The United Reformed Church Chesham

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September/October/November 2022 Newsletter

Dear Friends

On the 1st October the United Reformed Church celebrates its 50th birthday with a service at Westminster Central Hall. The Hall was built between 1905 and 1911 funded by the Million Guinea Fund when a million Methodists gave a Guinea each. Its most famous use was the first meeting of the United Nations in 1946. It is often used for political rallies when speakers have included Mahatma Gandhi and Mikhail Gorbachev.

At Chesham URC we shall be having our own celebration the following day, Sunday the 2nd October, when our celebration will include a service led by our Interim Moderator Alan Yates and lunch. I was not a member of the United Reformed Church when it was created, by Act of Parliament, in 1972. At the time I had recently transferred my membership from the Church of England to the Methodist Church. I remember my disappointment at that time when the proposal to unite those two churches did not receive enough support from the Church of England. I think it was because the Methodist Church had just decided to ordain women as Ministers!

I do recall how strong the Ecumenical Spirit had been, a few years earlier I had been involved with an Anglican youth fellowship, a Pentecostal youth club, a young people’s coffee bar at the Catholic Church and social gatherings at the Congregational Church. I recall being on a panel at the latter when the last question was whether we were in favour of video phones. The other three on the panel where against the idea and time ran out before they heard I was in favour! But I had no idea how important video phones would be in enabling us to continue the life of the church in the recent COVID lockdown! The Pentecost Service organised by the Catholic editor of the ecumenical magazine was always led by a Salvation Army band. Sadly, the expectations at that time that we would live to experience a United Church have not been realised in this country, although a few Local Ecumenical Projects have thrived.

We shall celebrate our birthday knowing we are in good heart with our fellowship strengthened by those who have joined us from Trinity Baptist Church. The Elders have accepted a quotation for the repair of the pinnacles and asked for the work to be done as soon as possible. We shall then install new notice boards to show all who pass we are alive and well.

Three days after our birthday celebration on the 5th October, Alan Yates will lead us in a fortnightly Bible study on “The First Christmas”. You will find details in this magazine or at the Church. I know that those who have come to previous Bible Studies led by Alan will be keen to join this one at the Church or on Zoom, but if you haven’t yet come to one of Alan’s Bible Studies, I do heartily recommend you join this one.

Alan Callow, Church Secretary