yourchurch has become the first online congregation to be awarded the A Rocha Bronze Eco Church Award – ever! If you’ve seen my article in this month’s Reform, you’ll know that yourchurch started life during the first lockdown as a way for Worsley Road URC to meet during the pandemic.   It soon attracted regular worshippers from across the URC, other denominations, and joiners from South Africa, the US and Germany.

At the end of the first lockdown (July/August 2020), a number of the worshippers voted to form an online congregation, meeting at 6.30pm every Sunday and focusing services on discipleship: what are the big challenges and questions for us as followers of Jesus today?  From the start, the hope was to work with the URC towards becoming a fully-fledged URC church – which our present structures do not allow.  As a way of moving those discussions forward, the Synod is exploring the possibility of adopting yourchurch as Mission Project. Watch this space!

Any focus on the biggest discipleship questions for today can’t fail to address the climate crisis.  The imminent threat of global destruction dwarfs every other question – except, perhaps, the threat of nuclear escalation in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.  Even then, the nuclear threat is only that we could put forward the date of global annihilation – it’s the same threat, and it will still be there even if nuclear war is avoided.

Eco church questions have surfaced in various forms during the past two years.  Daleen ten Cate, one of the Synod’s Green Apostles, has taken several services on these themes.  Out of these, a group was formed, spearheaded by Barbara and Addie Redmond of Bamford Chapel, to see if it would be possible to apply for Eco Church status.

What makes this particularly exciting for us is that it is difficult for an online congregation to translate commitment into concrete collective action.  This has been our first such collective action that gives concrete expression to discipleship as a way of life, not simply a “head-based” philosophical or theological agenda. Our huge thanks to Daleen, Barbara and Addie for getting us to where we are!

If you haven’t done so already, visit https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/ and consider the journey to Eco Church yourselves as part of what following Jesus in the 21 century entails.  And if you’d like to keep in touch with yourchurch news and developments, you can sign up for the weekly briefing at https://mailchi.mp/5665acfdbf5e/yourchurch2010

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