sunday 17 September, 3pm at the American International Church in London.  All are invited. Please let Francis Brienen know of women to invite especially who have played a pioneering role in our churches:  francis.brienen@urc.org.uk

SYNOD STUDY DAY – All are invited to our Study Day, led by Revd Dr David Cornick on the theme of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. On Saturday 15th July 2017 from 10am – 4pm (please bring a packed lunch) at Sherwood URC, Nottingham. Booking is essential, to book please contact Hannah B at the Synod Office: trainingpa@urc5.org.uk  Tel: 0115 9609241

YOU ARE INVITED TO CELEBRATE FREEDOM – On Sunday 11th June, East Midlands Synod are asking churches to dedicate the day to celebrating the Reformation. There are many ways you can do this, through services, tea parties, special events, shared lunches …. Be as creative as you like! Resource packs with ideas, games, service ideas and bible study have been sent out to all Churches and will be in synod bags on Saturday.  We would love to know your plans, so please do send details of what you are planning to: cydo@urc5.org.uk so that we can keep everyone posted on our website.


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!

  • 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.




There is a Youth Event for over 11’s running alongside the next Synod Meeting on Saturday 18th March 2017 at St. Columba’s, Lincoln. We are pleased to announce that Dan Morrell, the URC’s Youth Moderator, will be joining us and getting involved with our activities! To book please contact Hannah B at the Synod Office: trainingpa@urc5.org.uk


Scripture Union are putting on 'Inspire' - An evening of bite-size seminars to help resource and develop work with children and young people.

It should be a great evening on Monday 27th March from 7:30pm at The Church on Oakwood, 378 Bishops Drive, Oakwood, DE21 2DF.

Places are FREE but do need to be booked in advance through the link below.




Our next safeguarding training is taking place at St, Stephen’s, Leicester, on Monday 15th May at 12noon for lunch (please bring your own) with a 1pm start, aiming to finish at 4pm. All are welcome. To book please contact Hannah B at the Synod Office: trainingpa@urc5.org.uk  Tel: 0115 9609241


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: 27.03.2017