As we face the unprecedented challenges of the moment, I want to remind and assure you that we face these things together, with fellow pilgrims in the United Reformed Church and in the worldwide ecumenical movement, and in partnership with members of other faiths and all people of goodwill.
We can face uncertainty with faith. The psalmist assures us, God is our refuge and strength, a very present helpin trouble [Psalm 46:1]. Jesus promises, I am with you always [Matt 28:20]. Although we may have to celebrate Easter in our homes and with ongoing uncertainty about the future, the truth of the resurrection will be undiminished by whatever we face.
Please be assured of our common concern and support for one another, our prayers for one another and especially for those who face the greatest challenges in our families, communities and the world. As you are able, please care for folk in your community in whatever ways are possible, in the name of Jesus.
Yours in prayer and fellowship,
Brian Jolly (Moderator)
The Synod Office is closed. Calls to the Synod phone line [0161 789 5583] during office hours will be diverted to a member of staff working from home. Items posted to the Synod Office will be collected several times each week and dealt with as promptly as possible. Don’t hesitate to call if you require help or advice.
Please check the URC Updated advice to churches regularly: click here.
Funerals are still allowed, but we must keep them very small. Plan a simple committal ceremony at the cemetery or crematorium with an intentionally very small number of people present. Tributes can be paid in other ways – either online, or in a church newsletter – or given in a memorial service later in the year. All of that will surely feel unsatisfactory. But there is not a satisfactory way to deal with these issues. We don’t want anyone’s life to end because someone attended a funeral.
It is very important for Elders’ Meetings to arrange for consultation with building insurers about their preferred actions while buildings are closed.
Worshipping online together
Media and Technology
A short guide to using Zoom securely https://urc.org.uk/images/Communications/docs/Using-Zoom-securely.pdf
Advice on copyright including its use in online worship
Safeguarding people in the midst of coronavirus
A resource for use with those unable to physically attend funerals
Children and Young People
Remember that a weekly “families on faith adventures” activity pack is available for download from https://urc.org.uk/resources-for-children-and-youth.
If you don’t currently subscribe to Reform the URC’s monthly magazine this is available for free during the current period. More information is available at https://www.reform-magazine.co.uk/2020/04/read-reform-for-free/
Copyright advice to churches
Advice on reopening Church buildings
Following the Government’s announcement about the possibility of reopening church buildings for individual private prayer, we have received a number of enquiries from churches about the Synod position on this matter. Please click and download the letter https://covid.nwsynod.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/15-June-2020-reopening-private-prayer.pdf which provides advice about the expectations of the Synod Trust as to the actions which you will need to have taken before opening your buildings for private prayer.
We have also received a number of enquiries about the resumption of hirings. Clearly, these can only be agreed when Government guidance permits the activity in question to restart. An updated hirings agreement is available to download here https://covid.nwsynod.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/North-Western-Synod-Room-Hire-Agreement.docx which incorporates scope for you to specify any restrictions on the hiring that are necessary to comply with your risk assessment. We would encourage all churches to enter into new hirings agreements using this template when any activities restart.
Playing your part
For the best part of 3 years, we have been exploring ministry as something everyone does. That is a welcome change from the overemphasis on ordained ministry that has been our tradition. It is more important now than ever before that each of us finds ways of ministering to others – to our fellow members and communities. At its most simple, it means keeping in touch, praying and being someone who can be trusted with confidences. If you’re not in the “at risk” category, how about volunteering to help with the shopping for people who are self-isolating? Are you an Elder? Then how about arranging a regular pastoral call with the members on your list? Don’t be afriad to offer to pray over the phone or on Skype etc – people are frightened and lonely. Be imaginative. Be daring. Be prepared to be vulnerable. Be the minister to others that you’d like them to be to you!
Any leaders in our Church who are vulnerable– either because they are over 70, or because of health issues – must stand down from public duty and work remotely from home. As a Church, we ask those who care for us to care for themselves too, especially when life could be at risk. You are free to let the family and funeral directors know that, with regret, you are no longer available to take funeral services. You must not feel pressured by a feeling of duty into taking them.
Some churches are already anxious about their financial stability. It is important that members maintain their giving, so far as they are able. If you have a particular difficulty, please contact David Wyke to discuss your concerns.
Brian Jolly 07495 921297
Pastoral Committee Convenor
Marion Tugwood 07876 213052
Julie Rafferty 07964 981262
Treasurer & interim Clerk
Mike Hart 07519 124846
David Wyke 07740 112635
Chair of the Synod Trust
Jean Mullineux 07926 029339
Synod Property Consultant
Mike Aspinall 07929 525909
Legal, Trust & Property Officer
Adelle Hartwell 07740 112628
Kerry Later 0161 789 5583
Advice on opening Church Buildings
Discipleship and mission: the journey continues!
Discipleship – “seeing Jesus more clearly, loving him more dearly, and following him more nearly” – doesn’t change during a pandemic. Daily and weekly worship don’t change. Discovering how to make a Jesus-shaped difference to the lives of our neighbours and communities isn’t put on hold because of the Coronavirus. What does change is the forms these take. Click on the button below to discover discipleship, mission, prayer and worship resources.