Thames North Synod Office
St Paul’s United Reformed Church
London W2 5LS
Tel: 020 7799 5000

Church & Society Network

Thames North Synod - Church and Society Network and Racial Justice/Intercultural Relations Advocates

The CHURCH and SOCIETY NETWORK started to get underway in 2015 and coincided with the revised Synod structures relating to the new system for committees and Area Groups of churches. The process went through the Synod committee (MIG – Mission Initiative Committee) and was later adopted  and launched by a Meeting of Synod , when a number of people signed up to be members of the Network. Since then it has produced two newsletters a year and run 4 Church and Society Saturdays at different church locations. At these events the network explored different church and society issues such as inter-faith activities with children and young people; refugees; people seeking asylum; embracing difference; rising hate crime; child line.

It has also drawn on the experiences of local church involvement with their communities, in relation to mental health, food and fuel banks, youth ministry etc. Such involvement has had a positive outcome for several church congregations and the faith of their members. The Network is now linked in with the Synod Discipleship Committee.

This coming 26 October 2019 the Church and Society Network working group are planning a regional Inter-cultural/Inter-generational event inviting adults and young people from churches in Thames North, Southern, Eastern and Wessex Synods. Please watch this space for the poster advertising this event and inviting you to attend. There will be a full programme available.  The themes will be:

  • Climate Change Changes Everything
  • People in Poverty
  • Just-ice or Just-us
  • Celebrating Diversity


  • We have just put together a document describing the work and activity of an Advocate
  • We engage with issues inside the church and those beyond the church, e.g. we have had the privilege in the past 2 years to work with the young leaders of the URC Youth Assembly, encouraging and supporting a greater inclusiveness and diversity in relation to participation by minority ethnic young people; by those sharing leadership in worship; workshops; presenters etc. and the inclusion of minority ethnic young people in the synod and URC-wide Executives.
  • We have re-visited the URC paper, ‘Guidelines for Presentations that take place in URC Gatherings’, which includes the use of language and other aspects of communication.
  • We have engaged in discussions regarding the rise of hate crime in the UK.
  • Some of our advocates are willing to facilitate a meeting or sessions with your congregation or specific groups in your church, exploring issues in the resource ‘Conversations on Diversity’. Please contact us to obtain more information.
  • Our Racial Justice and inter-cultural advocates are part of a URC-wide network and are present in most synods.


Fran Spence, Alex Priddy (Bediako), Nancy Babarinde, Melanie Smith, Sandra Ackroyd, Brian Ball.


Sandra Ackroyd, Shahbaz Javed, Alex Priddy (Bediako), Fran Spence, Nancy Babarinde,  Everton Talker, Francis Ackroyd.

Contact people:

Racial Justice – Revd Shahbaz Javed and Sandra Ackroyd (joint chair)

Church and Society- Sandra Ackroyd (co-ordinator)

 Sandra Ackroyd                                                                                                                      

020 8279 0533

22, Scarborough Road, Leytonstone, E11 4AL

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