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Welcome to the URC Synod of Scotland monthly e-news.
Welcome to Synod of Scotland Enews.


Remember, this is YOUR Enews so please tell us what your church is up to. 
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Synod Prayer Cycle 2020

Prayers for churches around the Synod and the world are on the synod website and Facebook Page.  Please join with the rest of the Synod in prayer, and pray for the following congregations
 

September

27  Port Glasgow

In Port Glasgow we are beginning to work slowly at re-opening our building.  For the past few weeks, we have opened the building for an hour and a half, once a week, for private prayer.  It was hoped that this would allow the congregation to see and have a feel for the building before beginning back for Sunday worship, which we hope will be before the end of August.
While the building has been closed we have continued worshipping online.  Our services are on YouTube, and resource sharing with our Cluster Churches the service is also on Facebook.  Our minister also has evening prayers live on Facebook on a Sunday evening.
 
Prayer
Loving God, we give thanks to you for your unfailing love for us.  We have been patient and careful over the last few months as our lives changed dramatically, but we are held strong by the knowledge of your unchanging grace for us.  As lockdown continues to ease all us to remain vigilant to the needs and safety of others around  us.  Grant us more patience as we slowly begin to open our Church building once more.  Give us the courage to be creative in our approach to worship over the coming months. 
We bring you our prayers through your Son, Jesus’ name.  Amen.


October

4    Priesthill

Covid has taken its toll on the work of the church as we have been closed and, consequently, all the community activities have been suspended since March.  This is a huge loss to the local community and we are not yet in a position to reopen as the goal of the activities in the church is to bring people together around food.  We also grieve the death of two regular attenders, one who had journeyed with us for many years.
 

O God of our tears,
hold us when we grieve,
help us to remember all that You have done for and with us,
comfort us in our desolation,
and remind us of the resurrection you call us towards,
ever seeking to transform us and our world,
through Jesus Christ,
Amen.  
 


11  Righead East Kilbride

18  Rutherglen

Story
During lock down Rutherglen URC made good use of the church railings and the front of the building as a means of outreach. The railings became a prayer railing and are currently festooned with ribbons of all colours and lengths and banners/signs were hung on the front of the building or the railings to mark Easter, Christian Aid Week,  Pentecost, Pride Month, and Black Lives Matter. Currently a sign ‘God is love’ hangs above the front door.   
As we approach Harvest we have decided to publicise our collection for the Rutherglen and Cambuslang Foodbank in the community (the younger members of the fellowship are currently making a large sign for the railings) and we will be receiving donations on the Saturday as well as in Sunday worship. In a very practical way we will be repeating the message: ‘God is love’.

 
Prayer
          
God of love
We thank you for the opportunities we have;
to be a light in the midst of darkness
to be a sign of your hope in the midst of despair
to be a giver of comfort in the midst of sorrow
to be a sign of your promise in the midst of uncertainty
to be a sign of community in the midst of isolation
to be a joyful presence in the midst of life
In Jesus’ name,
Amen


28  Saughtonhall
Like so many congregations in the synod, Saughtonhall United Reformed Church - and its joint pastorate partners at Duke Street United Reformed Church - has been experimenting with online worship and fellowship during the lockdown. Sunday services have been held on Facebook, Bible studies and meetings have taken place on Zoom, and those without internet access have called a telephone hotline for a new reflection each week. As lockdown continues to ease, the congregation prays for guidance -   which elements of our "old" life should we hang onto and which elements should we abandon, so we can harness "new" tools for spreading the Good News?
 
Prayer
Creative God,
Thank you for helping us spread your word beyond our church family during lockdown, through
Facebook services and Zoom Bible studies. Please help us keep the best elements from our online evangelism to build a “better normal”, not just a “new normal”.
We pray in Jesus’s name, Amen.


November

1    Shawlands

Shawlands suffered a break in during Holy Week where the church was ransacked.  Nothing was taken but £11,000 worth of damage was caused; happily this was covered by insurance.  We have used lockdown to replace the kitchen using the skills of church members and whilst worship isn't likely to start for some time we have been able to allow many of the groups who use the church back in.  Sadly we have suffered other losses over the lockdown period - three long term members have died (two from Covid 19) and two others are now in nursing homes.  Whilst spirits are good and everyone is getting very proficient with Zoom there is a sense we have to navigate significant changes in our next steps together.
 
O God,
from the start you have called us to sing new songs to your praise and glory,
to find new ways of serving you,
new ways of proclaiming your love and liberation,
new ways of seeing things,
help us during these long days of Covid
to praise your name,
love your people,
and see where you call us next.
Amen.

Scottish United Reformed and Congregational College

The College programme for ordinands has begun for 2020-21 and - for the present at least - will take place largely online.

It is very easy for learning needs in congregation and among church members to be forgotten during these times. Yet learning together can be a way of strengthening the bonds that bind elders, members of congregations and pastorates. Some may find that these times make space for learning that is otherwise difficult to schedule. 

The principal would welcome conversations with elders, members and ministers about how the College can support churches in their life and work. If you - or your church - are interested in talking about possibilities please call the office to arrange a time for a chat.
Youth Assembly 2021
 

Youth Assembly 2021 will not be going ahead as a residential event – watch this space for details of how to be part of URC Youth Heroes and Villains over the year. 

Read a message from Reuben Watt, Youth Assembly Moderator, and Jo Harris, Moderator Elect, on behalf of the URC Youth Executive.

Regrettably, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, URC Youth Executive has reached the sad conclusion that Youth Assembly 2021 must be postponed until the following year. This was a very difficult decision to make and certainly was not taken lightly, as Youth Assembly means just as much to us as we know it does to many of you.

The truth of the matter is that this situation is fast-moving and changeable, and to continue to plan for a large in-person event where many of our valued friends and colleagues would be unable to attend, due to health concerns, possible local lockdowns, and other circumstances, is not in the inclusive spirit of URC Youth.

The atmosphere of Youth Assembly is so unique that we felt we were unable to do it justice via an online replacement.

Of course, we haven’t forgotten those of you who will be particularly disappointed by this announcement, due to Youth Assembly 2021 being your final assembly before you pass the upper age limit. We are doing all we can to work out how to include you next time.

We hope collectively we can carry the burden of this news. Remember to reach out to your URC Youth friends, Children and Youth Development Officers+ team and Youth Exec for support and news about what’s happening locally.

We couldn’t let our weekend this January pass without doing something together, so we’re working on a small way to connect as young people from afar. More news to follow about this and other plans across the year.

We can’t wait to see you in person at Youth Assembly 28 to 30 January 2022 when we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the United Reformed Church! We know this is tough news in an already tough year.

Please keep us in your prayers - we’ll be praying for you!

Deadline for next e-news
is 16 October 2020. 

Adventures in Faith
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The latest newsletter from the Scottish Churches Disability Group is available on their website
For more information visit: http://www.placeforhope.org.uk/events

 
URC Update and Newsletter
Please click here to join the URC Newsletter.

Supporting Communities Safely 
from Public Health Scotland


The website gives advice for Community Groups, Organisations and Volunteer Networks fighting Covid-19
 
https://www.scdc.org.uk/supporting-communities-safely

URC Children & Youth Newsletter

The bi-monthly newsletter can be downloaded here.
Christian Aid
 https://www.christianaid.org.uk

Christian Aid Autumn Resources
Love never fails. 
In times of crisis, love unites us all.  
When crisis arrived on our doorsteps this year, neighbourly love helped us through.  
Could you and your neighbours help more communities still facing crisis around the world?
Communities living in poverty face crisis every day, but neighbourly love is powerful.  
With your support, vulnerable communities are joining forces with their neighbours to overcome crisis together.  
In this uncertain and fragile world, let’s keep looking out for our neighbours near and far.  
Love knows no distance. Reach out to your global neighbours and help more communities around the world overcome crisis.   
 
Christian Aid’s Autumn resources are now available to download. Whether you want to organise a prayer service, virtual bake sale or a zoom quiz, we have the tools to help you. Find out more: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/appeals/key-appeals/global-neighbours-autumn-appeal/resources
 
You can also explore our new campaigns toolkit, Building Back with Justice, here: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/building-back-justice-campaign-resource . Read our blog about how we aim to make justice central to our COVID-19 rebuilding efforts or download our discussion guide for use with your small group.

 
Scottish Churches Housing Action newsletter
 
All the latest news from See Me is available here...

See Me have launched a new resources for young people - "It's Okay". This includes: a video (clean version), a downloadable "What's on your mind" card for young people suggesting ways to explain how they're feeling and places can turn for help and tips to identify good listeners to approach for help and resources for adults and linked to curriculum for excellence including activities that could be used with groups of 11-18yr olds in the 'What's on Your Mind?' pack.
Sanctuary in Scotland booklet is now available to order
Sanctuary in Scotland is a guide providing information on refugee issues for faith groups in Scotland. It includes facts and figures, definitions, current issues and ideas for practical action by and for faith communities in Scotland.
The free copies can he ordered here. Please share this link with your networks. A copy for download is of course also available on our website.
As this resource is funded by the EU we will also be asking for a bit of feedback.
 
God with us resource is now available
‘God with us’ is a new Christian worship resource on the theme of refugees, migration and sanctuary. We have worked ecumenically to create it and hope it will be used by people from many different Christian traditions. It includes among others bible studies, prayers, liturgies, stories, poems and discussion ideas. This resource supports you with a wealth of content, encouraging you to pray for but even more importantly with others.
To register your interest or order your free copies please email Anne Ross ARoss@churchofscotland.org.uk
Appointment of Director
September 2020

 The Trustees of Place for Hope are delighted to announce the appointment of their new Director, Carolyn Merry, with effect from November 2020. Also joining Place for Hope in October is Katie Bradley who will be leading an exciting new UK wide project with the Methodist Church.
 
Carolyn brings a wealth of experience to Place for Hope with over 25 years in the humanitarian, international development and peacebuilding sectors, often in places of war, extreme poverty, repressive discrimination and exclusion of those most vulnerable. She succeeds Ruth Harvey, who recently took up post as Leader of the Iona Community. Carolyn has extensive experience gained from previous roles around the world including The Feast, Cord, Sense International, CBM Australia and Médecins Sans Frontières.

Speaking about her appointment, Carolyn said, “I am thrilled to be joining everyone at Place for Hope. It feels like coming home to all the things that matter most to me! I look forward to working with the team to ensure that Place for Hope continues to live up to its name in a world filled with growing division and violence, and crying out for ways to navigate conflict well, heal brokenness and flourish together in true peace.”


Katie will head up a 3-year Reconciliation and Mediation Team Pilot Project for our partners the Methodist Church to complement and enhance Place for Hope’s existing training work under the Positive Working Together Project. Katie joins Place for Hope from the Church of Scotland, where she was instrumental in the development of training programmes for ministerial students and volunteers. This role will put her in great stead to further extend Place for Hope’s considerable experience in developing a culture of peacebuilding and reconciliation within the Church of Scotland into the Methodist Church.



Richard Armiger, Director of Learning and Development for the Methodist Church, says, “This project offers an exciting opportunity for us to develop an approach to reconciliation and mediation that offers suitable input at the point where it is most needed. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Place for Hope. My hope is that this project will enable us to discover new opportunities for positive working together as we seek to enable our church communities and the communities we serve to be places where people can truly flourish in all their diversity. I am delighted that Katie has been appointed to the project role and look forward to working with her as we develop the project.”
 
Speaking about the two appointments, Place for Hope’s Interim Manager Hugh Donald commented, “For Place for Hope this is an opportune time to be joined by Carolyn and Katie, both of whom have a real heart for peacebuilding. This is a season where we all face much uncertainty and witness increased polarization. As peacemakers we sense an urgency in creating ways for greater collaborative working, reconciling differences and offering the reality of hope.
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