St Andrew’s Church – a local ecumenical project including the United Reformed Church (URC) in Skipton, North Yorkshire – installed a six-foot-high, rainbow-coloured artwork outside its building over summer. The wood installation spells out the word “hope”, as a reminder to the community as they made plans to re-open for worship.

The church’s Minister Rev Andrew Webb said: “The rainbow has become a powerful message of hope during these last months. We decided to display it in this way, in our church grounds, as a reminder that despite all the difficulties we face, there is always hope. Our church’s hope is that when people see our artwork, they will know that wherever they are, the God of hope is with them.”

Baptised on Zoom

Many celebrations of life’s milestones may have been put on hold this year, but for United Reformed congregations of Andover, Hampshire, Salisbury, and Wiltshire, witnessing a nine-year-old child’s baptism was not something postponed.

Prior to the baptism service on Zoom for Ryan Fai, the church font had been delivered to his home. With Ministers of Andover, Broad Chalke and Salisbury URC Rev Ana and Tod Gobledale leading the service, Ryan’s family repeated sacramental words, and later lifted a scallop shell and poured the waters of new life upon him.

“Truly, our ‘cup’ overflowed with the palpable presence of God. Family and godparents from Sweden, America and Cameroon were in good supply, creating a fantastic circle of faith surrounding Ryan. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Not even a pandemic lockdown!” said Mrs Gobledale.

The above is a selection of news from the URC that took place over summer.