We were gathered to celebrate 40 years ……….

of the United Reformed Church, 21 years of the United Reformed Elders InductionChurch in Cheltenham (made up of three congregations) and the induction of 10 elders who together had already given 136 years service in one of the three churches.

There were balloons and plans to make bunting to continue the celebrations with a Jubilee tea and there was lunch to share.

The beginnings of a banner

 Latterly one of the churches had formed an LEP with the Anglicans who had a building on the opposite side of the road from them. It was good to know that in this church on the previous Sunday they had made a point of explaining the role of the General Assembly Moderator and it was also good to have the curate from that church leading our prayers of intercession. Conversations I had with people indicated that the relationships were good mainly due to the quiet and patient way in which the two congregations had grow together and seen the sense of joining in worship and service to their community.

But these were all churches which served their community they were all involved in Street Pastors and in Open Book. This latter initiative was the topic of discussion as people were leaving the service and around the lunch table. Those involved spoke enthusiastically about their involvement with the children in schools, the effect of the programme on teaching staff and the way in which their own understanding grew as a result. These were conversations which buzzed, with people who were sharing their faith beyond the walls of the church and it occurred to me that people who share their faith in this and other such ways always do buzz when they tell their stories – there must be a lesson there for us all.


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