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 Welcome to Issue 102

30 September 2022
In this edition of the newsletter we have an introduction to Stepwise in the Northern Synod.  An important Safeguarding update is included from Matt Knowles, Synod Safeguarding Advisor.  A collection of anniversary stories are shared including, Ray Anglesea celebrating his 25th ordination anniversary and he also tells us about a special service he conducted at St Andrew and St George URC in Stockton to mark the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  St Margaret's URC in South Shields recently marked their 70th anniversary with an afternoon tea and tree planting celebration.  A reminder that it is the 50th anniversary of the URC service at Jesmond URC on 9 October, led by the Moderator of URC General Assembly, Revd Fiona Bennett.  A "snap" choir is to be formed on the day and all are welcome to join, further information is given in the newsletter of how to sign up.  Finally, we have details of some events coming up for young people over the next few months.

We are always looking for news of interest and events so, if you have any items that you would like to be included in the newsletter, please send them to or  Please remember that if you are including photographs, you need to gain the permission of the people in them for it to be shared.  If you have anything that you would like to be included, the next issue of the newsletter will be published on 14 October.  Until next time ...

Lisa and Wendy
Northern Synod News

Have you ever thought about exploring and enriching your personal faith?

Do you enjoy meeting with others in fellowship and friendship?

Would you like to discover more about where God might be leading you?

If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions – welcome to Stepwise!  You can find out more information about Stepwise from Lucy Cooke, the Northern Synod Learning and Development Officer, by clicking here.  You can visit the national URC website to learn more about Stepwise by clicking here.

You can also email Lucy to discuss Stepwise further.
Safeguarding Information from Matt Knowles, 
Synod Safeguarding Officer

Foundation Training –
Can I remind everybody in relation to Paper T5 which was passed at General Assembly in July 2021.  This paper provided guidance on different roles within synods and local churches and which level of safeguarding training was required for each role.  This guidance should have been implemented by July 2022.  The main group I would like to mention is all local church elders as trustees require at least the foundation level of safeguarding training.
So, for everyone at the local churches that require the foundation level of safeguarding training, this can now be accessed online via an e-learning a package.  All you need is a device and a connection to the internet.  This connection doesn’t need to be at home – you can do this training at someone else’s home, in a church, in a library, in a coffee shop or even on a bus!!!  Wherever and whenever suits you best.  The training doesn’t have to be done in one sitting – you can do it in bite sized chunks, when and where it suits you! At the end of the training there is a short quiz and then you are asked to enter you details. That’s it!!  You then send a message off to Church House via the press of a button and you will then receive your very own certificate and the records updated that you have completed your training.
Its really easy to do.
All you need to do is to select from one of the options below.  There are 3 to chose from – the first two are in relation to what sort of device you are using.  The third option is a narrated version where there is no need to read the training – you can just sit back and let someone read it to you.  All three work in the same way and have the same conclusion at the end.  So all you need to do is to select which option suits you best, move your cursor over the blue coloured link, press the CTRL button your keyboard (which is usually at the bottom left) and press the button on your mouse.  That is it.  Just complete the training in your own time and wherever you want.  All I would suggest that if you are using the narrated option and you are in a public place you may want to use some earphones!!

So here are the links –
Foundation Course for a Laptop or Desktop Computer Safeguarding Foundation E-Course (

Foundation Course for a phone or tablet Safeguarding Foundation E-Course for phone and tablet (

Narrated version of the Foundation Course with a voice over each slide Safeguarding Foundation E-Course narrated version (

Please note – if there are any issues in relation to the above or you have any questions, then this particular area of safeguarding training is being overseen by Paula Kitson, the synod safeguarding support officer.  Paula can be contacted on her email if you have any concerns or queries relating to the e-learning package.

At synod we are mindful that this option, as good as it is, is not suitable for everyone.  Therefore there will be a Foundation Course provided on Zoom led by Matt Knowles on Thursday 10th November 2022, between 10am and 12.00pm.  To book a place on this course please contact Paula on the above email.
Intermediate Training
For those that require it, intermediate training will continue on Zoom led by Matt Knowles.  There are several courses now been made available – again please contact Paula to book a place.
The dates available are –
Tuesday 25th October 2022 – 10am to 12.30pm
Wednesday 2nd November 2022 – 1pm to 3.30pm
Monday 5th December 2022 – 10am to 12.30pm
Calling All Messy Church Workers! 
Monday 21st November 7 - 8.30 pm

The Five Northerly Synods have arranged another messy zoom gathering. We have listened to your suggestions and understand that the times in between special celebrations can be a challenge.

Fear not, we offer you this event in November, along with plenty of time to chat and share with volunteers just like you.

This offers a great chance to gather, listen, share, and support each other. A warm welcome awaits you all.
For further information please email Hannah Middleton, Northern Synod Children’s Work Advisor.
Christmas Resource Pack for Churches

Click here to find out more about the Christmas Resource Pack, Sprinkles and Sparkles.  You can email Hannah Middleton, Northern Synod Children’s Work Advisor to request the resources.
Activities for Young People

A Growing Young Leaders Course is starting in October for year 10 and above.  Please click here to find out more.

First Steps Tours - Getting started in connecting with children, young people & families.
We are planning 4 events around the Synod to support you with practical ideas about how to take the ‘First Steps’ in working with children, young people & families. Click
here to find out more.  Full of practical ideas to inspire you and help you to gain confidence as we move forward after the pandemic.  The evenings will begin with puddings from 6.30pm and run from 7-9pm
· Billingham URC: date to be confirmed.
· Longframlington URC: Tuesday 18 October
· Chester-le-street URC: Thursday 3 November:
· High Heaton URC: Saturday 5 November

Breakthrough is a fantastic holiday organized by reNEw NE for all those in years 9 and above, from Friday 30 December 2022 - Monday 2 January 2023.  We are based at the York Diocesan Centre at Wydale Hall near Scarborough with great facilities and beautiful grounds, fantastic food and the chance to celebrate and start the New Year with friends and with God. 
The cost is £150 not including travel which is organized at an extra cost.  Please note that the Synod will give a £50 grant to anyone connected with a URC congregation who wants to attend and the policy of reNEw NE is to ask people only to pay what they can – just ask for details.  For further details and to book click
Breakthrough! 4 days, 3 nights, 2 years & 1 Awesome God.
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
News of Churches around the Synod
St Columba's URC, North Shields Bible Exploration - Ephesians

Saint Columba's URC, North Shields, are running an eight-week discussion series on Ephesians, both on Zoom (Mondays) and in-person (Thursdays), and would love anyone from other churches who would like to take part to come along. It starts on 12th/15th September.  The zoom session on Monday 19th September will however, be cancelled.  You can find more details and how to take part by clicking here.
St Andrew and St George URC, Stockton

On 18 September a service of quiet reflection, prayers and music was held following the death of HM The Queen led by Revd Ray Anglesea.

The service included an assortment of hymns, prayers and reflections.  The hymns included The King of love my Shepherd is, O love that wilt not let me go, Make me a channel of your peace and How shall I sing that Majesty followed by The National Anthem.  The readings were taken from  Psalm 90, 1 Corinthians 15 v50-58, John 20 1, 11-18.  Also the poem: Floral Tribute by Simon Armitage, Poet Laureate was read.  Music included God be in my head: John Rutter and the Cambridge Singers, ‘Going to Sleep,’ Four last songs, Richard Strauss, sung by Jessye Norman and ‘Benedictus.’ The Armed Man, Karl Jenkins.
St Margaret's URC, South Shields

St Margaret’s URC celebrated its 70th anniversary over the weekend of 24 & 25 September, starting with an Afternoon Tea attended by over 50 folk. The high level of noise reflected the joy of us all coming together again, from far and wide. There was much fun looking at photo montages from the past 70 years, marvelling at our youthful images, hair styles etc, remembering old friends and great occasions.

Our Sunday morning service was conducted by one of our previous ministers, Revd Nick Percival, with a reflection from our Moderator, Revd Dave Herbert on the URC’s 50 years (out of 53 folk we counted 8 ministers). Our platinum anniversary tree was duly planted, assisted by our youngest member, Sean, with Mayoress Jean Copp, Nick, Dave and Penny, our Church Secretary. Our lovely anniversary cake was enjoyed by all as we reminisced together.
A Michaelmas Silver Ordination      

Revd Ray Anglesea has recently celebrated his silver jubilee of his ordination.  Ray was ordained a self-supporting minister (SSM) 25 years ago on the 24th September 1997 by the then URC Northern Synod Moderator, the Revd David Jenkins in Waddington Street URC, Durham.

The Revd John Durell preached the sermon. Ray completed two, three-year contracts with the Durham church.

As former Secretary of the URC Northern Province Listed Buildings Advisory Committee, Ray has continued to support and help local churches seize the initiative to restore and adapt their listed church buildings to accommodate changing patterns of liturgical and community needs. Ray was also for many years the Synod’s representative on the Northumbrian Industrial Mission Management Committee.  In 2007 Ray and the Planning Aid North Team won the prestigious Royal Town Planning Institute’s North East Award for services to Planning Education.

Ray is thankful and grateful for a most remarkable and extraordinary journey spent in two careers. It has been a joy and privilege to work with, minister to and walk alongside many amazing and wonderful people in the planning/regeneration and church worlds.

Ray’s adventure of joyful discipleship and service is set to continue, albeit on a more limited scale, shared with the gift of his beautiful wife, Ki.  A celebration anniversary dinner was held at White Church Restaurant, Durham to mark the anniversary to which Ray’s long-standing support group friends were invited.
Denewell Avenue URC, The Prudhoe Gleeman Male Voice Choir Concert - Saturday, 22 October 3 pm.

Click here for further details

The concert is to raise funds for the church and tickets cost £7 and include light refreshments and are available from Alison Williams - 07960994172 or email by clicking here
Jesmond URC, Organ Meditations, Fridays at 1 pm

Jesmond URC are holding a series of Organ Meditations on Fridays at 1pm starting on Friday 30th September.  Further details can be found by clicking here
Jesmond URC, 50th Anniversary Celebration Service
Let's join our voices together, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the URC together.  Come one hour early at 2 pm to form a "snap" choir to sing for our 50th service.  Please let Dr Alison Shiel know in advance of your interest.  Click here to send Alison an email and please indicate if you will need childcare.
 National URC News
Daily Devotions from the URC, from Andy Braunston, Minister for Digital Worship

Dear Friends

for the last two years we've been very fortunate to have pieces of organ music to start and end our Daily Devotion services which have been played by Brian Cotterill from Farnham.  It would be good to be able to add to the lovely collection of pieces that Brian has prepared for us and I wonder if any of you are musicians who are able to make good quality recordings of:
  • pieces of music of between 90 and 120 seconds
  • on a piano, organ, flute or other instrument
  • with a range of styles and feelings - we'd like to start these in Advent so pieces of Advent and then Christmas music would be great.
  • where you waive your rights for a royalty fee

If you're able to help please drop me an email and we can discuss further.

with every good wish
Church & Society
Synod Update Autumn 2022

Church & Society helps the URC to engage with the most pressing issues facing society.  Please click here to read the Autumn update.

Real Living Wage rates increased

The new Real Living Wage rates were announced on Thursday 22nd September 2022.  Employers should implement the rise as soon as possible but by the latest 14th May 2023.  Click here for further information.

Gift Aid

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced that the basic rate of income tax will be reduced from 20% to 19% from April 2023 and that charities and CASCs will receive transitional relief for Gift Aid and the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) from 6 April 2023 to 5 April 2027. This means that, in practice, charities and CASCs will continue to claim Gift Aid and GASDS at 25p for every £1 of eligible donation made between 6 April 2023 and 5 April 2027. The Government will legislate for transitional relief for Gift Aid and GASDS at a future Finance Bill. 

 News from other places
Darlington Methodist District

Darlington Methodist District warmly invite you to their Worship Academy Seminar ‘Telephone Church’ on Zoom at 7.30 pm on Tuesday, 18th October
This seminar will be Exploring Worship and Mission through the development of Telephone Church with Mark Bagnall.
To receive more details please email by clicking here.

Please book via Eventbrite by clicking here

Northumbrian Industrial Mission

Please click here to read the September briefing from the NIM.

Connected Voice, the voluntary sector support organisation for Newcastle and Gateshead, has compiled a list of resources to help with the cost of living.

Click here to find further information.
National URC vacancies
Church House in London are currently recruiting for a Chief Operating Officer and a Repairs and Maintenance Surveyor. 

Please click
here for more details.

Faith in Our Community - Project Development Lead
The Faith in Our Community (FIC) Project was established in 2006 by the Diocese of Durham in partnership with the Church Urban Fund [CUF], Darlington and Newcastle Methodist Districts and Northern Synod of URC and secular regional organisations.  The FIC are wishing to recruit a Project Development Lead.  The main aim of the FIC Project is to enact appropriate faith motivated responses to social and economic disadvantage in neighbourhood and communities across North East England.  Click here for more details from the website.

For an informal discussion or to receive the job description, person specification and application details, please contact Sheila Bamber.
Closing date: Friday 14 October 2022, 5pm
Interviews will be held on Wednesday 26 October 2022
Click here for the Latest URC News
URC 50th Anniversary
Click here for URC 50th Anniversary News
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