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Feasts and Festivals

The new logo of the United Reformed ChurchThe year 2017 is a special year of celebration for the United Reformed Church: it marks thepicture depicting a party time for Feasts and Festivals centenary of Constance Coltman's ordination to ministry in the Congregational Church, the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, 45 years since the URC was formed, the silver (25-year) anniversary of Commitment for Life - its charity giving programme, and 80 years since the formation of its ecumenical youth organisation, Pilots.

A programme of events, as well as resources for study, prayer and action, has been put together by the URC's Feasts and Festivals planning team, to help churches mark these anniversaries.

For information, visit www.urc.org.uk/feasts-and-festivals.

Council for World Mission 40th ANNIVERSARY

As you all know, 2017 is our year of Feasts and Festivals.  Did you realise that in addition to everything else, it is also the 40th anniversary of the Council for World Mission (CWM)? 

In the 1960’s and 70’s the London Missionary Society and the English Presbyterian Board of Mission, were in the forefront of moves to create new structures of world mission fit for the modern world, based on equal partnership.  In 1977 the old missionary societies associated with the URC died and the Council for World Mission was formed, amid great excitement.  We were doing something new which would revolutionise relationships between churches worldwide.  This approach has been copied by many other western missionary societies.  So this year we will celebrate 40 years of CWM and being in mutual and equal partnership with its many member churches in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Pacific and the Caribbean.

There are now 32 member churches in 41 countries in CWM, working in partnership in mission, supporting reflection, research, discernment and communication.   CWM strategy is to:

  • Equip young people for mission
  • Build capabilities in member churches
  • Develop missional congregations
  • Share people in mission

Our own Synod link with the Botswana Synod of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa is part of CWM and involves our young people.  Our Synod focus on mission reflects CWM’s theme of developing missional congregations.  CWM is part of our life in the United Reformed Church.  So let’s celebrate!

There is background and worship material on the URC website under Feasts and Festivals/monthly resources/ March.  Unfortunately it does not include the hymn Caryl Micklem wrote for the inauguration of CWM: “Thanks be to God, whose Church on earth has stood the tests of time and place”, 582 in ‘Rejoice and Sing’, and I would urge you to include it.  (Verse 4 is relevant today in ways we could not even imagine 40 years ago!)  CWM itself has designated Sunday 16th July as CWM Sunday and will be producing worship and study material.  It doesn’t matter what date you choose, celebrate and pray for the Council for World Mission this year.                                                                                                    

Helen Lidgett (Synod Clerk)