Church and school say, "I do!"

The United Reformed Church in Rugby was delighted to welcome the two reception classes of Bawnmore Community Infant School, Rugby, who came to take part in a day of wedding workshops as part of the Warwickshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education (RE). And what fun they all had! 

Gill Kingston from the URC church says, "It was lovely to see so many of them getting into the spirit of the occasion, wearing their best clothes, in some cases their own wedding outfits. At the end of the day, parents were invited to watch the ceremony, conducted by the minister, Rev. Robert Maloney, and the church was full. The Headteacher commented that although they can do similar things on school premises it makes a huge difference to the children to do it in a church. A very successful day!"

* Has this opportunity sparked your enthusiasm?

* How might your church link up with a local school? 

Thank to Gill Kingston, who serves on the Free Church Education Committee, for this wonderful good news story! The United Reformed Church are a member denomination in the Free Churches Group

During the course of the day each child did four workshops: Wedding invitations; cake decorating; buttonhole flowers; a marriage ceremony (role play).  Here are a couple of photos from the wedding workshop day. You can also see what the children thought of the day HERE

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With this ring, I thee wed.. 

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The wedding party 

A Call to Prayer & Action

It was a real honour for Rev. Dr. Hugh Osgood, the Free Churches Moderator, to give the closing prayer at the first march for 'A Call to Prayer & Action' on Sunday 22nd April 2018.

Hugh joined some 1,000 people on this march as they walked and prayed from Tottenham to Wood Green.

Following the spate of violence and killings across UK’s capital, church leaders are calling on all Christians and citizens of London to dedicate the coming weeks to a period of concerted prayer for peace on our streets and an end to violence and violent deaths.

The Free Churches Group fully support this cause and join the call for the church to come together as we symbolically conduct prayer walks over 4 Sunday afternoons in multiple locations in the most susceptible communities that represent the North, East, West and South of the city. The mission is to prayerfully take back our streets and our youth.

DATES:

SUNDAY 22ND APRIL 2018
First prayer walk in Haringey
From Tottenham Town Hall (Seven Sisters Tube Station) to Wood Green/Turnpike Lane (Piccadilly Line).
Arrive at 3.30pm, start 4pm, finish at 5pm

SUNDAY 29TH APRIL 2018
First prayer walk in Croydon
From outside Marks & Spencer’s North End Croydon to The Queens Garden by Croydon Council.
Arrive at 3.30pm, start 4pm, finish at 5pm

SUNDAY 6TH MAY 2018
Third prayer walk Locations will be announced in the coming week.
Arrive at 3.30pm, start 4pm, finish at 5pm

SUNDAY 6TH MAY 2018
Fourth prayer walk Locations will be announced in the coming week.
Arrive at 3.30pm, start 4pm, finish at 5pm

More information can be found here: https://thepeacealliance.org.uk

Chaplaincy in FE - A Neglected Opportunity?

As you may already know, over the last few years, the Free Churches Group have been actively seeking ways in which to engage our churches and wider communities in the life and mission of further education providers. The Free Churches Further Education Working Group, chaired by Dr John Wise, have recently published CHAPLAINCY for the Free Churches and Further Education. The paper, by Dr John Wise and Professor Graham Handscomb, provides a thought provoking and inspiring call to action for our churches.... This has been affirmed by the FCG Board and Directors in March 2018 and we are pleased to be able to share it HERE

* Have you thought through and prayed about how members of your congregations might be called to work in FE chaplaincy?

* Have you explored the gifts and vocations of your members and leaders in light of the skills needed for FE Chaplaincy?

To find out more about this vital and inspiring work, contact Sara Iles, FCG Education Assistant: sara.iles@freechurches.org.uk or you could check out the Chaplaincy Central link HERE for some general information on how to get started. Keep us posted with your progress and good news stories! 

The key messages of this FCG FE Chaplaincy report are: “Surely the Lord is in this place- and I knew it not” (Genesis 28 :16, NIV). God with us - There is no part of the created order from which God is absent. There is no part of life from which God withholds his concern and his blessing. If therefore God is present wherever people gather to work and serve, there the church needs also to be, seeking to identify where God is alive and active and speaking in ways that encourage those who engage in that area. This is as much true of the further education (FE) college as it is of the hospital, the prison, the armed services, schools, the university or the workplace. It is simply artificial to make distinctions in this context between the church congregation and the many other local contexts in which people come together and interact.

  • Further Education fulfils a vital role in the local community, providing an environment where young people and adults from every ethnic, faith and social group come together to gain education, vocational training and personal transformation.
  • FE and Free Church congregations have a shared commitment to serve their local communities. They share the common values of social justice, a concern for the disadvantaged and offering a second chance and support to those in need.
  • Free Church Chaplains make an important contribution to the spiritual moral, and cultural development of students and staff in further education. They provide pastoral and confidential support, and promote the value of equality, diversity and difference within the college community.
  • Engaging with further education is a golden opportunity for congregations to take the church to where the people are in the local community.

Furthering the Vision...

Since 2015, the Free Churches Group have been actively seeking ways in which to engage our churches and wider communities in the life and mission of further education providers. The Free Churches Further Education Working Group, chaired by Dr John Wise, have recently published a Vision and Policy Statement for Further Education. This has been affirmed by the FCG Board and Directors in March 2018 and we are pleased to be able to share it HERE.

We would be interested to hear your feedback on this Vision Statement and get your ideas on how your churches and wider church groups and denominations might get involved in this work. For further information or to share ideas and feedback, please contact Sara Iles, the FCG Education Assistant: sara.iles@freechurches.org.uk

The nature of FE makes clear the significant part it plays in the society that our churches seek to serve. There is a clear resonance between the values that drive FE and the core values at the heart of our Free Church heritage and continuing commitment to local communities, mission, outreach and social justice.   This commitment to deepen our engagement with FE will entail doing more to identify and connect with those involved with FE within our own congregations and for churches to seek out and create opportunities to engage with the FE colleges in their local communities.  

You can read more about this important work with FE and the work of the Free Church Education Committee HERE

Prayer for those sitting GCSE exams this year...

Let us pray.

Loving God, we ask to bless and uphold all those who are preparing for and sitting GCSE exams this year.

We ask that you give them courage and wisdom in their endeavours. 

We pray that you will sustain their teachers and exam invigilators in supporting the students and conducting the exams with integrity and diligence, across our schools, colleges and other providers.

Living God, we know that this can be a time of stress and challenge, so we humbly ask for Christ's peace to prevail for all at this time. We pray that each and every student will be able to perform to the best of his or her ability. 

We ask all this in the name of Jesus, our teacher and friend,

Amen