Revd Ad am Ear le The Summe r Holiday season see ms t o fly b y althoug h I sus pect, for some pa rent s, the start of a new school year may come as a bit of a relief. I was blesse d t o enjoy a refres hi ng break, n ot qu ite as I h ad original ly pla nne d b y good n one-the-le ss. Gillian and I spe nt just over a week o n the Isle o f Wight . This has the adv antage of bei ng relative ly i nex pen sive as, apart from the expe nsi ve ferry c ros sing (you ca n get to Fran ce f or less), w e are able to stay with my pare nts w hich reduc es the overa ll cost. We enjoye d sea swims, walks and simp le opportunitie s to d o what w e call “bei ng” out wardly t his may appea r to t he untrained eye to be sitting doin g nothing. It is howev er what God encourage s i n t he c once pt o f t he Sabbat h and what W. H. Davie s refers to i n his poem, What is this life i f, full of ca re, We have no time to stand and stare?” I hope that you all ha d an opportunity to enjoy some rest a nd recuper ation over t he summer period. Read on to find out some of th i ngs th at have bee n goi ng o n ac ros s th e past orate since J une .








Revd Peter Ball On Sunday 9 th July it was go od to agai n welcome R evd Peter Ball to lead our mor nin g worship. Peter will be known to many folk across the pastorate and was one o f our pre vious mi nister s. Since 2017, Peter Ball has been w orki ng at Westmi n ster Colleg e, Cambridge in t he Direct or of Church Resour ce Deve lopme nt. Peter leads the college’s wider remit o f bei ng a Resour ce Centre for Learni ng for t he w hole de nomi nati on, i n addition to taking hi s full part i n college life alongsi de his ot her teach ing sta ff colleag ue s. He works closely with Synods and t heir Training Officer s a nd Mi ssi on Ena ble rs, as well a s servi ng the d enomi nati on a s part of the Walking the Way Steering Grou p and t he Stepwise Task a nd Fi nish Gr oup.
Pet er trained at We stmi n ster (1991-94) bef ore ordinat ion. H e has ha d past orates at Sawston Free Church , Little Abingdon a nd o f course St John’ s URC Ipswich. Bef ore taking up hi s p ost at West mi nster, h e was Mis s ion and Training Officer fo r the URC’s Eastern Sy no d. Peter will be retiri ng l ater this year . His wife Catheri ne, also a n ac tive URC mi ni ster, wi ll be retiring later. We understand that Peter has a long list of jo bs to complete after his retireme nt a nd p rio r to Catheri ne’ s, ma ny o f which will revol ve around their home in Saxm undham. Build ings The buildi n g at St John’s, as wit h all of our chur ch buildings, requ ires regula r atten ti on and mai nte na n ce. Alth o ugh it’ s the newe st buildi ng i n the pa stor ate , bei ng completed i n t he 1980s, i t i s showing s ome signs o f wear a nd w e have ha d t o deal wit h a numbe r o f u rgent matters over the last few mont hs. These have inclu ded a leaky gutter and roof in the sanct uary, directly a bove t he s ound desk which, tha nkf ul l y avoide d da mage a nd the cost to repair t he problem was lower than we feared. However we have had a faile d, and leaking cold water tank which put the buildi ng out of ac tion, with no wate r f or dri nki ng or flu s hing lavator ies, for sever al days this was res olve d qu ick ly but was costly. To cap i t all we have also ha d t o repai r a radiat or and attend to pr oble ms with one o f the u psta irs toilet fa cil ities . Over the last few mont hs we have be en working to repair and repaint the external
fire escape stairs lead ing from the upper h all to the main car pa rk. This work i s now nearing completion. T he struct u ral eleme nts were comp leted by a pro fes sion al provi der and t he rest of the work, in vol vi n g ha mme ring, wire br us hi ng, re moval of debris a nd pai nti ng h as been car ried ou t by chur ch volunteers . A huge th anky ou i s due t o the Bu ildings Team and the ma ny other v olunteer s who have worked so h ard to attend to the problems. The chu rch is grateful to eve ryone w ho plays a regular p art in t he clea ni ng and ma inte n ance of the p rem ises . The re mai ni ng mat ter wh ich nee ds our atten tion is t he front garden which w as da maged b y an ambul ance avoi di ng a collisi on. T ha nkf ully t he de nsity o f the pla n ts mea nt that t he ambula nce ca me to a ha lt with out ca using da mage to t he buildi ng itself. W e are now awaiting the insurance paymen t a nd p lanni n g how be st to rei nsta te and eco-frie ndly fron t garden. Hymn Sing I n t he la st ed ition o f Co nnect we sha red new s o f a Hymn Si ng which to ok place on April. We are planning to hold anot her on e on Satur day 4 th Novembe r . We will be s har ing f ur ther detail s wit h the churches in the past orate (and indee d i n t he area) nearer t he time but hope th at y ou mig ht like to pen ci l the date into your diaries. It will be in the afternoon and, as bef ore, wil l b e follow ed b y te a.




Weddin g On F rid ay 4 th Aug ust Felixstowe URC were delig hte d t o ho st the wedding o f Kayleig h and Dan. The servi ce was conducted b y Rev d David who ha d bee n in c ommunic ation with the couple since their initial enquiry. It is always a pleasure t o be part o f such an important step on the journey o f a couple, as they make thei r vows and lo ok ahea d to married live. May God bless Kayleigh and Dan i n their marr iage . Ukraine 2 Fe lixstowe The chur ch conti nu es to support t he work of th is important p roje ct inc l udi ng the provision o f “T he Hu b” (our former choir vestry). The needs o f ou r Ukrain ian gue sts ha ve sh ifte d ove r ti m e. Some o f the gues ts have retu r ned to Ukraine, de spite the ong oing conf lict . Some have m ove d out o f Felixstowe due to the locat ion o f work a nd accommodation. A key focus movi ng forward will be ra ising money, n ot so much for the g uests who a re in the UK, alth ough w e will not loose sight o f their nee ds, but for sendi n g to Ukra ine t o provide vital supp ort and resour ces for those who face t he day- t o-day challenge s of t he war. We hope t o be able to s up port i n helping to facilitate f und rais i ng opportunitie s for t his purpose. One key way i n w hich f olk are ab le to support our Ukrai nia n guest is b y engagi ng in conversation s, i n E nglish, t o he lp t he m gai n confide nce i n the la n guage. Felixst owe U RC have been ho sti ng a series of “Co ffee , Cak e, Craft and Chat” (C4) sessions, orga nised b y
U2F volunteer s. The first three session s, held o n Sunday afte rno ons, have focus s ed o n produci ng (croche ting) toppers for some of our l oca l pi llar boxes to be di splayed t o mark Ukrai ne Indep ende nce Day o n 24 th August. Any folk who would like t o come along to supp ort with conver sation, pra ctic al skills o r cater ing are alway s wel come. As the war in Ukraine rages o n with n o sight of a swift o r ea sy conclusion, we must continue t o p ray, su pp ort a nd encourage i n any wa y we ca n to he lp the people there . Reaching a Mile stone We ofte n m ark speci al birt hdays, es pec iall y the “milestone” year s. A s o f Septe mbe r, we will have fiv e chur ch member s w ho hav e reached or excee de d thei r 90 th Birthday. To mark this sign ifica nt eve nt, we will be h oldin g a celebrati on tea o n th e afternoon o f Sunday 3 rd September . We would like to congrat ulate a nd ce l ebr ate all th ose of our number who have reached this wonde rful age . A Time to Re memb e r We will be h olding a “Service of Re me mber ing” on Sunday 29 th October at  1 5:0 0 wh en we invite folk to gather and remember their loved  ones . The service h as a re fle ctive tone and i nclud es hymns, reading s, a short a dd ress a nd a n act of reme mberi ng. If you would like to join us o n this occasion, w e wo uld be ha ppy to welcome you. W e share refre shme nts after war ds.



Weddin g On t he after noon of Friday 4 th August we were delig hted to welcome Kate and Paul to our church to celebrate their wedding. Kate’s sister was married in the church i n 2022. The service was conducte d by Revd Adam, a fir st for h im, wh o was also acti ng as the Aut horise d Person. It was raining quite hard bef ore the service, as the gue sts and family gat hered, even when the b ride arrived. We had a joy ful service. By the end o f our time togethe r, the su n ha d made a brea kthrough and folk were able to gather o utside in Ch urch Square for photographs. Ma ny congrat ulati ons to Pa ul and Kate, may God bless you in your fut ure life togethe r. Proj ect40Seven The s hop pre mi ses adja cent to the chu rch o n t he Church Squ are side a re the base o f a new and exciting commun ity pr oject for Leiston . Named after the address o f the bu ilding (47 Hi gh Street) t he p roj ect include s a commun ity café, a c omm unity pa ntry, art s and cra fts f or sa le and ma ny activit ies. T he pr o ject, part o f Creati ve Leiston, also orga ni se s regular eve nts for the community, inclu din g live music in Church S quare. The Church i s p lease d to supp ort the proj ect includi ng i n p rov idin g add itional spa ce f or activit ies wit hin our premi ses. This will include such th i ng s as a Re pair Ca somethi ng which is bec oming increa si ng popular w here ver th ey are establi she d.
Part of the projec t, “The Le iston Pantry” a mea ns of offe ring food, ofte n with limite d shel f life for very low price, has seen high demand. Along with the work of our own Food Ba nk there are many folk mak ing u se of t he resource du ring t hese challe ngi ng times . W hilst it is n ot a ca use for cele brati on that such thing s are i n de ma nd, it is at lea st encouragi ng t hat fol k are able to find t his help . W e are looki ng to work i n partnership with t he pant ry to support on e a not her in the provi sion o f food items i n a compli me ntary rat h er than a compet iti ve manner. Any donations of prod uce or money f or eit her o r bot h p roje cts would be extreme ly wel come . Buildi ng In Use We are contin u i n g to enhan ce the faci lities we h ave to offe r when maki ng our premi ses availa ble f or ot her users. We have recently orde red ne w curtains for the hall a nd are h opef ul that the blinds which cover the b i -folding doors leading to the C hurch Square wil l b e rep aire d and repla ce d. W e have also purcha sed a new s hel vi ng unit s o that w e ca n s ort th e bo oks we m ake availa ble for sale and provi de storage f or t he var ious to ys we ha ve for use b y t he childre n w ho vi sit. We are planni ng to d eclutter and dis p ose o f a number o f thi ngs to make better u se of t he space and make it more attractive. A s with ma ny chur ch build ings, t hi ngs te n d to accumulate over ti m e so we are taking the opportunity t o ti dy a nd make better use o f the storage s pa ce w e have availa ble . There have been a number of new bo oki ngs come i n inclu ding a Pilates Class, cu rrent ly holdi ng a six-week t rial to see how th in g s
work out an d a local theatre gro up will b e using t he buildi n g for t heir regu l ar rehear sals. Other enquiries ha ve been receive d. Local Church Le ade rs Fr Tony Roger s, the Pari sh Priest from All Sai nts Cath olic Chu rch, i n Leiston, is retiri ng i n September. We wish him a fond farewell and tha nk h im for a ll h e ha s done i n su ppo rt of the local community . He has been a welcome part of t he Le iston Chr istia ns Tog ether activities. F r Tony will be moving to Newmarke t . In Septe mber, All Saints wil l be welcomi ng their new priest Fr David Bagstaff. We pray that h e will settle and feel at home quick ly and look f orward to wor k ing al ongsi de hi m. Our frie nds at Le iston Baptist Chu rch will also b e welc o mi ng a new past or in Septe mbe r. Pastor Daniel Bryant and his family moved to Leiston i n August. There will be a service o f welcome at the Bapt ist Church on Saturday 23 rd September. Again we look forward to m eeting hi m a nd worki ng alongsi de hi m.




Working To gether At Saxmundham w e conti nue t o expl ore a ra nge o f ideas for mission and e ngag ement wit h our nei ghbours a nd the wide r community . We a re alway s please d to me et up wit h the me mbers of othe r local churches
including S t Jo hn C ofE (Saxmundha m), S t Mary & St Peter CofE (Kelsale) a nd Ke lsa le Methodist Chu rch. Our ne xt activ ity together will b e the annual servi ce o f Rememb rance at 15:00 o n Sunday 12 th November . T his y ear i t will b e held at Kelsale Parish Church . As usual it will be pre ceded b y the p roce ssi on led b y t he Leiston Royal British Legion Ba nd . T hey also pro vi de ac compa ni men t for t he hym ns du ring the service . Someth in g New In June w e launche d a new activity to engage with folk i n the surrounding area, Start the Week w i t h a Cuppa . Once each month we invite people to joi n u s for refreshme nts, chat a nd activit ies. At ou r June gathe ri n g we were please d t hat one o f our friends b rought her little grandson along, h is cheerful d isposition a nd antics filled u s all with del ight . In J uly, a game o f Scrabble e nsued with a rea l sense of fun and competition i n the air. We now have a “large print” Scrabble set which ha s be en kindly donate d, the tiles and board are somew hat large r tha n the ba sic version. The date s o f ou r f ort hc omi ng gath eri ngs f or the remainder of the year will be: Monday 25 th September, Monday 30 th October an d Monday 27 th November . I f you are over i n our directi on and would like to j oin u s, you would be m ost we lc ome. Ha rv est Event Something else new for us at Saxmundha m, we will b e h olding an additi ona l event to mark the harvest season . If you would like to join u s you would b e more than welcome. As we ll a s re fres hm ents, some stall s and a raffle we will b e offe ring a “Harve st B runch”
of f res hly ma de sou p, bread and f ruit. Do come along and join the celebration. He re are the det ail s:









This a nnounce me nt s hould be a c compan ied with a bit o f a fanfare. We are pleased to announce t hat the new Leiston U nite d a nd Saxmundham URC j oint webs ite is now u p and running. Our addres s is: www.saxurcleis
We have tried to keep thi ngs c lear a nd simple. From the “Home” page there are links to the p ages which give informati on about each of the churches . There i s a conta cts page , a news and diary pag e (covering b oth chu rche s) a nd informati on about ha ll hi re and sa fegua rdi ng. The Calen dar o n the diary p age is easy to update s o we wil l aim to keep thi ng s u p to date. New a rticles will al so b e share d alongside ann ounce ment s and detai ls of spe cial eve nts . We wil l b e a ddi ng m ore i nf ormation a b out the di ffere nt gr oups that mee t i n and ma ke use o f our church p remise s to ea ch o f th e church pages. We always invite feedback, espe cially if y ou notice somet hing th at is out of date, incorrect or have an id ea o f what else mig ht be i n clu ded o n t he site w hi lst keepin g thi ng s stra ig htforward and ea sy to mai ntai n. Over the ne xt cou pl e of weeks, we will b e updati ng the detai ls o n t he URC a nd Methodi st Chu rch websites t hat di rect fo lk to our website. Even if you don’t usually make use of the inter net please d o s hare the web address wit h others so that they ca n acce ss the i nf ormati on.



Mussbach Vi sit Back i n June (7 th 12 th June), as pa rt of our long standi ng a nd ongoing pa rtnership with the chu rch in Mus sba ch, we we re delig hted to we lc ome folk taki ng part i n our annual vi sit.
Various event s and activitie s were orga nized and were much enjoyed by all involve d. On Thurs day 8 th Ju n e there was a vis it to Felixstowe for a walk an d seafro nt refres hment s i t was a rather wi ndy d ay. The Frida y saw much calmer weathe r, a warm S unny day in fact, for our visit to Blickli ng Hall a most engaging and beaut if ul setting. The ret ur n journey was broke n b y a deliciou s meal a t Di ss Golf Club. Saturday 10 th we held a wonderf ul s oc ial evening and meal together. Entertainment include d a giant sudoku, c ompetiti ve jigs aw puzzl ing a nd amusing prize dra w. On Sunday 11 th we ga there d for w orship a nd sha red i n a b i-ling ua l, warm and e ngagi n g time o f worship. If you want to find out more about i t you can watch the service o n the YouTube cha nne l here: .com/watch?v=RY5Ai2wShn8 Annual Chari tie s BBQ Anothe r popula r event in our chu rch d iary is the annual Charities BBQ. On Saturday 8 th July, folk gathe red to enjoy a time of fellowship, s parkl ing conver sation, delici ous food and ente rtai nm ent.
The eve nt wa s very well att ende d and o ver £300 was raise d for “Fa mily First” a nd “Suffolk Ref ugee S upport ”. Holiday @ Home This much wel come d annual event to o k pla ce, this yea r o n th e 25 th and 26 th July. O ur theme this year was “Germany”. Activities included: Painting, Craftwork, Entertainers, Game s, Keep fit, A sing a long and ma ny other s. Home-cooke d food wa s ver y much enjoyed b y all .
On t he second day a marquee was ere cte d i n the Chur ch Sport s Hall f or Ca stle Hi ll's versi on o f an O ctob erfest. No Alco hol but ple nty of tea and cak e! CHAPS Produc tio n The Castle Hill Amateur Players (CHAPS) are currently rehear sin g for an Aut umn perf orma nce of a Pantomime version of the Wizard of Oz story. It is somewhat different to the familiar film and musical version. The performances are scheduled to take place at the c h urch on Thursday 26 th , Friday 27 th and Saturday 28 th October. We hope
that folk from ac ros s the past orate w ou ld come and enjoy the entertai nmen t . Furt her details a nd tickets will be availa ble in Septe mbe r.
The Harvest Fe stival is a much love d a nd valued celebration. We give thanks to God for the ma ny b lessin gs we enjoy and refl ect o n t he bea uty o f creati on and our stewardship of it. We offer gifts o f gratitude, to sh are w ith t h o se i n nee d a nd si n g our hymns o f praise. Here are details o f how and whe n we will be celebrating in our pastora te churches . SUNDAY 10 th SEPT EMBER Leiston Christians T og ether HARVEST CELEBRATI ON & TEA 15:00 in Church Squar e SATURDA Y 2 3 rd SEPTEMBER Saxmundham URC HARVEST COFFEE MORNING & SALE 10:00 11:30 in the Chu rch Hall SUNDAY 24 th SEPT EMBER St John’s URC HARVEST SE R VICE 10:45 led by Revd Adam Leiston United C hu rch HARVEST AFTERNOO N SE RVICE & TEA 14:00 led by Revd Adam SUNDAY 1 st OCTOBE R Castle Hi ll URC HARVEST SE RVICE & COMMUNION 10:30 led by Revd Da vid Followe d by Harve st Lunch
Fe lixstowe URC HARVEST SERVICE & COMMUNIO N 10:30 led by Revd Adam Saxmundham URC HARVEST PRAIS E SE R VI CE 10:45 led by the Elde rs
SUE HARDY LEISTON UNITED CHURCH On Su nday 4 th Ju ne, the Childre n and Fa m ilies Dep art me n t of URC Eastern Synod o rga n ised a Pra is e Pa rty fo r children (of all ag es!) . The party wa s led by Dougie Dug Dug, aka Doug Horley . The party was hoste d by Christ Chu rch, Braintree . This was a n ideal excuse for a girl’s day out wit h my two grandda ug hters, Harper (7) a nd Emma (11). We w ere joi ned by Emm a’s frie nd Be lla (11). Upon ar rival we we re warmly we lcomed a nd taken into the large worship area. The dais ha d bee n “con verte d” to a stage and t he team were preparing. I helped to arrange chairs int o a large semi-circle leavi ng a spa ci ous clear area for children (a nd some adults ) to sit on the fl oor . Doug welcome d ev eryone and explained, with video clips, that bubbles were created
by God and showed u s how God us ed bubbles i n creation. We learned that peng ui ns st ore bubbles i n their feat he rs, releasi ng the m to pr ovi de “jet propulsion” for fast swimming . Another clip showed wha les b lowing bubbles to e nc ircle a s h oal of fish, t rapping t he m be fore scoopi ng u p a large m out hf ul. Betwee n the clips Dougie led us i n p rayers o f prai se and tha nksg iving and led us in som e lively action songs. By this time, I had fully embraced my inner child. It was ne xt time for some bubble making. Dougie blew some large bubbles wh ic h floated above the gathered group. Water pistols we re produc ed to shoot some of them down. A few folk got rather wet but this didn’t da mpe n th e mood. There followe d bubble popping with amusing sound effe cts, more actions son gs and praise a nd more facts ab out bubb l es. Various volunteers e xper ien ce d havi ng ha ts of bubble s built o n their heads, bubble rockets launched from their hea ds. Bubbles were filled wit h helium and sent way u p to the ceili ng wit h chee r s as they reache d the ir destination. Others were filled with smoke and there were even bubbles with in bubbles . Fina lly, the time ca me for the rea lly b ig bubbles wit h more volunteer s c omi ng forward. Some were actually placed inside giant bubble s where they discovered th at they could blow against th e wall o f the b ubble and a small bubble would burst out from it with the child still safely inside. Th e final bubble accommodate d two ch ildre n. The Praise Party ended wit h more si ngi ng and da ncing to the acc ompa ni ment o f a shower of hundreds of bubbles. After warm
appla use for Dougie, we were inv ited i nt o the hall to s hare in refres hmen t s includ i ng drinks, snacks and cakes. The girls quickly fo un d a space at the end o f a table and tucke d in! Tea, coffee and biscuit s we re provided for the adul ts much appre ciate d after all the da n ci ng and excite me nt. As we were leaving t he church w e stoppe d at a small stall se lling some o f Doug’s CDs. I boug ht a set o f CDs so we ca n lear n a fe w new, lively worship songs. Harper became the proud owner o f a dolph in finger pu ppe t. Doug was there and we were invited ba ck into t he chu rch and each ha d a turn at standi ng insi de a bubble – wow!







To: Al l members and adherents o f United Reformed Churches and our Loc al Ecumenical Partnerships Dear Frie nds, Whe n will normal service b e resume d? As we are writi ng this le tter and closi ng off the URC’s accounts for 2 022, the count ry is still torn wit h industrial d isputes, most ly n otably with Health Service worker s, rail industry worke rs, teachers etc. etc. Whatever your view as t o the wisdom or j ustice o f suc h action, we sus pec t al l o f us a re affe cte d by the disr upti on to some degree . In church life to o, are we back to “norm al life”? Some churches n o doubt have retu rne d to somethi ng like their pre-Co v id level o f a ctivity a nd attenda nce numbe rs. Quite a few have recommence d their activi ty but find their numbe rs have reduce d. Some churches have found r e-open ing too difficult and have deci de d to close.
Whate ver t he “new normal” wa s to be, we sugge st its arrival h as (like many tr ain s) bee n disrupte d, delaye d, o r can celle d all toget h er. The URC’s finance off icer s had concer ns th at the late ar rival of t he ret ur n t o norma l ity would impa ct ve ry significa ntly o n the gi ving to the M&M Fund i n 2022. However, t he churches responde d magn ifice ntly and t he givi ng to M&M was £600,0 00 ahead of bu dget . It was also only 2.5% down o n 2021’s res ult. So, tha nk you to all who continue d to contribute to y our local chu rch, t hank you t o all those chu rch es who met their commit ment for 2022 in full, and tha nk you to all those w ho, i n adver sity, c ont inue d to treat the M&M Fund a s the first p riority and pai d what they c ould. With norma l service not yet re sumed, 2023 is n ot goi ng to b e a n easy yea r eit he r. W e now have the add ed disru p ti on of h i gh inflation, pushi ng up wages a nd overhea d costs. A s the Spirit di rects a nd as our mea ns al low , ca n the churches once more res p ond to the call o f our gra cious, lo vi ng and ever- generou s God? Agai n, tha nk you al l! If you have a ny qu estions o r c omme n ts arising from t his lette r, please spe ak to your chur ch treasurer w ho has been pro vi d ed with m ore detai led i nf ormation. If they are not able to help dire ctly then they ca n get in touch with t he finance team at Church Ho use. You rs in Christ, Ian Hardie (T reasure r) Vaughan Griffiths (Deputy T reasurer)










hip NEWS

The churches of the Ipswic h and East URC Pastorate are part o f the Easte rn Synod o f the Unite d Re forme d Church. The Synod has a numbe r o f area pa rtnerships i n pla ce. We are part o f the Sout h Suffolk Area Partners hip (SSAP) . The S SAP cur rent ly i nclu des ni neteen loc al congregations. In addition to the five churches in our pa s torate, these includ e: Christ Church LEP (Ipswich), Wh iting Stre et (Bury S t Edmunds), Clare, Ha verhi ll, Hadle igh, Monks Ele igh, Fra mli ng ha m LEP, Christchu rch LEP (Needha m Mar ket), Southgate LEP, Stowmarket, Ha ug hle y, Stowu pla nd, Mendle sha m and De benha m. We cu rre ntly have four stipe ndiary mi ni st ers in post, Revd David Rees, Revd Adam Earle i n our pastorate, Revd Neil Coul son who serves Christ Church (Ipswich) and Revd Robe rt Sheard w ho ser ves the Central Suffo lk Chu rches includ ing and surroundi ng Stowmarket. We al so work with some of our Met hodi st collea gues, serving t he LEPs including Revd Rita Carr and Revd Sa ul Tadzau sh e. Farewel l to Revd Bryn Rickard In June, Revd Bryn Rickard move d on from Hadleigh to take u p a mission post in Oxford. We extend our th anks and appreci ation to Bryn for all h e di d whi lst m in iste ri ng i n Hadle igh a nd, n ot least of all, for serving a s Inter i m Moderato r to the pa storate du ri ng the appointment o f Revd Adam . We pray that h e and h is family settle well into their new r oles a nd contex t.
We pray for Hadleigh and the other church es cu rrently in va ca ncy (some for a consider able peri od) as dis cus sions ta ke place. The Easter n Synod are working to establi s h a new model for de pl oymen t of mi nisters i n fut ure bu t this will take time an d require s care ful consi derati on. Area Pa rtnership Celebration & Tea On Sund ay 9 th Ju ly, at 16:00, about 35 fo lk from t he vario us churches of t he SSAP, includ ing re p resentatives from our past orate churche s, gathere d f or a celebration se rvice a nd tea at Christ Chur ch Nee dha m Market . We were welc ome d by Revd Rita Carr . Worship wa s led by Easter n Syn od Mode rato r Revd Lythan Nevard on th e theme of praise. Revd Adam ha d a wonde rful ti me at the organ (an i nstrume nt th at rarely ge ts play ed these d ays ) and the sing ing was joyf ul and robust. The bring and share tea, served in the church hall after worship, was i mp ressive as is often t he case o n such oc casions the re w as more than enough to go round. Thanks to everyone who c ont ribute d and to Chri st Chu rch for welcoming u s a n offeri ng such warm h ospitality .
The next edition of Connect wi ll b e publi shed in December 2023. If you h a ve any i tems th at would be suitable for inclusion the n please se nd them to Revd Ada m on r

Eastern Sy


News &



Here are a few key p oints a nd dates from t he July e dition of t he Eastern Synod Ne wslette r. If y ou would like to read the full newslett er, please conta ct Revd Adam t o request a copy. Synod Meeting s The ne x t meeti ng of the Eastern Syn od will take pla ce o n S atu rday 14 th Octobe r at Ca s tle H ill URC fr om 10:00 an d 16:0 0. Fut ure dates and ve nue s are Sat urday 9 th March 2024 at Downi ng Place U RC, Cambridge and Saturday 12 th Oct obe r 2024 at With a m URC. Faith In Ac tio n Day The synod will be holding its Faith in Action Day 2023 o n Saturday 30th Sep temb er 2023 a t Epping United Reformed Church. It will b e an exciti ng d ay of work sh ops, talks a nd youth act ivities o n social justice topics from a variety o f s peak er s. All are wel come.
Following the succe ss o f the Big Day Out eve nt held a t Trin ity Park i n S ummer 2022, we are planni ng to hold another such eve nt n ext year. Please save the date so that yo u can come and joi n the f un – for all ages.













Revd Ad am Ear le As I st ill count a s a “new” mi ni ster, ( I thi n k I can get awa y wit h that excu se f or t hr ee years!), I was invite d to attend the 2023 Genera l Asse mbly o f the Unite d Refo r me d Church thi s is t he largest council o f t he denomination. I attended as one of about ten repre sentat i ves of the Easter n Syn od which also i nclud ed my fellow “new mi nister” Revd Mar k Hayes from T haxt ed URC. Genera l Assembly m et from Fri day 30 th June to Monda y 3 rd July at The Hayes Confe rence Centre i n Swanwi ck. This was a n ideal setting wit h comfortable ac commodati on, good food and facilities. The on e slig ht disappoi nt me nt w as th at the a ir conditioni ng i n the main hall wa s n ot work ing. Genera l Asse mb ly w as attended by seve ral hundre d repre sentat ives from each o f the thirtee n URC Syn ods plu s ecumenical dele gate s w ho we r e invited to be f ull participants in the procee dings. Some additional folk were also able to join v ia Zoom i ncl udi ng some o f the speake rs . Assembly opened wit h wors hip and we the n proceeded to business. There were a wide range o f topics addressed over the four da ys and we attended to a conside rable number of res olutions . The “de cision maki ng” process at Asse mbly is somewhat complex a nd rel ies on conse nsus . Each represe ntative i s issue d with three cards, Orange, Blue and Whit e. Whe n invited t o do s o b y t he Moderat or, w e indicated wit h our orange ca rd if we we re
“warm” t o ac ce ptin g a particular pr opos al or with our blue ca rd i f we were “c ool” to a nd idea and wante d to make furth er repre sentation or ask furt her questi ons. The white cards were used whe n the conse nsu s indicated that all were ready to proceed a nd resolutions were passed b y a two-t hirds plus majo rity . Some o f resoluti on s which proved mo re challenging or nee de d additional work were referre d to a “facil itation” grou p. The group s m ade furth er pr oposa ls a t lat er sessions and resolut ions were then considere d, c onsen sus soug ht and vot es cond ucted. The full colle ction o f papers a nd re soluti ons and m inutes of Ge n eral Asse mb ly c an b e accessed on the URC website. Of particular interest would be the work of the UR C Church Life Review Group. This includes the Theo s Re port ab out the URC complete d b y an indepe ndent group. A copy o f this rep ort can a lso b e found o n t he URC websit e. Search for the U RC Theos report entit l ed “The United Re formed A Paradoxical Church at a Cross roads”. It makes very interest ing rea di ng. One particular point to note is t he induction of the new Moderat or of Genera l Asse mbly for 2024 the URC’s fir st bl ack and ethnically-mi noritise d woman Moderat o r - the Revd D r Tessa Henry-Robinson. Ordai ned in 2018, Dr Henry- Robinson has responsibilit y for four congregat ions in t he East Lo ndo n Group, a mu lti-cultu rally diverse constit ue ncy. Tessa’s i ndu ction is a pr oud mome nt i n the life of the de nomi n atio n.
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