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 Welcome to Issue 91

1 April 2022
We continue to be shocked and saddened by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The support for Ukraine and the people affected by the crisis grows daily and unsurprisingly there are a number of items this week regarding the situation.

Take part in an act of witness from the Christian community in the UK and Ireland this Sunday as we pray for Ukraine. Kevin Watson's thoughtful reflection echoes the thoughts of many at this time and do support a lent lunch for Ukraine if you can. 

On a happier note, we send our congratulations to Roker URC and Fliss Barker and invite everyone to join us for a fun day at Beamish and a special anniversary service to celebrate the URC's 50th Anniversary.

For those looking for creative activities don't miss the deadline for submitting your entry to the anniversary worship resource competition or maybe make a heart to send to your MP. Find out what happened to all those wonderful pom-poms that were made before and during the lockdown and read the final COVID prayer from the URC at the end of two long years.

The Moderator encourages us all to engage with the Legacies of Slavery consultation and church leaders are invited to contribute to research on children's ministry.

Last but not least welcome to Bonnie, our latest Synod team member.

Have a great week everyone!

Andrew, Maureen, Wendy
Reflection from Revd Kevin Watson,

Retired URC Minister
Is it Praying for Ukraine or Praying With Them?
Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I am in a mess with prayer. Am I praying? It certainly feels like praying, but there are no words. When words come, they are likely to be expletives, or just nonsense. This strangely reminds me of something that happened to my dad when he was about my age now. Alf was as uneducated as I am over-educated, he left school at 14 for a life down the pit as a miner. He taught himself many crafts and skills with his hands and would have a go at anything practical and heavy-labour work.
But when it came to reading, seeing my schoolbooks, he once admitted it would take him a lifetime to get to the end of a chapter. Yet something did happen when he was in his 60s - he received the gift of speaking in tongues.
Read more.
United In Prayer for Ukraine
3 April

Join with other Christians across the country to pray for Ukraine. Use a  prayer for Ukraine from Christian Aid in your service and organise an act of witness with other churches at 2 pm. Light a candle at 2 pm or join one of the acts of witness in major towns organised by Christian Aid. Find out more here and follow Christian Aid on Facebook for the latest news.

Watch Karen Campbell URC Secretary for Global and Intercultural Ministries, read a prayer written with Archpriest Stephen Platt of the Russian Orthodox Church for United in Prayer.
Christian Aid, along with CTBI and CTE is hosting a prayer outside the Ukrainian Embassy on Sunday 3 April at 2pm. Watch live throughout the afternoon on Christian Aid's Facebook page.
Free Posters and Reform Magazine

Because of the conflict in Ukraine, the content of April's Reform magazine focuses on the war. Designer Chris Andrews has created an A2 poster based on his cover for the magazine and free A2 versions are available to order here along with free copies of the Reform magazine or download the poster here.
British - Ukrainian Aid

Raise donations for British-Ukranian Aid every time you shop through easyfundraising who will match all donations raised by supporters for 6 months.  Shoppers using the easyfundraising website or app can raise donations for British-Ukrainian Aid simply by doing their normal shopping with thousands of online retailers. Sign up here.

Yarn Wrap Peace Doves

Sun Hats and Wellie Boots show you how to make yarn-wrapped peace doves to pray for the people of Ukraine and then hang them in trees around your neighbourhood. 
Charity Commission Statement  and Guidance on Ukraine Crisis and Its Implication for Charities

The Charity Commission has issued a statement on the crisis in Ukraine and its implications for charities. Read more. Guidance can be found here.

Click Here for URC Information and Updates on the Crisis in Ukraine
  Fun for Younger Members
Easter Prayer Stations
Make your own prayer stations for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday
Northern Synod Children's Work Advisor, Hannah Middleton, and Pioneer Workers Angela Feather and Esther Bailey have produced a range of activities, Bible readings, prayers, and crafts to help you make your own prayer stations for these significant days in Holy Week.
swiss plant
URC Families on Faith Adventures @ Home
Stories, games, challenges, crafts, and prayers to share as a family.
This week: Something to Think About
 Children, Youth and Families Ministry
Any Questions?
21 April 

Book to join this free URC event here.
Tell the Easter Story Using One Sheet of Paper
Using a single sheet of paper, Bible Reading Fellowship shares this innovative paper-cutting approach to explain the key moments of the Easter story in different ways to suit different ages. Find out more and download resources here.

Children and Families Ministry Report and Survey
Nurturing Young Faith published a multi-national report last autumn, Do We Need a New Plan for Children's Ministry? which showed that many churches do not have a plan or strategy in place to reach out to young people and families. Read the summary report here. They are now starting the second phase of the research and are asking church leaders to complete a survey irrespective of the number of children and families currently engaged with the church.
12 May

The European Conference on Christian Education invites you to join us in an online evening conference, a taster event to the full face-to-face conference in Hungary 2023. This gathering, with the theme of Thankfulness, is for all those involved in children's ministry and Christian education in Europe in any way. Read more and register here.
 Northern Synod Events
 URC 50th Anniversary Celebrations


As part of the URC 50th Anniversary celebrations, we warmly invite you to book the dates for two great events.

On Saturday 2 July there will be a family day of fun at Beamish Museum.

On Sunday 9 October at 3pm, an anniversary service will be held at Jesmond URC, Newcastle. The preacher will be The Moderator of General Assembly, Revd Fiona Bennett.
Look out for more information coming soon.
See you there!
Morning Prayers    

Everyone is invited to join the Northern Synod morning prayers. Join at 9 am for 15-20 minutes, Monday to Friday, through Zoom or by phone.
More details and joining instructions here.

person sitting while reading book
Northern Synod 2022 Prayer Diary Available Here
Meet the Team
We are delighted to introduce the newest member of the team - Bonnie. Bonnie, a very friendly golden retriever, has joined the Synod team as a befriending dog. Already volunteering with WAG, a local older people befriending charity, and a regular donor to the Pet Blood Bank, she is looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible and would love to come on pastoral visits or attend any services or events. Her favourite activities are long beach walks, playing with her furry friends, and finding lots of dirty puddles to roll in followed by a long snooze.

Please email Bonnie if you would like to invite her to an event.
Local Church News
Roker URC Finalists in Community Projects Award
We are delighted to learn that Roker URC has been shortlisted for a URC/Congregational Insurance 2022 Community Project Award with a possible prize of £2,000. They will shortly be visited by judges to see the project in action and speak to staff, volunteers, and service users. Go Roker!!
Lent Lunch for Ukraine
5 April @ 12 noon

Come along to a lent lunch at Robert Stewart Memorial URC, 89 Wingrove Road, Fenham, Newcastle NE4 9BU. Enjoy good food, good company, and live music from multi-talented local street band Meze Mundo. All donations will go towards supporting vital supplies for Ukraine refugees.
New CRCW at Wooler URC
At the recent Synod meeting, the appointment of Fliss Barker as Church Related Community Worker at Wooler URC was ratified. Fliss will start in September. Her support group along with the Moderator were thrilled to be able to help her celebrate her appointment recently. Congratulations Fliss! 
URC News
Click here for the Latest URC News
URC Holiday Forum
URC Holiday Forum in a Day
30 April

Join this online fun-packed day with a virtual labyrinth walk and farm visit, a game of countdown and a pub quiz, an introduction to the 2022 Forum theme, worship, communion, and lots of chat and fellowship! Visit the website to find out more. Follow on Facebook.

URC 50th Anniversary
Worship Resources Competition

Ever fancied writing a rap, a hymn, a song, a poem?
Get your creative juices going and enter our anniversary worship resources competition which is open to all ages. Find out more here but you’ll need to hurry as the closing date is 8 April.
Click here for URC 50th Anniversary News
Has your church got anything planned to celebrate this special anniversary? Do let us know, we would love to be able to share your events and activities.
Faith. Hope. Love.
Pom-pom update from Hannah Middleton.
These pom-poms have been created by friends across our Synod, from South Shields to Northumberland including Newcastle.
The image depicts the darkest of times, of uncertainty when Covid first entered our vocabulary and forced us all to pause and wait, as we in part entered a void. Leaving behind those traditions and routines that shaped and formed part of our lives including our church life. Read more.
URC Safeguarding Training
Various dates April / May 
Book now for online safeguarding training facilitated by the Northern Synod Safeguarding Advisor, Matt Knowles. Visit our website for dates in April and May for foundation and intermediate-level sessions via Zoom and to book a place.

Government Guidance on Reporting Safeguarding Concerns
in a Charity

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has published guidance that sets out information for organisations that deliver charitable activities on how to safeguard people from harm or abuse.
Green Matters
Climate Refugees
Climate Refugees state that more than 30 million people were displaced by climate change-related events in 2020. The latest IPCC report projects drought will displace up to 700 million people in Africa. Read more.
brown rocks on brown soil
Hearts on Our Sleeves
Hearts on Our Sleeves invite you to help raise the issues about environmental damage and its impact on women and girls. In April they are focusing on plastics and invite you to send a green and purple heart with a template letter to your MP. Read more, find help crocheting a heart and follow on Facebook.
Legacies of (Transatlantic) Slavery
Our Moderator, Dave Herbert encourages us all to participate in the URC
Legacies of Slavery consultation: 

'We are circulating three papers by way of consultation following the presentation at the recent Synod Meeting from Karen Campbell, our denomination’s Secretary for Global and Intercultural Ministries.

They were initially circulated to Synod representatives, but now we are inviting all churches to share in this national consultation through Elders’ Meetings and if the opportunity arises between now and June through Church Meetings too.Read more

URC Legacies of (Transatlantic) Slavery consultation resources: Consultation document; Consultation videoJourney FAQs; Questions for consideration

Take Action - Make a Difference
The Nationality and Borders Bill
The Nationality and Borders Bill continues through Parliament as amendments are passed between both Houses. Ahead of its next consideration in the Lords on 4th April, read an update from the Joint Public Issues Team and contact your MP - there is still time to make your views known.

Courses, Training, Conferences and Webinars
Keld Resource Centre Study Days
7 July, 6 August, 1 September
Keld Resource Centre is offering a new series of three study days. Come to one or all! Further details here.
See Keld's full programme of events here.
Luther King Centre Online Open Event
4 May

Join this free online event to find out what the learning community at Luther King Centre can offer you. Meet with students and tutors and explore options for study including part-time, full-time, on-site, and online. For more details and to register click here.
Rural Ministry Course
14 - 16 June


The Arthur Rank Centre's popular Rural Ministry Course takes place from 14–16 June in Northampton. It is designed for lay and ordained church leaders entering a rural appointment for the first time, or for those already in rural ministry who want a refresher. Read more.

gray and white sheep on green field
Books, Resources and Newsletters
Guide to Inclusive Language

The Methodist Church has recently produced a  really helpful guide to the use of inclusive language.
Read here.
URC Prayers During the Pandemic
The second anniversary of the COVID lockdown was on 23 March. How could we forget?
Throughout the pandemic, the URC has provided prayers for worship and individuals and on the second anniversary, a hopefully final prayer has been published.

man in blue crew neck t-shirt covering his face with his hand
All the prayers have been collated into a booklet, available now to download.
URC Church Welcome Poster
Download a free welcome poster and use it to invite people into your church.
Life on the Breadline Report

Read the report for Church leaders in the UK on Life on the Breadline research looking at how churches respond to poverty in their communities.
Find out more about the research project.
URC Pulpit Supply for May

Sunday services for May are now available from the URC Daily Devotions Team here.
URC Easter Resources

Visit the URC shop for a wide range of Easter resources including service sheets, books, cards, gifts, and more!

Sundays with CWM - Devotional Book
The latest Sundays with CWM Devotional Book 2022, quarter 2 is now available to download.

If you are interested in contributing to future editions, email CWM.

Northumbrian Industrial Mission Briefing

The recent briefing on the current work of the Northumbrian Industrial Mission is available here.
Praying Together in Multi-Faith Contexts

Download a paper from Churches Together in Britain and Ireland that explores some of the theological challenges for Christians praying or sharing silences with people of other faiths and offers some guidelines. 

silhouette of kneeling man

person holding brown leather bifold wallet
The Spring Statement

Read an analysis by the Joint Public Issues Team on the recent Spring Statement from the Chancellor which states the Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimates that during the next year, 600,000 people will be pulled into poverty.
News Nuggets
Dying Matters Awareness Week
2 - 6 May

The theme for this year's Dying Matters Awareness Week is 'In a Good Place'.
Download a resource pack to help plan your events.

Cappella Newcastle Concert
2 April

Jesmond URC is hosting Capella Newcastle's Spring concert. Read more and buy tickets here.
Vacancies and Volunteeering
The URC Wessex Synod is seeking an Outreach Worker to be based at Collinwood Road URC, Oxford. Details here.
Refugees at Home are seeking Volunteer Home Visitors with a professional background to make home assessments. Read more.
e-Newsletter Events Calendar
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