Following today’s vote to hold a General Election on 8 June, the United Reformed Church has issued the following call to prayer.
All knowing God, as People of the Way, we look on this General Election as an opportunity to take a new step of faith and faithfulness. We pray that the campaigns, shortly to be launched by political parties of all sizes and traditions, will recognise many of the concerns and uncertainties that face the British people. We ask too that every party will communicate its visions and plans for the future with confidence and sensitivity.
Loving God, as your children, we know that political uncertainty can lead to disquiet within families, communities and churches. We pray for wisdom and generosity of spirit over the coming weeks and months, that Christians will act as arbiters of calm and peacefulness.
Lastly, we pray for our politicians and their families, and for all who stand for election. This time will surely be challenging for those called to public service: we pray for them, and for all who share with them the strain of these weeks.
At Easter we pray in hope and confidence, in the name of the risen Jesus.
The prayer was written by the General Secretary of the United Reformed Church, the Revd John Proctor, and the URC’s Secretary for Church and Society, Grace Pengelly.
John Proctor also commented: ‘As Reformed Christians we care for our nation and its public life. So at a time of General Election, we shall speak, act and pray. We shall speak for honesty and integrity in the campaigning, and for the needs of the weak, the poor and the overlooked. We shall act for peace, by dealing respectfully with others, even in debate and disagreement, and by seeking the common good as we cast our vote. And we shall pray for the people involved, that the demands of these weeks may bring out the best in our politicians, and that those who win may take up office in a spirit of humility and service.’
A Message for Eastertide from our Synod Moderator
Matthew tells of the empty grave and the appearance of Jesus to the two Marys, who ran to tell the disciples, and so became the first witnesses to the Easter story. The news spread far and wide as people spoke of their own experience of the new life of Christ. Within a handful of centuries, the news reached the west coast of Scotland, one of the then known ends of the earth. This is evidenced today in numerous carved crosses scattered along the Atlantic edge, one such being the early medieval High Cross at Kilnave on Islay. Its sculptor being one of countless many who have used their gifts to witness to the rising of Jesus.
We are inheritors of the role to witness to the Easter story, and like the Kilnave sculptor, we may never know how many hearts will be touched by our portrayal of the love of God and new life of Christ. May you know God’s joy and peace this Easter
If you wish to submit a short prayer relating to the current season or an event please use the contact box. Please also indicate that you are happy to have your name used. Not all prayers submitted will be used.
United Reformed Church Daily Devotions
Every day of the year, early each morning, the URC sends out, by email, a Daily Devotion consisting of a reading, reflection and short prayer. You can read them on your computer, phone, or tablet and they provide inspiration in your inbox! The Devotions are written by a team of over 90 people from a range of perspectives and places within the URC. If you would like to receive them you can sign up using the link below and filling in the form.United Reformed Church Daily Devotions Today’s Devotions
Prayer Cycle for Churches in Synod
Please please include the congregation and all involved with the Churches in your prayers
Please pray for Duke Street as the church enters a period of interregnum on the retirement from pastoral ministry of its minister Leslie Morrison;
Please pray for the Elders, Management Committee and members and they discern God’s will for the future;
please pray for continuing conversations with other URC churches in Edinburgh;
please pray for Church Together in Leith and Edinburgh Churches Together and please pray for our continuing work with homeless people and the organisations with whom we work especially Scottish Churches Housing Action as it seeks to develop a way forward in spite of difficult financial constraints.
Please pray for God’s Spirit to permeate all that we say and do in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
This was written in Holy Week just after we found we have a mouse in our Church kitchen. Although we haven’t seen it the evidence is there and as we discussed at elders meeting (light-heartedly) the subject of fear came up and we had a more serious discussion.
Anyone can be frightened: sometimes a noise, the sight of an impending incident, an exciting film, all of these can bring on fear. It is not just humans who experience fear as animals, birds and even mic can show signs. Perhaps, Jesus, you were apprehensive as you were on your way to the cross. You said ‘Father, can this suffering be taken from me? But your will, not mine.’ Help us when we are afraid to remember that as Jesus trusted in God his Father, so can we.
Those who know Dundee Church will know that as the city has changed we are in a relatively isolated position surrounded by buildings and difficult to find unless you know where we are. We may be small in number, but are enthusiastic in our worship and outlook for the future. As part of this we are entering discussions (April) with the Methodist Church to explore how we can co-operate closer in the future. We do not know what that future will be but trust, as we have since our founding, that God will guide and lead us.
We know we are not the only Church to explore their future, to try to discern where you are calling us to be in the 21st Century. You know we are a loving and close knit community and we feel your call to explore the future. Guide us Lord and all in the same position as we are, encourage our discussions to be open to look at change but retain that which we feel is important to our past. Bless our brothers and sisters in Dundee Methodist Church, help them as you help us.
And as is so relevant at this time of year help us to remember that your will be done and not ours.
Dunning has been in existence for just over 40 years beginning as a break- away group from the local St. Serf’s Church and meeting in the village hall it is now small in numbers. It meets fortnightly, still in the village hall and is one of the group of 5 Fife and Tayside Cluster
New life in spring time is very noticeable in a village surrounded by farmland, as Dunning is, and we give thanks for that new life which comes round each year. As we enter the period after Easter we look forward, not knowing everything we will be facing, just as the disciples did not know what they were facing. We recall your resurrection and the hope in new life that you gave to all. Give us space today to simply stop and look around us at all that is coming to bloom and give thanks for all you have given to us.
At the beginning of March, a teenager who had grown up in the church family asked to have her daughter baptised. She herself had not been baptised and decided that this was something she would like to have for herself as well. The church was packed with family and friends who gathered for the service. Many people in the congregation that Sunday had little or no contact with the church, or much experience of worship. The young woman’s readiness to stand up before her friends and make baptismal promises for herself and her daughter was a true expression of faith and a courageous act.
We invite our sister churches in the Synod to pray with us:
Gracious God, we thank you that you continue to call people to be your disciples and that you walk with us on that pathway of discipleship. Whether it is a journey we have just begun, or one which we travelled for many years help us always to learn more of your love for us and for the world. In this season of Easter, through our words and actions may we share the good news of your Son’s resurrection and the promise of abundant life which he offers to all. Amen.
1st January St Nicholas Uniting Aberdeen
8th January Airdrie Park
15th January Week of Prayer
As we begin the year and journey together through the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity let us give thanks for the growing understanding in the Word Church that we are all called to participate in God’s Mission in the world, to be a sign of unity in Christ so that people might believe (Jn 17.21) and to share in the task of helping people have the possibility of living life in all its fullness (Jn 10.10).
We give thanks too for deepening patterns of partnership in Scotland especially in the areas of Church & Society and Education & Learning.
We pray for the ‘Education Forum’ and the new appointment of Peter McEnhill as an Education Consultant or ‘Animateur’ for the Scottish Churches.
We pray for the new ‘Church and Society Forum’ being developed by ACTS and ask God’s blessings on the many campaigns and projects where we co-operate with partner Churches.
Please hold in your prayers the following Local Ecumenical Partnerships that are to be reviewed in 2017:
Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting in Aberdeen
Morningside United in Edinburgh
Mosspark United in Glasgow
Oakshaw Trinity in Paisley
Grahmston United, have just completed a review and Granton United Church will undertake a review in a year or so.
Give thanks for the work and witness of these united Churches and for all local expressions of Christian partnership, formal and informal. We especially remember Stonehouse United Church currently in vacancy and seeking a new minister and the recently formed Murray Partnership in East Kilbride.
Finally your prayers are asked for the national Ecumenical Officer Team. Both Sheilagh Kesting (Church of Scotland) and Elspeth Davey (Scottish Episcopal Church) have recently retired. We thank God for all they have achieved and all that God has achieved through them. We welcome Miriam Weibye (Scottish Episopal Church) as the newest member of the team ask God to fruitfully bless her new ecumenical ministry.
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 18th – 25th Jan 2017
22nd January Annan
29th January Augustine United
Meeting people from many lands is a great privilege. They are generally people we will only every meet once, but please pray that in every encounter visitors have with AUC they would be awakened to Jesus’ message of God’s radical Love and Hope for them as individuals and for our world. And pray for us as a congregation that we would also continue to grow in that same radical Love and Hope.
Augustine United Church Heritage Exhibition
Based in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, 1000’s of visitors / tourists pass the doors of Augustine United every week, keen to learn about the heritage of our city and the origins of Harry Potter (the café opposite was one of JK Rowling’s writing spots). Attracted by AUC’s gothic tower (which does not reflect the rest of the building at all!) many people pop into AUC to see what they can find. So in 2016 we had some research done into the history of our congregation and locality, and had a small exhibition created to engage with the visitors. The exhibition consists of display boards, a booklet and a film which stand just inside our open front doors and which can been seen on AUC’s website. Every day we have tourists dropping in to look at the exhibition and in Dec we offered guided tours as a day in Edinburgh City’s Advent Open Doors.
5th February Avonbridge
We are still making slow progress towards the renovation of our building. The Christmas Eve service saw an encouraging participation of many who rarely come to church.
Prayer: At Avonbridge we pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we seek to live the Gospel message in Avonbridge and the surrounding area. We pray for closer relationships with Christians in other denominations, and for ways of strengthening our ties with the local community. We give God thanks for the fellowship we share as a congregation.
12th February Barrhead
Loving God, we thank you for giving us the opportunity to meet together and to share worship and fellowship, breaking down any barriers which may keep us apart.
We thank you also for the friendship we find in our growing relationships through the Southside Cluster and we ask that you unite us in love.
The “flagship” activity of Barrhead United Reformed Church is our Community Café which has been operating for many years, currently open Wednesdays and Thursdays 10 am until 1 pm, offering good basic food, including home-made soup and home baking, at basic prices. Many of our customers have been with us since day one, no mean feat, as have our band of willing volunteers. The café is also a hub for enjoying an hour or two of fellowship, and many friendships have been formed as a result of first meeting at the café. Our hall is also used extensively during the week by some half dozen local organizations, young and not so young, and again many friendships have been formed as a result of the Church offering the use of the hall to these groups.
19th February – Bathgate
Services for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany were prepared in large part by a group of Church members, who put a lot of effort into finding material and selecting readings, prayers and hymns. The success of all this just goes to show that ordinary Church members are capable of collaborating in the leadership of worship, to the benefit of all the congregation (minister included!)
Prayer: We pray for minister, elders, and all who have responsibilities in the life of our congregation. We pray for those who cannot be with us regularly for worship, due to illness or other factors, and for those who join with us only occasionally, that all may feel welcomed and part of our fellowship.
26th February Beith – Please pray for all involved in the Church in Beith
5th March – Carluke
For a number of years, Carluke URC has been leading a short act of public worship in a local residential care home for the elderly. When our Minister moved to another pastorate two years ago, we took up the challenge to maintain this ministry, and a small group of loyal and committed members has continued to visit the home each month. It has been an interesting experience, full of ups and downs as we have worked to develop a worship format that we can sustain, and one which is meaningful to the residents. We have also put effort into improving our engagement with both staff and residents. Throughout, we have been able to witness the Holy Spirit at work as we have worked and worshipped together.
Living Lord, we give thanks for your Spirit moving amongst us, challenging us to step outside our “comfort zone”, trusting only in Your guidance and support.
We give thanks too for opportunities to serve You and proclaim the message brought to us through Jesus Christ, your son.
We ask your blessing on those coming to the end of their earthly lives, especially those who are no longer able to look after themselves due to physical infirmity or through declining mental capacity. May they continue to know of Your love for them.
Bless too all those who take on the task of caring for others. Grant them enduring patience, fathomless love, and the joy that comes from selfless giving.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
12th March Residential Synod Meeting
Thank you God, for accompanying people along the way…
through the wilderness to the Promised Land,
in Galilean days through Jesus Christ,
and ever since through your guiding Spirit.
Be with us as we follow anew the way of the cross this Lent
and be with us as we prepare for our Synod.
May our gathering be
and hope inspiring. Amen.
19th March Clydebank Morison Memorial
Lord God, you do not make things easy, but you do make life full.
You do not make life without challenge and test, but you do wipe tears and lift up bowed down heads.
You know we aren’t perfect, yet you claim our heart.
You come at us from the inside, challenging our points of view, our intentions and observations; reaching our core, from the inside out.
Help us be your people living lives that are blessings to you and all around us. Amen.
and hope inspiring. Amen.
26th March Coaltown-of-Balgonie
At this time, Coaltown-of-Balgonie, along with the other Churches in the Fife and Tayside Pastorate, are looking at the past, future and developing ecumenical links. Sometimes it can be hard looking to the past and seeing what has now gone, but exciting looking forward at the potential we have as a congregation
Lord God, you continue to give opportunities down through the generations for your Church on earth. We give thanks for the work and activities of our Church in previous years and place into your hands the activities we are no longer able to continue.
Open our hearts and minds to the opportunities you are now giving us to move forward in this place. Grant us the grace to not look backwards but forwards, to not hold onto things because we like them but to hold onto these things which reflect your love and your works.
2nd April Coatbridge
Holy and loving God, creator and provider, we praise you for giving us this abundant earth, and for all its life sustaining bounty. We are grateful for your son, our saviour, Jesus Christ who came to show us a better way, a caring way, a loving way. We are thankful too that your Holy Spirit abides with us and within us. Help us, we pray, to discern your will for us as we seek new premises in which to worship, and help us to remember that it is not our will, but your will, that we should be seeking to fulfil. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
9th April Cumbernauld
Lord God, you are our creator, our sustainer, and through your son, our saviour. Help us to be open to new or different ways of doing things, that we might serve you in this world today, and make ourselves and our church relevant in the lives of those who no longer come to our church, or who haven’t yet come to share in worship. Challenge us, and help us to be open to strangers, those whose lives or lifestyles are not like ours. Help us to remember that all, including us, are numbered as your children, and all are equal regardless of social standing or financial wealth. Help us to grow our church and to serve your kingdom throughout our lives. Amen.
Omnipotent and Omniscient God, we love you with all our heart, will all our soul and with all our mind. We praise you that each year we get the opportunity to celebrate anew the resurrection of our Lord. For he who once was slain, is slain no more; he in whom we put our trust, he who suffered and died on that twisted ugly cross, he whom we thought would rise up and bring an end to tyranny, but who went like a lamb to the slaughter, has risen again to show us that your love is more powerful than death, and to help us recognise that death is not the end but merely a transit station through which we all must pass.
Loving Lord God, you helped us to realise that our hope did not die with the man, Jesus, on that cross but, through the resurrection of the redeemer, our hope has taken on new meaning as we accept our forgiveness and offer it on to those others against whom we have been harbouring grudges.
Loving God, for new life, for new beginnings, for new and renewed hope we offer our grateful thanks, and our praise, now and forever, Amen!
16th April Essenside Drumchapel
“This is the time of the pause…the place of universal stopping.” [Alice Walker]
For so many, Loving God, Lent seems like a call to take ourselves seriously. Jesus call is to take You seriously, and ourselves less so.
We don’t have ashes, but we do have ourselves, the broken pieces of our lives and the broken lives of others. God you are in power to change us. You created us, you breathed into us. And it is you who continues to create anew.
Let us not only repent of sins that mar our emotions, our inner being, our dark points hiding within; but let us repent of sins that mar our humanity and dishonour the humanity of others, especially the most vulnerable in the world. Give us the strength in this season to unlearn opinions and stereotypes.
Give us the courage to realise fully as you see us and as you call us to live. Amen.