Author Archives: urcmedia

Green shoots of spring

Squelching around the manse lawn late in February, I noticed various green shoots of spring, snowdrops and daffodils among them. I had to be careful, to make sure I did not crush them – they were small, and I am not. Stopping to observe them, gave my heart a lift on a wintry day.

Since I last blogged, my diary has afforded me several opportunities to see green shoots of spring in the United Reformed Church (URC).

Young church

image of church

It was my turn to be the General Assembly Moderator at URC Youth Assembly. Derek Estill had told me how much it meant to him in 2019, and I rejoice that it was possible for me to attend this year.

I was struck time and again by the passionate consideration of some diverse business:

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March 2020

In March, the Revd Nigel Uden will lead a church weekend on the Isle of Man, and will preach for the Lancaster Missional Partnership; at Meersbrook Park United Reformed Church, Sheffield; and in Darwen, Lancashire.

Mr Derek Estill will attend a URC/Baptist interfaith event in Elland, West Yorkshire, and will preside at the induction of the Revd Brian Jolly to the role of North Western Synod Moderator in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

Both moderators will attend a meeting of the URC General Assembly arrangements committee, in London, and Mission Council, from 17 to 19 March, at High Leigh Conference Centre, Hertfordshire.

Remembering to Stand Together

Each year, on 27 January, the nation comes together to remember the Holocaust and the murder of six million Jews.  This year’s ceremony also marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Nazis’ death camp, on the 27 January 1945.  At that time, I was a four-year-old in South Wales completely unaware of the horrors that had been taking place across Europe.  Similarly, young people today can be unaware of the dangers that lurk just a little below the surface of our everyday lives.  Many of those who were directly affected have now died and each year there are fewer left to tell what happened.  It is therefore our responsibility to make sure these memories, and the accounts of what happened at this most terrible time in the world’s history, are not forgotten.

The following are the ten recognised steps that lead to genocide:
1.            Classification creating an “us” and “them” mentality
2.            Symbolisation of the “other” such as being made to wear a yellow star
3.            Discrimination against certain groups
4.            Dehumanisation against the other as being inferior
5.            Organisation through state involvement to execute actions
6.            Polarisation between “us” and “them” through propaganda
7.            Preparation of armies to protect “us” from “them”
8.            Persecution by separation of “them” from “us”
9.            Extermination by mass killing
10.          Denial by not accepting what has been done
It is so important that we guard against this happening.

“Stand Together”, the theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD), reminds me of that new commandment that Jesus gave us when he said that we are to “love one another as I have loved you”.

This simple commandment has an urgency and power that makes it an essential motivator to the way we live our lives. It challenges us in every way you can think of. We, as Christians, are called to live out these words in all we do and say, putting them into action in our day to day lives, following Jesus to build communities that stand together as Jesus wants us to be.

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