The Synod supports the mission and ministry of our local churches.
Who We Are
Who's who at URC Thames North Synod?
A list of committees at URC Thames North Synod.
Find out about the structure of the United Reformed Church.
There are approximately 1500 local United Reformed Churches Across England, Scotland and Wales.
Thames North Trust
Find out about the Thames North Trust.
What We Do
How we undertake a range of functions to support our local churches.
Discipleship Steering Group
The DSG at the forefront of our commitment to whole life discipleship.
Children & Youth
News on our children's and youth work and activities.
Support for those working with children, young people and adults at risk of harm.
Church & Society Network
The Church & Society Network explores various church and society issues.
Work With Us
Current job vacancies within the Thames North Synod and our partner organisations.
Find a Local Church
Directory of our local churches within the Thames North Synod.
Weekly e-newsletters from the Synod.
Thames North Synod gathers for full Synod meetings 2-3 times a year.
Information and documents relating to Church Premises.
Health & Safety
Health & Safety Policy for the United Reformed Church Thames North Synod.
Additional resources & downloads.
Posted on Friday, November 4, 2022
OPENING WORSHIP was led by Rev Margaret Ali
Using personal experiences and Bible references, Margaret reminded us all of how God created us in his own image, making us one with Him and how Jesus himself recognised prejudice and by his actions, broke down barriers that people had created. He also preached against people’s judgments of each other. We are all one in Christ’s eyes and we should all give voice to this and put it into action.
WELCOME + INTRODUCTION – Sandra Ackroyd
Sandra introduced the programme and the presenters for the day. It was good to refer back to a theological reflection paper found in the last Church and Society Newsletter which was circulated through the Synod weekly news round in the late Spring, featuring the topics of becoming an Eco church and world and working towards becoming an anti-racist church and society. Rev Nancy Babarinde was the writer of this article and she reflected on the inter-connection between these 2 big challenges.
PASSAGE THROUGH LOCKDOWN AND THE WAY FORWARD/FOOD + FUEL POVERTY
FranSpence who was our first presenter, gave an update on how Hertford and District Foodbank coped through lockdown and how it has affected and directed its on-going operation. This led to discussion about food and fuel poverty which as we know, increasing numbers of people are experiencing in our society. The aim of Trussell Trust is to bring about the end of dependency on foodbanks, by lobbying for a fairer living wage and adequate benefits and to encourage more client motivation and participation.
GROWING LEADERSHIP AMONGST YOUNG ADULTS, ESPECIALLY OF BLACK AND MINORITY ETHNIC CONTEXTS.
We then heard from Sheliesa Stewart who is The Children and Family worker for Grange Park URC. She took us through her journey to be coming a part-time voluntary youth leader at High Cross URC, from involvement with junior church to her position in leadership now, as a paid children’s worker at Grange Park URC. She explained how she battled with self-doubt and gained self-confidence and self -awareness of her own abilities and qualities. She explained how this in turn had enabled her to recognise and encourage young people and future leaders to use their talents and skills, in volunteering roles within the church and other places. We discussed how we could help young people in our churches. Many suggestions were made, including:
PALESTINE and ISRAEL- CONTEXT and CHALLENGES Rev Maggie Hindley
Maggie made an interesting comparison and drew a parallel to the plight of the Palestinians in Israel to that in South Africa when going through Apartheid. She had recently joined the ‘’Christian Peace Makers in Hebron and experienced the inequality, oppression, humiliation and persecution of the Palestinians, especially students. With her British passport, acting like a magic wand, it was made very clear how fortunate she was. Maggie shared several stories of those she had met and their real-life experiences of the threats and dangers they live with every day. She said how we must hope for change in the future which will involve the world knowing the truth of what is happening in this region and how difficult it is for Palestinian people to move around or out of their situation. We pray that this occupation will end. We are encouraged to speak out against what is happening there.
Resources to help us become more informed about the situation include: ‘Camden Exchange Visits’, ‘Commitment for Life ‘, Iona, Palestine Story ‘
Maggie then shared this Hebron Prayer: (See below). After lunch we broke into 3 groups to discuss the morning’s topics with some prepared questions from the presenters.
We concluded the day, requesting all of us to be involved with our churches, highlighting church and Society issues, passions and information enabling the sharing of ideas, resources and challenges. Also, we have heard how the General Assembly of 2022 is challenging us to take affirmative action towards becoming an anti-racist church. As synods and local churches, we need to work on strategies of implementing the principles suggested by the General Assembly resolutions relating to the' Legacies of Transatlantic Slavery’. This requires a commitment to action and prayer.
We closed with this MEDITATION ‘WITHIN and WITHOUT’
Come to us this day
Keep love within and fear without
Keep peace within, unhelpful intentions out
Embrace us with your saving presence
Keep wholeness in and dis-ease out
Keep care within and selfishness out
Circle us with your Spirit
Keep truth within and injustice out
Keep acceptance in and prejudice out
Ocean of Love
We offer up the burdens and hopes of this day
Trusting in your mercy and grace
Raise us up to ever new life
In the name of the Rising-Up One, we pray AMEN (Michael N Jagessar)
So, farewell for now, beautiful Hebron.
I am thankful for the hills that surround you,
for your ancient stone houses and your limestone streets,
for the Old Souk,
for the tomb of the Patriarchs,
for the choruses of Calls to Prayer,
for your blown glass and ceramics and leatherwork and keffiyas
and the craftspeople who design and make and sell these lovely things;
for your old, old story,
for giving us Abraham,
father of faith, of adventure in old age,
and of disputatiousness with the Divine.
I am thankful for your people -
longsuffering, hospitable, adaptable, courageous, angry -
and for their beautiful resistance to oppression.
my collusion, sometimes, with the powers that maintain your oppression,
my wish, sometimes, to turn from your suffering,
my reluctance, sometimes, to speak out when others blame the victim,
my unconscious conviction
that I know best, that I am best;
my weariness with the struggle
to bear witness to the injustice
that squeezes the life out of your people, day in and day out.
I regret, and I ask your forgiveness.
Beautiful Al Khalil,
I long for your freedom and your peace.
May the dreams of your children -
that they may walk your streets freely,
that they may be safe from bullets and tear gas,
searches and detention,
that they may build fine schools and hospitals,
and prosper like citizens of any other city -
may these dreams be realised in their lifetimes
or – better - in mine.
City of Beautiful Resistance,
City of Faith,
may your light shine.
I bless you from the depths of my being.
Please pray for Al Khalil’s CPT team of young Palestinians as they return from training in Jordan to the realities of school patrols, checkpoints and tear gas.
Posted on Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Pre-order now for Advent.
Posted on Friday, November 25, 2022
Calling all Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Members of the United Reformed Church.
Posted on Tuesday, November 8, 2022
An Update of Our Work, November 2022
Posted on Tuesday, November 8, 2022
Eddie Boon talks to Martin McManus, leader of the Lumen Project