URC minister walks 88 miles in 88th year for church building project

John Reardon walk formattedThe Revd John Reardon, a former United Reformed Church (URC) Deputy General Secretary, has completed a sponsored walk of 88 miles in one month in his 88th.

John, who is a member of Newport Pagnell URC (NPURC), Buckinghamshire, is part of a fundraising team for the Mead Centre – a community building project aimed at creating space for people who would normally find themselves on the margins of society. The vision is for those people to come together, build relationships and find a sense of community.

John has been part of the Mead Centre fundraising team since the project began, more than six years ago. Phase one of the building work, to complete a watertight shell, has been paid with the £670,000 raised so far, but another £500,000 to start phase two, to fit out the building, is needed.

“We are working with other charities and seeking to build relationships so that when the Mead Centre building is open, the work of the project is already well underway,” said the Revd Jenny Mills, the NPURC’s Minister.

“We have been working really hard in lockdown and have seen an explosion of fundraising and awareness raising events. I even did a three-hour hour fit-a-thon!’

The Mead Centre will be a unique space serving the church’s community, and will be open to people from all over the Milton Keynes area. It will provide accessible changing facilities, a sensory room, as well as a large hall and meeting rooms. 

Sadly, just as John – who also served as Moderator of URC General Assembly from 1995 to 1996, and as General Secretary of Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland from 1990 to 1999 – began his sponsored walk, he experienced a recurrence of sciatic pain, a condition he had struggled with earlier this year. Undeterred, John managed to complete the task two weeks ago.

John said: “I realise that there are so many good causes that people are supporting but the Covid-19 crisis persuades me that there are many lonely people who long to connect with others. The Mead Centre will provide an impetus towards a more inclusive community in which the lonely, those with disabilities, and all ages, will be able to connect with others and find support and purpose.”

Donations can still be made. If you would like sponsor John and support the Mead Centre project, please make donations here.

To find out more about the Mead Centre, or to listen to podcast episodes featuring the people and community involved in the project, visit here.

Published: 21 July 2020

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