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December 2019 and January 2020

In December, Derek Estill will preach at Hampton Park United Reformed Church in Hereford. The Revd Nigel Uden will preach at Princes Street URC, Norwich; Sompting URC, West Sussex, and a West Sussex Area church. He will also attend a prayer breakfast hosted by the Trussell Trust. Both moderators will attend a meeting of the URC Trust.

In January, Mr Uden will preach at Christ Church, Chichester; East Hill, Wandsworth, London; in Cambridge, for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and at Wesley Methodist Church, Cambridge. He will also attend the URC Youth Assembly. Mr Estill will attend an interfaith reception at the House of Lords for Holocaust Memorial Day, represent the URC at the UK government’s event marking the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and lead worship at Westbury Gardens URC, Blackburn. Both moderators will attend meetings of the URC’s Assembly arrangements committee and the Mission Council advisory group.

Faith in action in October

Derek Estill, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, tells of where his moderatorial engagements have taken him during October

Local church visits

While on holiday on the Gower Peninsula, south Wales, my wife Margaret and I went to Burry Green Presbyterian Church. As I had represented the United Reformed Church at their General Assembly in Wrexham, earlier in the year, the congregants there recognised me, and gave us a very warm welcome. How nice and unexpected!

After our holiday, we made our way home to Lancashire via Reading, as I had been invited to lead worship at Grange URC, which is in the town. On this occasion, Grange URC was celebrating the anniversary of their church being planted in Southcote, Berkshire, 65 yearsago. Back in 1954, Southcote was a new estate, with many young families with lots of children. An outreach initiative looked as if it could prove fruitful. In answer to their prayers, a hall that had previously been a milking shed was made available to Christians there, which was a great help in starting a new church on what was a growing estate. As I understand it, things grew fast in those early days. Records show that in 1954 they had nearly 300 children attending Sunday school. In 1972, with the church well established, the congregation joined the URC. Today the church continues to be actively involved in their local community and with other local churches. A pre-school group meets every weekday in their premises, and the church opened a cafe for parents to meet and chat whilst their children are in pre-school. This arrangement works very well. This year, pre-schoolers will perform their Nativity play in the church. In addition to working with children, Grange URC have a Memory Cafe, working in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society. Such initiatives are increasingly needed and valued. 

Pictured: Grange United Reformed Church, Reading

Margaret and I were most impressed with Grange URC’s active engagement with their community. I was very pleased to be able to lead this well-attended, special service, celebrating the life of the church on their 65th anniversary. We were both made very welcome, and after the service enjoyed sharing in a four-course hot lunch before driving home to Lancashire. 

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November 2019

In November, the Revd Nigel Uden will join a group of United Reformed Church representatives visiting the Church of the Palatinate, Germany, for the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. He will also represent the URC at the National Service of Remembrance held at the Cenotaph in London, attend a meeting of ministers from the URC’s Group for Evangelism and Renewal, and preach at Besses o’th’ Barn URC, Manchester.

Derek Estill will preach at Revidge Fold URC, Blackburn, attend Wilmslow URC’s 175th anniversary concert, Cheshire, and take part in Wilmslow URC’s celebratory service. Mr Estill will also meet with the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly Moderator in London.

Both moderators will attend the URC’s Mission Council, from 15 to 17 November.