DigestNews from the United Reformed Church


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Open To All is a touring exhibition by URC minister the Revd Elizabeth Gray-King in partnership with the Open Table Network, which continues to be shown in cathedrals and town centre churches in 2024.

Having already visited Newcastle, Sunderland Minster, Sacred Trinity in Salford and Liverpool Parish Church, the exhibition will mark LGBTQ+ History Month at Coventry Cathedral in February.

The collection of paintings will then visit St Asaph’s Cathedral in March, City URC, Cardiff, in April, Newport Cathedral in May and June, and the American International Church in London in June and July.

The Open Table Network exists to encourage welcoming church spaces for members and allies of people who identify as LGBTQ+.

Elizabeth said: ‘We decided to work together because we share a commitment to inclusivity in the name of God. We have chosen city centre locations because they attract tourists who visit cathedrals and notable buildings. Such visitor attractions are an ideal place to show via my artwork that inclusivity is possible, imaginable even, and shows up in images depicting God topics. If visitors can literally see people in God gatherings with no barriers, it may be possible to imagine Christianity with the Gospel of wide ranging love – Open To All.’

A voice for peace

The Revd John Johansen-Berg (pictured left), Moderator of the United Reformed Church General

Assembly from 1980 to 1981, has died at the age of 88.

John served at Luton and Dunstable, with the Birkenhead Team Ministry, at the Rock Centre, Liverpool, at Fulham Palace Road and at Rubery. He was Chair of the Fellowship of Reconciliation from 2005 to 2017 and he established and ran the Community for Reconciliation.

John was a public face for the Fellowship, engaging the media

Inside: • Effective housing partnership • TGWU supports café • Turkish breakfast for CAP

when he attended vigils in support of his fellow trustee Norman Kember, who had been taken hostage in Iraq.

Richard Bickle, who took over from John as Chair said: ‘John Johansen-Berg was a significant peacemaker, liturgist and theologian of the post-Second World War era. He was a respected voice for peace within the URC, and co-founded the Community for Reconciliation as a way to enable and resource practical peacemaking in the UK and around the world, with a particular interest in the Balkans after the 1990s wars. He also played a part in activating churches towards healing in Rwanda after the genocide.’

Chris Cole, who was a Director of the Fellowship when John was Chair, said: ‘John dedicated his life to peace, and in particular, a peace that was rooted in prayer. Whether with church leaders at an international ecumenical conference or outside a military base with protestors, his work and his witness was for non-violence rooted in scriptures and prayer.’

A celebration of John’s life was held at Collinwood Road URC on 16 December.

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Digest • February 2024 • 1