Author Archives: urcmedia

Remembering the 21 Libyan martyrs

Peter Pay, Moderator of the URC General Assembly, talks about an eye-opening commemoration for persecuted Christians that he attended:

I was recently invited to represent the United Reformed Church by His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Coptic Orthodox Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and a distinguished panel of guests to mark Contemporary Martyrs Day on 15 February . The event was held in remembrance of the 21 Libyan martyrs and members of the Coptic Orthodox Church who lost their lives in 2015 as a result of religious persecution. Pope Francis also contributed on the day.

I have to admit, my first reaction was that I was not aware of this event, but on checking I discovered that a five-minute video had been published showing the beheading of the 21 Christian (mainly Coptic) captives by ISIS on a beach along the southern Mediterranean coast.

A caption in the video called the captives the ‘People of the Cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian Church’. Few people I have mentioned this to have heard of the outrage. It leads me to wonder what else I may be unaware of. Continue reading

March 2021

The following appointments are subject to change.

In March, the Revd Clare Downing will lead prayers at Pray4URC ahead of the next Mission Council; attend the children’s and youth work committee and business committee; will preach online at Hinckley United Reformed Church in Leicestershire, and Chappel URC in Essex. Mr Peter Pay will attend the Business Committee, and preach online at Trinity Church in Leek, Salisbury URC in Wiltshire, and Cheap Street Church in Sherborne. Both moderators will attend the online meeting of Mission Council, from 15 to 17 March.

For more about and stories from the General Assembly Moderators, visit

Remaining grateful together though apart

From 29-31 January, the Revd Clare Downing, Moderator of the United Reformed Church (URC) General Assembly, attended URC Youth (dis)ASSEMBLED.

The digital event was for URC Youth to remain connected after it was forced to cancel its Assembly because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here, Clare reflects on the event:

It was an interesting weekend. Originally, I’d planned to be in Staffordshire at URC Youth Assembly. While Reuben, URC Youth Moderator had set himself up with a virtual background of Whitemoor Lakes (where Youth Assembly is usually held) we were, of course online. The positive side of this was that it made it a bit easier for me to be ‘in’ Southern Synod, for the induction of the Southern Synod’s new Moderator, Bridget Banks as well.

We have learnt a great deal about worshipping virtually. The induction went smoothly and was accessible to many people who might have baulked at travelling to a central venue. Worship at Youth Assembly was inspiring. The music was brilliantly produced, and the reflection on ‘heroes and villains’ in the stories of David and Esther was challenging. Continue reading