Category: News

United Reformed Church in second phase of Past Case Review

The United Reformed Church (URC) is launching the second phase of its Past Case Review on 4 October 2016 when the public are being invited to raise concerns formally about the behaviour, or conduct, of anyone affiliated with the URC since its formation in 1972.

The first phase, which ran from September 2015 to May 2016, involved reviewing all URC ministers’ files – both Ministers of Word and Sacrament and Church Related Community Workers.
The Revd Richard Church, the URC’s Deputy General Secretary (Discipleship), is responsible for the Past Case Review. He highlighted the progress to date and outlined the next phase of the ‘transparent, comprehensive and robust’ process. He said: ‘A specialist team read the records of everyone who held ministerial office from 1972 onwards, around 2,500 files, to look for any historic incidents of inappropriate behaviour or abuse that may have been overlooked at the time. Some significant cases emerged, but the majority were found to have been handled appropriately at the time.

 

‘We are committed to listening to people’s experiences, taking each complaint seriously and responding appropriately. We will offer practical care with churches and synods giving pastoral support as they can, while the URC website will also include details of a range of support services outside the church.’

To raise a concern in the Review’s second phase, individuals are invited to share basic contact details by secure phone, email or web form on the URC website (www.urc.org.uk/past-case-review) by 31 March 2017. Complainants will then be allocated a listener who, either through a telephone call, email dialogue, or face-to-face meeting, will give an account of the concern.

At every step, complainants can let the URC know if they want to stop or continue the process. The URC, in turn, will keep the complainant informed as to what is happening.

When the complainant gives the go-ahead for the process to continue, their account will go through the Past Case Review team to an allegations panel of two people who will make the first assessment of the case. After that initial assessment, the account will be reviewed either by (a) an independent specialist or (b) an allegations’ reference group. The recommended action will depend on the level of:

  • risk
  • severity, and
  • available information.

If, at any point, it is clear that the account is current, rather than historical, the complainant will be linked with the person in their URC synod who handles active cases. When called for, a concern will go to a statutory authority. At all times, each case will be managed in synods by adherence to strong and agreed processes.

A learning group will be reading all anonymised accounts and make recommendations about change reflecting good practice for the church in future.

General enquiries:

Past Case Review team, [email protected], 020 7916 8682 to register a complaint.

Further resources and information, including a comprehensive list of pastoral care organisations, are available online at www.urc.org.uk/past-case-review.
URC Church House, 020 7916 2020

Media enquiries:

Karen Carter, Communications Officer, [email protected], 020 7520 2715 or 07976 753 950

Gill Nichol, Head of Communications, [email protected], 020 7691 9865 or 07769 201978

Launch of Past Case Review, Phase One: /latest-news/1756-the-united-reformed-church-conducts-historic-case-review.html

Joint press statement by Farnham United Reformed Church and Farnham Methodist Church

Farnham Methodist Church and Farnham United Reformed Church wish to announce that they have started discussions to examine the possibility of uniting the churches in Farnham. The two churches, which are both located in South Street, Farnham, have enjoyed a very friendly relationship stretching over many decades. They have frequently shared services and exchanged preachers as well as having joint Sunday Schools and social activities in earlier years.

The discussions taking place between the churches are without prejudice to any of the obvious questions that arise, such as the premises that will be used, which denomination will provide a minister etc. The form of worship of the two churches is very similar, but the historical backgrounds are somewhat different and many matters need full discussion within the membership of each church.

Rev Conrad Hicks, the Minister of Farnham Methodist Church, stated ‘Our two churches have worked well together for many years. Exploring the possibility of becoming one church witnesses to the spirit of unity and co-operation that is at the heart of our faith’.  Rev Michael Hopkins, Minister of the Farnham URC said ‘I am delighted that we’re exploring new ways of partnership in the mission we share in Farnham town centre, and look forward to whatever the future may hold’.

Similar local unions between churches took place in Godalming in 1977, and Camberley in 1990.

Peace Evening

DSC_1018 (2)Members from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Tilford & Aldershot branches and the United Reformed Church Farnham met yesterday evening to talk about the traditions of peace and love which are at the heart of both faiths.

After a welcome by The Revd Michael Hopkins, minister of Farnham and Elstead United Reformed Churches the first address was by Dr Rizwan Ullah Khan, president of the Tilford branch of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association. He spoke about the problem of radicalisation and the importance of social cohesion and that the love, peace and respect taught by true Islam was one reason the Association has never had any instances of radicalisation. He ended his words with a prayer from the Holy Quran.

Revd Hopkins then spoke about how many aspects of the theology of Christianity and Islam are shared, and what the costs of war were. Referring to the Ahmadiyya Muslim motto he said that love for all and hatred for none is the same teaching that Jesus brought. He also ended with a prayer.

This was followed by a minutes silence and reflection for the victims of terrorism in recent attacks.

Afterwards, over tea, members of both congregations took the opportunity to talk about their religions, especially the common aspects. The opportunity to better understand each other’s faith was much appreciated.

Spire Cafe has new manager

We are delighted to welcome Anne Tremain to the church staff as the new manager of the Spire Cafe.

Anne TremainWhy not come in and say “Hi” to Anne?  The Spire Cafe is open for refreshments and lunch weekdays from 10.00am to 2.00pm, and on Saturdays until noon.

 

Our minister celebrates 10 years at Farnham URC

On 27 September, at our annual harvest festival tea, we were delighted to celebrate Revd. Michael Hopkins’ 10th anniversary as our minister. Michael was presented with a card and a gift, as well as a cake.

At the presentation, former church secretary Paula Littlewood said, “I know Michael and Rosie will not want us to make a fuss – that demonstrates to me just some of the qualities of our minister and his wife – both are selfless and serve their God with a calm, humble sense of loving duty.”

She recommended the article In the spotlight – the Rev’d Michael Hopkins by John Mansfield in this month’s church magazine. John records that Michael has enriched our lives immensely and he has strengthened our spirituality, witness and our relationship with other Christians in our town and synod.

Paula went on to say that, at Michael’s induction on Saturday 24 September 2005, she had to make a statement relating to the circumstances of Michael’s call to ministry here: “‘We are sure that Michael will help us to grow in love and commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ, and we pray that God will bless his ministry.’ Well, God answers prayer.”

Happy Anniversary, Michael!

Music for a Summer Evening – Rowledge Community Choir

Music for a Summer Evening: The Rowledge Community Choir will be giving a concert in the church on Friday 19 June at 7.30pm,  with wine and soft drinks available during the interval. The choir will not be selling tickets for the concert, but donations will be requested at the end with all proceeds being kindly donated to our church funds.
This concert will contain some beautiful English part songs and a performance of Schubert’s delightful German Mass. In addition to music sung by the choir, there will be a number of vocal solos, sung by members of the choir and by guest soloists who are past and present pupils of Edwin Rolles,  from Frensham Heights and Lord Wandsworth College.’

Hustings on 29th April

Farnham Baptist Church is holding a Hustings on  Wednesday 29th April, starting at 7.30pm. 
 
Mike Causey, a member of the leadership team at Farnham Baptist Church, has organised this additional hustings for the General Election. He writes that all the parliamentary candidates in the South West Surrey Constituency except Jeremy Hunt have accepted: ‘I’m still contacting him to try and get him there, but his agent tells me that he needs to be in another place next Wednesday evening. I still have hope!’
 
Mike states that the purpose of the hustings is ‘to allow a specific opportunity for Christians in the town to ask the candidates about matters that not only cover the typical concerns of the election, but also the moral issues.
 
‘This is for churches across Farnham.’

http://www.farnhamurc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/General-Election-Hustings-at-Farnham-Baptist-Church.pdf

Easter 2015 at Farnham URC – photos

Farnham URC is now on Streetlife

Streetlife is a website to help people keep in touch with people in their local community. It’s handy for sharing practical information like crime alerts, lost pets, recommendations and community events, and for exchanging skills and belongings with locals. On Streetlife you can share news, advice and ideas with your neighbours. You can find people nearby with shared interests, and follow the local groups, places and causes that matter to you.

As part of the local community, our church now has a page on Streelife, at https://www.streetlife.com/page/farnham‐united‐reformed‐church/.

If you are a Streetlife member, please visit our page and become a follower.

If you are not already a member of Streetlife, why not take a look and join the conversation on Streetlife?

Farnham Repair Café has arrived at our Church

Hi all,

The Farnham Repair Café has arrived at our Church. They are in the Large Hall in the morning every 2nd Saturday of the month.  Their experts repair everything you can imagine, from bicycles to clothes, furniture and electrical goods.  And what’s best, they teach you the skills you need to make repairs yourself.  While you wait, pop into the Coffee Bar for a drink and friendly chat.  Also, the guys running the Repair Café are really, really nice.

Have a look on their Facebook page and see what they did in their January session.

https://www.facebook.com/FarnhamRepairCafe