Around the United Reformed Church in seven days: 2-9 January

A round up of news from around the United Reformed Church over the past seven days: 2-9 January.

National Synod of Wales Lay Ministry Weekend

More than 30 people, and one dog, attended the National Synod of Wales’ annual Lay Ministry Weekend at The Metropole, Llandrindod Wells in mid-November. The Synod’s Lay Preaching Advocate, Maggie Kirkbride, ran the event alongside Stephen Best, Chaplain to the Synod team.

Themed “Responding to the challenge: worship in new contexts”, the event explored Lay Ministry in all its areas – preparation, preaching, worship, pulpit supply information – as well as discussing the needs of churches and lay participants in the churches in Wales today, and how lay participants can vary the type of service offered.

Church leadership program

A group of six ministers and lay people have completed “Inner-Formation for church leadership” the first part of the Church Leader Programme for 2023/24. This January, the participants move on to the second part, Community Formation, which includes a weekend gathering in February, six online sessions during Lent, and a final residential in June to round things off.

The programme supports minister and other church leaders, giving them effective tools and disciplines for the challenges of church leadership.

It has run for many years, with 67 people taking part in 2016, however it will not be run in 2024/25 to enable Education and Learning to carry out a review to reassess the mode of delivery and the funding that supports it.  Further updates on the review will be shared in due course.

Haydock fellowship grows thanks to redeveloped space

Christ Church URC in Haydock has been given a new lease of life thanks to the repurposing of its building into multifunctional space.

With the community in mind, the church sold its main sanctuary, to be converted into accommodation, and redeveloped its hall. Now, the hall boasts a sanctuary for use on a Sunday, a room for groups including youth clubs, Girl’s Brigade, parents and toddler sessions and Messy Church throughout the week.


“The Church feels like it has a new life and is growing through the changes,” said Brian Taylor, a Christ Church URC Haydock Elder.
“We have toy and clothes give away for vulnerable families in the community. Messy Church provides all the families in the community who attend a craft session, a gospel talk and sing and a free two course meal to finish. We have started a Cafe Church for the families who come to Messy Church and those families who don’t normally come to church. The services are lighter, with a craft time for the children, a quiz, songs to sing and a gospel message for the children and for the adults. We even have the local council elections in here.

“The church fellowship like it and have grown closer together; it’s warmer, more comfortable and we are more of a family. Through all the alterations we have never ceased to function our activities.”

Yorkshire church wins award

Saltaire URC and Russell Trudgen, Founder Director of architects Arctic Associates, have won the National Church Awards’ King of Prussia Gold Medal.

The church has been dominated by the repairs following damage caused by 2020’s “Storm Dennis”. Now complete, the award celebrates its innovative, high-quality conservation or repairs.


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