What's the point of Church?

Windermere Online Festival 2016

What’s the point of church?  There are at least there aspects to that question.  The first one: is there any good reason why the Christian church ought to exist? The second: is there any good reason why my local church ought to exist? The third: if you aren’t already part of church, what sort of church would you think was worth joining?

That’s the question at the heart of #WO16.  There’s an underlying operating assumption: unless the Christian Church is making a Jesus-shaped difference to the lives of people and communities, it has no business existing, and we as members cannot justify the amount of time, energy and money that we spend to keep it going.  There is far too much poverty and need and pain in the world that ought rightfully to demand our time, attention and resources.

Browse the content by day, by category, or scroll down for the latest.

WO16: Monday

Monday

WO16: Thursday

Thursday

WO16: Tuesday

Tuesday

WO16: Friday

Friday

WO16: Wednesday

Wednesday

WO16: All the Art

Art

WO16: All the Interviews

Interviews

WO16: All the Poems

Poems

WO16: All the Articles

Articles

WO16: All the Links

Links

WO16: All the Reflections

Reflections

WO16: All the Bible Studies

Bible Studies

WO16: All the Prayers

Prayers

WO16: All the Videos

Videos

The latest from Windermere Online Festival 2016:

WO16: Friday Evening Prayers

What? Today's prayers are from Lucy Cooke. Who? I am Community Elder at St Andrew's United Reformed Church, Monkseaton. I am wife to a wonderful husband and mother to 2 fantastic kids. Focusing my energy on them has become part of my...

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WO16: Reflecting on Day 5

What? Elizabeth Gray-King's visual response to the final day of #WO16. Who? Elizabeth is a URC minister and fine artist, merging the two to visualise her theological understanding of being a follower of Jesus.  For the URC, she is the...

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WO16: Things That Work (5)

What? The Ainsdale Village Church Community Garden is a way for the church to connect with and resource the local community. Who? Francis Brienen is Deputy General Secretary of the United Reformed Church in the UK with special responsibility...

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WO16: The Challenge of Mission (5)

What?What do we actually mean by 'evangelism'? Lawrence Moore's Bible study keeps it at the core of the Church's mission.Who?Lawrence Moore has been the Director of the Windermere Centre for 14 years. He was born and grew up in Zimbabwe,...

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WO16: iChurch Awards

The Results Are In! We are thrilled to announce the winners of the first ever iChurch Awards. The shortlisted sites have been assessed and scored by our judging panel, and the scores have been collated. The Judging Panel: Lawrence Moore...

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WO16: Kingdom Values

What? Lawrence interviewed Michael Jaggessar to find out what he thinks is the point of Church. Who? Michael Jaggessar is the Secretary for Global and Intercultural Ministries in the United Reformed Church, as well as being a writer, reader,...

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WO16: Looking Afresh at Vision2020

What? A resource to help you revisit creatively the statements from the United Reformed Church's Vision2020 mission framework. Who? Fiona Thomas is the Secretary to the Education and Learning Committee of the United Reformed Church....

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WO16: Appreciating Each Other

What? We had a chat with Fiona Thomas, and she explained about how Appreciative Inquiry approaches work. Who? Fiona Thomas is the Secretary to the Education and Learning Committee of the United Reformed Church. Fiona Thomas talks about...

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WO16: What Separates Us?

What? In a message from Pittsburgh, Bungie asks us to think about whether we are gathered in Christ when we are geographically - or temporally - distant. Who? Bungie is the Convenor of the Windermere Management Committe and the Ecumenical...

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WO16: #Enough

What? The Joint Public Issues Team's campaign is a way churches can challenge proposed welfare reform. Who? The Joint Public Issues Team is a venture of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church and...

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WO16: My Prayer

What? Looking at a poster by Micah Purnell that calls us all to face the challenge, 'Love thy neighbour'. Who? Micah Purnell is a trained graphic designer and artist who uses both skills to debate contemporary ideology. His work is often...

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WO16: The Point of Church

What? Graham Adams suggests that the Church is called to be sign, sacrament, and agent of God's mission. Who? I’m in my fourth year as Tutor in World Christianity (including Mission Studies) and World Faith traditions at Northern College,...

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WO16: 40Acts

What? You could make a difference to those around you, on your own or as a group, using the 40Acts resources. Who? From the Stewardship website: "We're Stewardship. Since 1906 we've been helping the Christian community in the UK to give and...

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WO16: The Church and Money (3)

What? Kevin Snyman explores the consequences of, and alternatives to, money. Who? Nadene and I came to the UK seven years ago having sensed God's call to work here in 1999/2000. I work as the Mission Enabler for the West Midlands Synod of...

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WO16: Fighting Financial Exclusion

What? Simon Loveitt explains how credit unions and food banks are part of the church's prophetic and practical response to poverty. Who? Simon Loveitt is a church related community work minister and since September 2014 has been working with...

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WO16: Follow More Nearly

What? We asked Dan Morrell what he thinks is the point of church - and he talked about how community projects bring people closer to each other, and closer to God. Who? Dan Morrell, 19, is the new URC Youth Assembly Moderator-Elect, having...

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WO16: Faith Poems (5)

What? In today's final poetry reading for this year's Windermere Online Festival, Lucy Berry is thinking about the Kingdom. Who? Lucy Berry is a performance poet, a mum, and a minister. As a former advertising woman she finds Church and...

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Environment and Stewardship (4)

What? Rosalind Selby offers one more really useful resource for thinking about environmental issues: Bible study notes. Who? Rosalind Selby is a URC minister (having served in Thames North Synod) and Principal of Northern College where her...

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WO16: Friday Morning Prayers

What? Today's prayers are from Lucy Cooke. Who? I am Community Elder at St Andrew's United Reformed Church, Monkseaton. I am wife to a wonderful husband and mother to 2 fantastic kids. Focusing my energy on them has become part of my...

read more

WO16: Thursday Evening Prayers

What? Today's prayers are from Revd. Ana Gobledale. Who? Ana Gobledale is minister at Broad Chalke, Andover & Salisbury United Reformed Churches in the Wessex Synod. Click the black button to download the PDF file, for use on-screen or...

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WO16: Reflecting on Day 4

What? Art from Elizabeth Gray-King offering a visual interpretation of today's Festival content. Who? Elizabeth is a URC minister and fine artist, merging the two to visualise her theological understanding of being a follower of Jesus.  For...

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WO16: Things That Work (4)

What? 'Reaching Men of All Ages' is the name - and the aim - of the project Francis Brienen highlights today. Who? Francis Brienen is Deputy General Secretary of the United Reformed Church in the UK with special responsibility for Mission....

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WO16: The Challenge of Mission (4)

What? Lawrence's fourth Bible study tackles John 3: 16-17. Who? Lawrence Moore has been the Director of the Windermere Centre for 14 years. He was born and grew up in Zimbabwe, where dealing with his experiences in political and military...

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WO16: Art to Reflect On (4)

What? Paul's Conversion on the Road to Damascus completes our series of paintings for reflection from Neil Thorogood. Who? Neil was ordained in 1992 and has served pastorates in West Yorkshire and Hertfordsire. In 2005 he became Director of...

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WO16: Where is God Taking Us?

What? In an article from Revd. Mark Meatcher, we are challenged to think clearly about what the Church is and what the Church should be. Who? Revd Mark Meatcher is currently the Group Minister for the Chelmsford Group of the United Reformed...

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WO16: Ordination Promises (4)

What? In this, the final part of his series of reflections, Neil Thorogood considers the third commitment that new ministers make when being ordained into Ministry of Word and Sacrament in the United Reformed Church. Who? Neil was ordained...

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WO16: Gospel Hospitality

What? Dan Morrell reflects on the hospitality he experienced during a group visit to Taiwan in 2015. Who? Dan Morrell, 19, is the new URC Youth Assembly Moderator-Elect, having previously served as Communications Coordinator on FURY Advisory...

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WO16: Youth Assembly Speaks

What? People at the URC Youth Assembly 2016 last weekend were asked what they think is the point of Church. Who? The United Reformed Church Youth encompasses everyone aged 11-25 connected to the United Reformed Church. The annual Youth...

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WO16: Hospitality (4)

What? Jerry Jackson shows us how to make salmon tagliatelle, in the fourth video behind-the-scenes with the Windermere Centre team. Who? Jerry Jackson is the Second Chef at the Windermere Centre. Hospitality (4) from Lawrence Moore on...

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WO16: Mission Questions

What? Thought-provokers from Paul Revill: questions to help you and your church face the challenge of mission today. Who? After half-training as an architect, I spent ten years in youth ministry with Youth for Christ in Newcastle, developing...

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WO16: Making A Difference

What? Mal Breeze describes the case study of Westbury Gardens URC in Blackburn, and their move into fresh missionary purpose. Who? Mal Breeze is a Church-Related Community Worker, currently engaged in the Together Making A Difference project...

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WO16: Pastoral Impact of Dementia

What? Revd. Samantha White talks about the effects of dementia on the church community. Who? Samantha (Sam) White is the Director of Pastoral and Church Programmes at Westminster College. She teaches Pastoral Studies and is developing the...

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WO16: Faith Poems (4)

What? Today, poet Lucy Berry offers a reading of three of her poems, considering how we use church, and expressing sadness at how it doesn't always serve the people who need the church's help. Who? Lucy Berry is a performance poet, a mum,...

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WO16: Environment and Stewardship (3)

What? What can you, or your church, do today to make a difference? Lots of tips from Rosalind Selby in her third reflection on environmental issues. Who? Rosalind Selby is a URC minister (having served in Thames North Synod) and Principal of...

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WO16: Thursday Morning Prayers

What? Today's prayers are from Revd. Ana Gobledale. Who? Ana Gobledale is minister at Broad Chalke, Andover & Salisbury United Reformed Churches in the Wessex Synod. Click the black button to download the PDF file, for use on-screen or...

read more

WO16: Wednesday Evening Prayers

What? Today's prayers are from Revd. Rosalind Selby. Who? Rosalind Selby is a URC minister (having served in Thames North Synod) and Principal of Northern College where her teaching is mainly in the area of New Testament, and she has a...

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WO16: Reflecting on Day 3

What? Elizabeth Gray-King offers a visual response to today's material. Who? Elizabeth is a URC minister and fine artist, merging the two to visualise her theological understanding of being a follower of Jesus.  For the URC, she is the...

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WO16: Things That Work (3)

What? Francis Brienen talks further about the Things That Work projects. Who? Francis Brienen is Deputy General Secretary of the United Reformed Church in the UK with special responsibility for Mission. She is from the Netherlands and has...

read more

WO16: The Challenge of Mission (3)

What? The third in the series of Bible studies from our Director, Lawrence Moore; today he considers 'the challenge of money'. Who? Lawrence Moore has been the Director of the Windermere Centre for 14 years. He was born and grew up in...

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WO16: Art to Reflect On (3)

What? A painting by Neil Thorogood, looking at the scene on the road to Emmaus from above. Who? Neil was ordained in 1992 and has served pastorates in West Yorkshire and Hertfordsire. In 2005 he became Director of Pastoral Studies at...

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WO16: iChurch Awards – The Shortlists

Here at the Windermere Centre, we've been working with all kinds of churches and people over recent years, helping them to build a credible web-presence for themselves without their needing to hire expensive experts or know a single line of...

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WO16: Ordination Promises (3)

What? The second of the ordination vows for Ministers of Word and Sacrament in the United Reformed Church talks about intention, and committing to 'live a holy life'. Neil Thorogood reflects on the implications of these promises. Who? Neil...

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WO16: Connect

What? Is there any point in churches using social media? Hannah explores whether online connections are real connections. Who? I'm Hannah. I'm almost 30 and I live in Bedford with Chris my husband, Our Sidekick aka our foster son and Jaxon,...

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WO16: Holocaust Memorial Day

What? St. Andrew's United Reformed Church, Monkseaton, share an interactive version of their re-lite: HMD2016 session that took place on Sunday 24th January 2016. Who? St. Andrew's is the United Reformed Church in Monkseaton, Whitley Bay in...

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Hospitality (3)

What? In the third of a series of behind-the-scenes films from the Windermere Centre, Debbie Martin shows how to make gluten-free goodies really quickly. Who? Debbie Martin is the Head Chef at the Windermere Centre. She lives in Windermere...

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WO16: The Church and Money (2)

What? Kevin Snyman reflects on our question, 'what's the point of church?', in relation to how money is an obstacle to the Kingdom. Who? Nadene and I came to the UK seven years ago having sensed God's call to work here in 1999/2000. I work...

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WO16: Church Buildings and Community

What? Simon Loveitt talks with Lawrence about using church buildings for mission in the community. Who? Simon Loveitt is a church related community work minister and since September 2014 has been working with the Manor Church and Community...

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WO16: How to Create Missional Churches

What? Paul Revill talks about how to keep mission at the heart of the church. Who? After half-training as an architect, I spent ten years in youth ministry with Youth for Christ in Newcastle, developing their 'Rock Solid clubs' programme for...

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WO16: Faith Poems (3)

What? Is it our church, or God's? This is the question Lucy Berry's poetry reading addresses today. Who? Lucy Berry is a performance poet, a mum, and a minister. As a former advertising woman she finds Church and churches mysterious: "we...

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WO16: Reflections on Day 2

What? Elizabeth Gray-King's piece in response to the second day of content from WO16. Who? Elizabeth is a URC minister and fine artist, merging the two to visualise her theological understanding of being a follower of Jesus.  For the URC,...

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WO16: Wednesday Morning Prayers

What? Today's prayers are from Revd. Rosalind Selby.   Who? Rosalind Selby is a URC minister (having served in Thames North Synod) and Principal of Northern College where her teaching is mainly in the area of New Testament, and she has...

read more

WO16: Tuesday Evening Prayers

What? Today's prayers are from Revd. Howard Sharp. Who? Howard spent 9 years as a secondary school teacher before training for the URC ministry. He served for 10 years as minister of a joint Baptist/URC in Pontypridd, 10 years as minister of...

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WO16: Things That Work (2)

What? Francis Brienen talks further about the Things That Work projects. Who? Francis Brienen is Deputy General Secretary of the United Reformed Church in the UK with special responsibility for Mission. She is from the Netherlands and has...

read more

WO16: The Challenge of Mission (2)

What? A Bible study from Lawrence Moore, in which he asks, 'what on earth happened to the Kingdom in the mission of the church?' Who? Lawrence Moore has been the Director of the Windermere Centre for 14 years. He was born and grew up in...

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WO16: Art to Reflect On (2)

What? Here's one of Neil Thorogood's paintings imagining what we would see if we looked down on Bible scenes from the air. Who? Neil was ordained in 1992 and has served pastorates in West Yorkshire and Hertfordsire. In 2005 he became...

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WO16: Dear Progress

What? An introduction to Dear Progress, by artist Micah Purnell, which he describes as 'an open letter regarding issues facing consumers of Western progress written on the billboards of Manchester.' Who? Micah Purnell is a trained graphic...

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WO16: Ordination Promises (2)

What? Today, Neil Thorogood walks us through the first of three promises that new Ministers make when ordained to Word and Sacrament within the United Reformed Church. Who? Neil was ordained in 1992 and has served pastorates in West...

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WO16: What’s the Point of Worship?

What? We asked Ana Gobledale, 'what's the point of worship?'. Here you can read the poem she wrote in response. Who? Ana Gobledale is minister at Broad Chalke, Andover & Salisbury United Reformed Churches in the Wessex Synod. Worship...

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WO16: Being a Missional Community

What? Andrea Campanale writes about the mission community, Sacred Space Kingston. Who? Andrea Campanale is a mission partner and lay pioneer with the Church Mission Society. Click here to view the article: Developing a theory of church for a...

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Hospitality (2)

What? We go behind the scenes with the Windermere Centre hospitality team again, and Ewa (with a bit of help from Renata) shows us how the team prepare a room for guests. Who? Ewa and Renata both work in the hospitality team at the...

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WO16: Worship Words

What? Revd. Ana Gobledale explains why she believes worship is important to her own faith as well as to the life of the church. Who? Ana Gobledale is minister at Broad Chalke, Andover & Salisbury United Reformed Churches in the Wessex...

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WO16: Church in the Community

What? Lawrence talks with Mal Breeze, a Church Related Community Work Minister in the United Reformed Church, about taking church to the people and sharing the gospel in practical ways. Who? Mal Breeze is a Church-Related Community Worker,...

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WO16: The Church and Money (1)

What? Kevin Snyman explores what the implications might be of Jesus' exhortation, 'You can't serve both God and Mammon'. Who? Nadene and I came to the UK seven years ago having sensed God's call to work here in 1999/2000. I work as the...

read more

WO16: Faith Poems (2)

What? This is the second in a series of poetry readings recorded for the Windermere Online Festival 2016 by Lucy Berry. Who? Lucy Berry is a performance poet, a mum, and a minister. As a former advertising woman she finds Church and churches...

read more

WO16: Environment and Stewardship (2)

What? Rosalind Selby offers a second reflection on our responsibilities towards the earth we live on. Who? Rosalind Selby is a URC minister (having served in Thames North Synod) and Principal of Northern College where her teaching is mainly...

read more

WO16: Tuesday Morning Prayers

What? Today's prayers are from Revd. Howard Sharp. Who? Howard spent 9 years as a secondary school teacher before training for the URC ministry. He served for 10 years as minister of a joint Baptist/URC in Pontypridd, 10 years as minister of...

read more

WO16: Monday Evening Prayers

What? Today's prayers are from Revd. Rowena Francis. Who? Rowena is a United Reformed Church minister serving in Wells, Somerset and a group of churches in Mid-Somerset. A nurse and midwife before ordination 25 years ago, since when she has...

read more

WO16: Reflecting on Day 1

What? Artist Elizabeth Gray-King offers a visual reflection on the first day's content of the Windermere Online Festival. Who? Elizabeth is a URC minister and fine artist, merging the two to visualise her theological understanding of being a...

read more

WO16: Things That Work (1)

What? Have a look at http://thingsthatwork.urc.org.uk. These are things that work. If you are serious about mission and are looking for inspiration, you have come to the right place. Here you will find the stories of churches that are...

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WO16: Coming up in iChurch this week

What is iChurch? iChurch is a network of websites built using the iChurch template. In many cases, the website administrator has had training at the Windermere Centre, having started with no website (or an outdated one) and no expertise. In...

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WO16: The Challenge of Mission (1)

What? A Bible study, provided as an audio file, from the Windermere Centre's Director, Lawrence Moore, considering the challenge of mission. Who? Lawrence Moore has been the Director of the Windermere Centre for 14 years. He was born and...

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WO16: Art to Reflect On (1)

What? We asked Neil Thorogood to share with us some of his paintings, as aids to reflection, the first of which is offered here as the first day of the Festival draws towards an end. Who? Neil was ordained in 1992 and has served pastorates...

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WO16: Missional Community

 What? Andrea Campanale offers the Sacred Space Kingston blog as a resource for growth in a missional spirituality. Who? Andrea Campanale is a mission partner and lay pioneer with the Church Mission Society. Andrea set up Sacred Space...

read more

WO16: Ordination Promises (1)

What? Neil Thorogood reflects on the ordination vows for Ministers of Word and Sacrament in the United Reformed Church. Who? Neil was ordained in 1992 and has served pastorates in West Yorkshire and Hertfordsire. In 2005 he became Director...

read more

WO16: Is there a point of Church?

What? Pam Noonan offers a reflection on our Festival theme, 'What's the point of Church?' Who? Pam Noonan is a non-stipendiary URC  minister in the South Lakes Group in Cumbria, based mainly in Kendal. She and her husband moved there from...

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WO16: Hillside Residents

What? We asked Church-Related Community Worker (CRCW) Mal Breeze about his work. Here's the story he told us of how the residents on a housing estate in Blackburn have worked together to transform their patch. Who? Mal Breeze is a...

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WO16: Hospitality (1)

What? The Windermere Centre's mission is 'to resource the Church through hospitality and theological adventure'. In the first of a series of little videos showing you behind-the-scenes at the Windermere Centre, Tracy, a member of the...

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WO16: Mission-shaped Church

What? Simon Loveitt talks with our Director around our Festival theme, "what's the point of church?" Who? Simon Loveitt is a church related community work minister and since September 2014 has been working with the Manor Church and Community...

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WO16: Missional Discipleship

What? We caught up with the United Reformed Church's Deputy General Secretary for Discipleship, Richard Church, and asked him what Missional Discipleship is all about, and what he thinks is the point of Church. Who? Richard currently serves...

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WO16: Faith Poems (1)

  What?   Lucy Berry, performance poet and United Reformed Church Minister, has recorded a series of readings of her poetry for this year's Windermere Online Festival.   Who?   Lucy Berry is a performance poet, a mum, and...

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WO16: Environment and Stewardship (1)

  What?   Faith and theology are not particular subject areas with their own “curriculum” - presumably things like Bible, prayer, doctrine, preaching, hymnody etc.  Rather, faith is the lens through which we view the whole of life,...

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Welcome!

What's the point of Church? That's the theme for this year's Windermere Online Festival, and we're hoping to provide you with content that provokes conversation, makes you think, and serves as a resource for you and your church. Each day of the Festival will begin and...

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WO16: Monday Morning Prayers

What? Today's prayers are from Revd. Rowena Francis. Who? Rowena is a United Reformed Church minister serving in Wells, Somerset and a group of churches in Mid-Somerset. A nurse and midwife before ordination 25 years ago, since when she has...

read more