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 Welcome to Issue 97

22 July 2022
Since the last newsletter we have had record breaking temperatures and a heatwave across the UK.  We hope you managed to stay cool during the past few days.  Thankfully a fresh breeze is now with us and we hope you are feeling more comfortable, as temperatures return to the more usual levels for July.

In this edition of the newsletter we have a reflection from Revd Peter Rand about his visit to General Assembly at the beginning of July, where one of the discussions centred on Local Ecumenical Partnerships, a topic close to his heart.  There is an article by Susan Rand about the Ministerial Disciplinary and Incapacity Procedures resolutions.  We have also included a URC summary of the main topics discussed at the event.

Revd Ray Anglesea has written an interesting article on the history of the hymn Amazing Grace.

We have our usual round up of News from other places as well as the Churches in our Synod and the National URC.  The law on Safeguarding has been revised and extended to cover places of worship and further details about that can be found in the newsletter.  A Commissioning Service for Fliss Barker as a Church Related Community Minister is taking place tomorrow, Saturday 23rd July at 2 pm, at Wooler URC.  The service is to be livestreamed and the link is included in the newsletter.

If you are a church which employs staff or needs help with regulatory or legal matters, there are some details of URC resources and a firm of legal advisors.  You may need help, for example, with an employment matter, although please bear in mind, any legal costs incurred would be the responsibility of the individual church concerned.

Finally, there are full details of two training days.  Keld Resource Centre are holding a study day in August and Northern Synod Ministries and Development Committee are holding a one day training event for our Synod Worship Teams in September.

We are always looking for news of interest and your 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 Friday 5 August.  Until next time ...

Lisa and Wendy
News from General Assembly 2022
Re-invigorating the Ecumenical Vision
Working Better with Other Church Traditions

It’s in our URC DNA! It’s what we were born for! The URC was meant to be the beginning of a great movement towards what Jesus prayed for “that they may be one . .” (John 17.11)
Sadly it hasn’t worked like that – as congregation numbers have shrunk, denominations have looked inwards.
But there is hope! The number of Local Ecumenical Partnerships (LEPs) is growing, even as church numbers are dropping. Just under one third of our churches today are LEPs, compared to just a quarter 10 years ago. Of the 28,000 URC church members, 8,000 are in LEPs.
We heard and saw on video the story of a new LEP in Salford, formed when a Methodist church with a good congregation and some community work, but a crumbling old building joined a URC with a modern building without much going on. Now the church is truly thriving, with a community garden supported by the RHS, a food bank and a community café.
Not all is sweetness and light, however. We heard stories of heartache – a minister whose call to an LEP had been rejected by a partner denomination, church officials who see LEPs not as a blessing but as an inconvenience, of church people refusing to engage with the distinctive things of our URC culture. Belonging to LEPs is not always rewarding.
The hope for re-invigoration comes from some new (well, new-ish) tools for working together. An Ecumenical Toolkit, developed by Churches Together in England. A way of ‘lightening up’ and looking at just ‘the things we want to do together’ and finding good ways to do them without a complicated constitution.
The passing of the Resolution at Assembly means that we can look forward to more resources to help us use these tools and hold our URC heads up higher among our partner churches.
Those of us who work in South East Northumberland are just about to get these tools out of the shed and start using them. Watch this space!
Revd Peter Rand

Susan Rand has written a summary of the Ministerial Disciplinary and Incapacity Procedures resolutions which you can read by clicking here.

The URC has produced a 6-page summary of the proceedings at General Assembly - to read it please click here
Amazing Grace - How Sweet the Sound, 250th Anniversary
Revd Ray Anglesea has written about the history of this beloved hymn and details of the making of a special quilt to celebrate the 250th anniversary of this hymn which you can read about by clicking here
­­New Elders Safeguarding Resource

There is now a Safeguarding for Elders package which is being launched by Carrie Kaunda (Safeguarding Training and Development Co-ordinator for the denomination.)
The webinar lasts between 60 and 90 minutes so please allow 90 minutes, which gives time for questions at the end.
Book your place by contacting Carrie directly via her email address -
Next session: Monday 5th September 2022 at 7 pm
Safeguarding Legislation

The government is extending the law that prevents adults from engaging in sexual relationships with 16 or 17-year-olds, to include adults who work in religious settings.

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 has been amended.  Please click
here for further details from the URC National website.
Northern Synod News
Signposting for support & information for local churches

Information to support churches with church finance, employment, record keeping and GDPR matters can be found on the URC National website by clicking here.

For any legal matters, Sintons LLP, based in Newcastle, are able to offer support and advice to local churches and have a wealth of experience in dealing with faith based institutions, including the URC.  More information can be found here.  Particular areas of specialist advice and guidance can be found by clicking here.

** Please note that any legal costs incurred will be payable by the individual church concerned and not the Synod**
Code of Practice on recording and posting of services
A reminder to all churches that visiting preachers and all those taking part in a service need to give permission before it is recorded and posted online.
The URC has produced some useful booklets including one on copyright:  Please click here

The United Reformed Church gives a very basic introduction to the GDPR on the national website: (please click here) and refers readers to the Information Commissioner’s Office for detailed guidance.

Other useful support guides can be accessed here
Training Opportunity for Worship Teams
From Ministries and Development Committee, Northern Synod
This will be held on Saturday 3rd September 2022 10.00 AM - 3.00 PM at St James’ URC, Northumberland Road, Newcastle, NE1 8JF

Further details can be found by clicking here.  Applications to Dr Ann Sinclair:  via email by clicking
Mobile: 07932 732 531 or via Synod Office
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
‘Seeking the Ancient Paths’     Keld Resource Centre Study Day

The next study day being held at the Keld Resource Centre will be on
Saturday, 6 August.

The theme is: ‘Seeking the Ancient Paths: Old Testament Spirituality for Today’ and the study day will be led by Revd David Wood.
The programme for the day is:
!0-30 – 11.00 : Arrivals and refreshments
11.00 - 12.30 : Session One : The Good Life
12.30 - 13.30 : Lunch
13.30 - 15.00 : Session Two : All Change
15.00 - 15.30 : Refreshments and departure.
You are invited to bring a Bible and a picnic.  Drinks will be provided  The cost of the day is £10. We would love to see you!
If you are interested in attending, please contact David Wood by clicking here 
Wooler URC, Commissioning Service, Saturday 23rd July at 2 pm

If you are planning to attend, the postcode for Wooler URC is NE71 6LP, or you can watch the service live online by clicking here

Jesmond URC, 50th Anniversary Celebration Service
Sunday, 9th October at 3 pm.  


A Celebration Service for the 50th Anniversary of the URC is being held at Jesmond URC, Burdon Terrace, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 3AE on Sunday 9th October at 3 pm.  The Preacher will be Revd Fiona Bennett, Moderator of the URC General Assembly.  All are welcome.  The Retiring Collection will be for the Presbyterian Church of Mozambique.  Refreshments will be served after the service.
 National URC News
Weaving the Tapestry
an invitation to contribute to 50th Anniversary Publication

Revd George Kalu and Karen Campbell look forward to receiving stories, prayers, poems, songs, pictures - anything which speaks of the contributions of Black and Ethnic Minority people over the past 50 years.
We are requesting submissions by 1st August 2022 to give us time to have the resource available for our Celebration Service at the beginning of October.  You can find further information by clicking
Karen Campbell
Secretary for Global & Intercultural Ministries (Mission)

Help reflect the URC’s diversity through photos

The URC is requesting photographs (with permission of course) reflecting the Church’s diversity, and has also published a leaflet aimed at encouraging us to think on these issues in our own communications.

You can find further information and the leaflet from the national URC website by clicking

 News from other places
Darlington Methodist District – ‘Worship Academy’
Following the cancellation of The District Worship Academy Day event in June, an on-line conversation based upon the talk that had been provided by the Revd David Woods has now been arranged instead.
A warm invitation is extended to join one of these sessions. 
‘Re-forming our Church after Lockdown with insights from Josiah’
To be held twice on Zoom:
09th August – 7:30pm
03rd October – 7:30pm
Please book at the Eventbrite link by clicking here
White Ribbon Sunday – 20 November 2022
Viv Frost, Chaplain to Northumbria Police (Northern) extends an invitation to the White Ribbon Sunday Service on 20th November 2022 at 4.30 pm in Hexham Abbey (remembering victims of domestic violence).
This is intended to be a service for those of all faiths and no faith.
There will be a reception in the Great Hall from 4.30 pm followed by a reflective candlelit evensong at 6.30 pm.
The reception will focus on the work of Northumberland Domestic Abuse Services, NDAS and their recent collaboration with Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioners Domestic Abuse Champions Network, highlighting the need for more support in rural areas.
Introducing the ‘Newbigin Pioneering Hub’

The Newbigin Pioneering Hub is a collaboration between the United Reformed Church, the Congregational Federation, Church Mission Society and the Seedbeds organisation and named in honour of the inspirational URC Minister and mission theologian Lesslie Newbigin.

This new venture is open to all and is part of celebrating the past 50 years of the United Reformed Church and Congregational Federation.
The Hub is the space for training lay pioneers through the certificate and also for supporting those engaged in pioneering work. The desire is that this will bring people together to support one another- sharing experience and expertise in the Hub as well as offering support to those engaged in training.  Please contact for more information.

Further information and details of how to apply can be found here.
Come to church at Greenbelt - Sunday 28 August

The URC turns 50 this year and we’re having a special service at Greenbelt to celebrate! Come to church at Greenbelt on Sunday 28 August, which will begin with one of the largest and most memorable communion services you’ve ever been part of, listen to superb music from Guvna B and Martyn Joseph, and join us for a special 50th birthday party that reflects the rich diversity of the URC.

Worship, discussion, music, bedtime stories and superb crafts on our theme of ‘Revolting Christians’ combine with great coffee and tea, delicious treats and affordable meals. All this plus the adventurous and epic Greenbelt programme means that this will be an unforgettable time for everyone who comes. For more information, head over to our URC@Greenbelt page by clicking
HeartEdge - 27 - 28 September, Manchester

The HeartEdge Conference is a practical, two-day intensive conference of ideas, theology and connecting. It includes workshops on enterprise and commerce, launching cultural projects, developing congregations and sustaining community response, plus time to make connections and find encouragements. This two-day intensive conference will pack in lots and prioritise practical input and resources.
Click here for more information.  For further details of the 2 day programme click here
Click here for the Latest URC News
URC 50th Anniversary
Click here for URC 50th Anniversary News
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