The strap-line for the Yorkshire Synod of The United Reformed Church is ‘Together, making a difference for Christ’s sake’.

So who would notice if our church wasn’t there?

  1. Our congregations? We would hope so!
  2. Our user groups?
  3. Our local community???

So What Can The Church Offer? 

A physical presence.  The Church has a physical presence in most neighbourhoods.  Its facilities can be used for community activities.

A full-time presence.  Unlike most organisations and agencies, church personnel and members do not leave at night but have a continuing presence in the community.

A constant presence.  The Church has had a sustained involvement in neighbourhoods for generations while other agencies may leave after just a few years.

Core values of social justice and hope.  A call to work with all people as made in God’s image and to offer the hope for a better world.

Geographically based.  Individual churches are able to relate directly to the people living in a geographical area and build up a knowledge of needs and resources

Offer Support.  Local churches can offer support to members of the community at times of crisis – bereavement, illness and financial hardship.

An inclusive approach.  The Church is accessible and inclusive to all, including to those of no faith who are searching for a sense of community and a spiritual dimension to life.

A Spiritual Presence. Provide worship and prayer to nourish and teach those of faith, and an opportunity to learn of Jesus Christ for those yet to find faith.

 

So what if your church wants to offer more to the local community?

Find out what is your neighbourhood like?

You might want to look at…

  • Its facilities & key buildings – schools, community centres, places of worship etc. Its key activities or services
  • What is already happening in the area?
  • It’s key people – Councillors, MP, Neighbourhood Policing Team, Housing Officers, Community & Youth Workers, TARA’s, GP’s, Health Workers, Head Teachers etc
  • What are the local issues – housing, environment, crime, employment, education?
  • Is there an Area plan? – What issues have been identified within this Council/multi-agency document?
  • What does your church already do – how does it already engage with its community?
  • If you are to do more, who will engage in the work and how?
  • Prioritise your engagement so that engagement will make a difference to your local community.
  • Is that engagement going to be pastoral (lunch clubs), prophetic (helping to tackle some of the local issues) or a mixture of the two?

Our Mandate:

Micah 6 v 8
‘He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.

And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God’.

  • The first is do justice – this is our prophetic mandate, which requires us to speak truth to power about the root causes of the problems in our communities. This involves our advocacy work and we need to do this in partnership with others whilst maintaining our distinctive Christian faith perspective.
  • The second is to love mercy and kindness – this is our pastoral mandate and involves us day in and day out responding to the spiritual, physical and material needs in our communities. This is something the Church does very well and is recognised more and more by those in authority.
  • The third, is to walk humbly with our God – this is our priestly mandate and is based on the clear recognition that such work is too great for us. It brings us back time and again to prayer and the spiritual disciplines without which our endeavours are fruitless and become more and more frustrating and disappointing.

Want to find out more…then speak to one of the CRCW ministers in the Synod, or look at the CRCW page on the URC website:  https://urc.org.uk/our-work/church-related-community-workers.html

Simon Loveitt

Feature image from https://pixabay.com/