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 Welcome to Issue 101

16 September 2022
Since the last newsletter, we have witnessed the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  We now have a new King, King Charles III and the appointment of a new Prime Minister, Liz Truss and her new Cabinet.  Such huge changes in the life of our nation and all within the space of a week.

Many URC churches have opened for times of prayer and reflection over the past week and will continue to do so as we approach the state funeral on Monday 19 September, after which the national period of mourning will end.

As Princess Elizabeth of York, and then later as Queen Elizabeth II, she represented a permanent, stable backdrop to our lives during some very difficult times in our nations' history.  She was an example of quiet, consistent service that was borne out of her deeply held faith in Jesus Christ.  In her own words, the Queen said, “Each day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.” *
  In Hebrews 13: 8 we read "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."  At a time when there is so much change, we have an anchor in Christ, who is a constant in all the changing circumstances in life.

In our prayers, we remember those who are charged with major new responsibilities, give thanks for all our late Queen achieved throughout her long and unsurpassed reign, as well as for her successor to the throne, King Charles III.  We also pray for Liz Truss and her new Cabinet as they face the many challenges they must deal with.  As we read in Timothy 2: 1 - 2, "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity."

The national URC website has some reflections on the life of Her Majesty the Queen which you may like to read by clicking here.

In this edition of the newsletter we have an introduction to Stepwise in the Northern Synod as well as the usual round up of news from our churches and further afield.  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
wendy.watson@urc-northernsynod.org or newsletter@urc-northernsynod.org.  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 30 September.  Until next time ...

Lisa and Wendy


*  source: The Servant Queen, 2016.
Our next Northern Synod Moderator
As Dave Herbert, our Moderator, is retiring next year, the process to call Dave’s successor, has begun. You can find information about the Synod profile and role description by clicking here.  Please pray for this calling, and our future moderator; that they would be led and inspired by the Holy Spirit to work among us.
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.
Churches' Legislation Advisory Service Update

Following the announcement of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a period of National Mourning has started.  This will continue until the end of the day of the State Funeral.
 
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has published guidance for faith and belief groups and those who manage places of worship, who may wish to play an active role during this period.  The publication suggests some ways for such groups to play an active role, in line with the wider process of National Mourning, ahead of the State Funeral itself. This document is not intended to be prescriptive or a rulebook.  The guidance covers the following: Prayer and worship; Areas of mourning and floral displays; Books of condolence; Religious, community and civic buildings; Other issues to consider; and Co-ordination with others.


[Source: DLUHC, 9 September]
 
 Energy Bills Support
 
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published guidance on the energy bills support package that was announced by the Prime Minister. 
For consumers, the Energy Price Guarantee will “ensure that a typical household in Great Britain pays an average £2,500 a year on their energy bill, for the next 2 years, from 1 October 2022.”

A new six-month scheme for businesses and other non-domestic energy users (including charities and public sector organisations like schools) will be offered support as is being provided for consumers.

After this initial six-month scheme, the Government will provide ongoing focused support for vulnerable industries. There will be a review in three months’ time to consider where this should be targeted to make sure those most in need get support.

[Source: BEIS, 9 September]


Energy Cost Survey – Historic Religious Buildings Alliance (HRBA)
Churches may wish to take part in the following Energy Cost Survey.
Trevor Cooper, Chair, and Becky Payne, Development Director, of the Historic Religious Buildings Alliance (HRBA) are seeking hard evidence about the likely extra energy costs that will be incurred by historic churches and other places of worship this winter for its parent organisation, the Heritage Alliance, to present to Government, as follows:
“ENERGY COSTS THIS WINTER

1. We would like to know your energy costs last winter and your best estimate of costs this coming winter. These are total costs, not price per unit of energy.
2. We would also like to know if at present you foresee or are considering any reduction in your activities because of increased bills, and any details you can give us.
3. We need to know on whose behalf you are responding, though all information will be anonymised.
That simple information will be very useful in making a case. However, if possible . . ..
4. Please tell anything else you think it would be useful for us to know to present a case to government. Here are some possibilities, but none of this is essential:
a) whether your building is a cathedral, or in any other way of unusual size or complexity
b) roughly how many people are financial supporters of the building (alternatively, typical congregational attendance)
c) some idea of the size of your annual income and of your annual surplus (if any)
d) whether you would describe the location of your building as village, small town, suburbs, urban, city centre - or any other descriptor of location
e) if your building is the only place of worship in the community (this will tend to be in villages and some small towns), the approximate number of people living in the community
f) anything you might know about local levels of deprivation
g) anything else you want to tell us.
Thank you.”
Please respond to Trevor and Becky at
hrb@theheritagealliance.org.uk

[Source: HRBA, 12 September]
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.
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 Columba's URC, North Shields, Harvest Messy Church,
Sunday 18 September


Click here for further details of the Messy Church Event this Sunday.
St Cuthbert's Centre, Holy Island, Artist in Residence

St Cuthbert's Centre, Holy Island, Artist in Residence exhibition 21st to 23rd September.  Details can be found here, please check the safe crossing times which can be found by clicking here.
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
St Margaret's URC, Prince Edward Road, South Shields

St Margaret’s URC, South Shields are celebrating their Platinum Jubilee on Sunday, 25th September 2022.  All are warmly invited to join them at their 10am service to celebrate this milestone. Following the service, a tree will be planted in the garden to commemorate St Margaret's 70 years.
This will be followed by cake and refreshments. There will also be a visual display of church life throughout the last 70 years. St Margaret's look forward to sharing this special day with you.
 National URC News
Ministry Enquirers' Event, Saturday 1st October
Church House, London


Ministry Enquirers' Event, to help you think about God's call to Stepwise, Worship Leading, Lay Preaching, Lay Pioneering, Ministry with children and young people, the Ministry of Word and Sacraments or Church Related Community Work.
Come and chat in person with those in ministry
and find out what God is calling you to!

Enquirers’ Event Saturday 1st October 2022
10am-1pm at Church House
Further details can be found
here
Tending the Vineyard

As the United Reformed Church (URC) celebrates its 50th Jubilee, the Church Life Review Group would like to hear your views.

In John 15:5, Jesus says: “Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.”

With that verse in mind, we wonder what tending would enable the URC to be more healthy and fruitful?

You can find out more details and how to get in touch with the Church Life Review Group by clicking
here


50th Jubilee Events - O
pportunities to help at the 50th anniversary London celebrations, Saturday 1st October



The role of steward at the Worship Service will involve arriving at the venue on the day in time for a briefing and run through from 12.30 pm onwards. Some stewards may be positioned outside the hall, while others will usher people into the hall and ensure seats are filled up from the front and that no gaps are left. The main job of the stewards at the service will be to deliver the elements of communion to the ends of each row. There will be trays of bread and trays of communion wine and some of these will need to be carried upstairs to serve those seated in the balcony, so it is important that anyone volunteering feels confident in climbing stairs while carrying these trays. Stewards will also be asked to help clear URC items from the venue after the event, and will be finished by 6.00 pm.
 
Stewarding at the Open Church House event will involve welcoming visitors, guiding them around the building and helping manage safety and security. All volunteers will need to arrive at Church House between 8:30am-9am. The Open Church House event will finish in time for everyone to walk or travel to Westminster for the start of the service.
 

If these are things you, or anyone you know, might be able to help with, please email 50@urc.org.uk as soon as possible.

 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.
Faith & Food, Diocese of Hexham and Newscastle

*Talks * Food * Faith Sharing*
 
You are invited to join a ‘Faith and Food’ event being held on Thursday, 22 September 2022 at 7 pm at English Martyrs RC Church Hall, Stamfordham Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE5 3JR.
 
There will be a short talk from each faith representative about the importance of faith and food in our lives, the nourishment we need for the spiritual and physical aspects of our lives.  Click here for more details.
 
To reserve a place, please click here


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.
 
Vacancies




Tutor in Ministerial Formation
Northern College is seeking to recruit a full-time tutor in this role which focusses on the personal and practical formational development of students.  Further details can be found here.


Church Engagement and Fundraising Officer - North East & Cumbria
Christian Aid is seeking to recruit a part-time Church Engagement and Fundraising Officer.  Further details can be found here.

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 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. 

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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