For some extended reflections during Holy Week, please click the button below. Turn ahead to page 60 for the start of the Holy Week reflections.
Liz began volunteering as a delivery cyclist for the Urban Lunch project at Clapton Park URC at the start of lockdown, hauling cooked meals and Food Bank parcels through Hackney’s eerily empty streets on her old touring bicycle. “These daily encounters – with the kids who know you always sneak extra cake into the bag for them, with the blind man whose microwave we fitted with braille stickers so he could reheat his meals – lifted the fog of lockdown for me. It’s strange to think … that it took social distancing to bring me closer to my community.”
September sees our first joint award to two sisters, Marrissa (16) and Poppy (9) Thorpe from Chesterfield who were nominated by Liz Sharples, Church Secretary of St Andrews URC. When the congregation heard the news of the award, we received a message from another member their who shared their appreciation of the two girls’ outreach too!
Liz shared with us some of the ways that Poppy and Marrissa have played their part in the mission of God over the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Marrissa and Poppy ar active and valuabel members of our church community. They have been attending our church and Junior Church since they were young and they both light up our services with their positive attitude each week. Over the last few years they have been willing helpers at church in many ways – helping with the offertory, serving refreshments after our morning worship, reading the Bible and taking part in services.
Once known as the ‘hidden church’ as its building sat behind a large tree, Bethesda United Reformed Church in Tongwynlais on the outskirts of Cardiff has become a well-known place in the village for a ‘cuppa and a chat’ about some of life’s most challenging issues. How did this ageing, dwindling congregation come to play such a crucial role in the life of its local community?
Our youngest recipient so far for the Lundie Memorial Medal and Award is Henry Stapleton of East Midlands Synod who was nominated by church elder Joy Rice. This is what she told us about Henry:
“I wish to nominate Henry Stapleton as he has been the answer to prayer and an inspiration to me.
Imagine you are the village head man in York Village, Freetown. Sierra Leone. 2019 is the 200th anniversary of your village’s founding. Back in 1819, freed slaves moved back and started living there so now is the time to celebrate. You are asked what you want for their village to celebrate and you say ‘street lights’. It goes dark at around 7pm and there is no electricity in York Village, Freetown.
Meanwhile in Nottingham there is a seven year old boy with a fascination for streetlights…
Walking the Way project manager, Simon Peters, spends a good deal of his time looking for real life examples of faith being lived out in everyday life. Recently, this quest took him to Northern Synod and the National Synod of Wales, which he shares more about here.
As General Secretary of the Congregation Federation, Yvonne has many important responsibilities and engagements she must engage with, keeping an awareness of what’s going on in lots of different places and contexts at once. Yet, when you speak with her, it is obvious that the inspiration and energy she needs comes from her work with children and young people. As she leads her Pilots groups in craft activities, teaches them about the Bible, encourages them to ask questions and acts as a role model for them, Yvonne learns from the wisdom which children and young people can teach us, no matter what roles or responsibilities we might hold.
When he’s not travelling around the world with work, you’ll likely find Gus working with children and young people from the community around his local church. You’ll also find him supporting children’s and youth work across his entire region, in his voluntary role as Synod Pilots Officer for East Midlands. With his skills and talents, he could use his spare time to achieve anything he wanted. He chooses to use it in the service of others, and in building up a new generation to love and serve God.