39, Frederick Street, Loughborough. LE11 3BH
Loughborough URC Pastorate Profile 2020
in a joint pastorate with Melton Mowbray URC
1. What are we here for?
Our Church Vision: Motivated by Christ’s love for us and compassion for others, our purpose is to use the resources and opportunities available to us in our daily lives, both as a church and individually, lovingly to persuade other people to become committed followers of Jesus Christ and responsible members of His growing Kingdom.
Loughborough URC is situated in the heart of the thriving market town of Loughborough in Leicestershire.
The settled population of around 68,000 is large enough to include people originally from many parts of the world, but small enough to feel cohesive. During term time the population is enhanced by some 16,000 students attending the first-rate university (well known for sport among other things) and specialist colleges (e. g. for Art and Librarianship).
Loughborough has good rail, coach and bus connections with Derby, Nottingham and Leicester as well as Birmingham and London. East Midlands airport is 15 minutes away,
The town maintains good community relations through various voluntary organisations such as Equality Action, Loughborough Council of Faiths and Charnwood Arts. The church has good relations with all of these.
We are part of Loughborough Churches Partnership (LCP), a flourishing body involving nearly all of the churches in the town from traditional to recently established. There are joint events organised through the year, although with Covid19 many gatherings have had to be on-line. The URC has been very much involved with LCP, both in its foundation and in its continuing work.
b. Who are we?
Loughborough United Reformed Church was founded in 1828, but moved to its present site in 1908. It was a Congregational Church until 1974 – there was no Presbyterian Church in Loughborough.
The style of our Worship is traditional but relaxed, reverent and relevant to our mission as disciples of Christ.
In 2009 we registered with the Charity Commission.
Our Elders are also Trustees.
Our theological outlook is broad and inclusive, and our membership reflects different shades of the theological spectrum. Our fellowship is loving, tolerant and supportive of one another, and any differences of theological emphasis tend to strengthen us rather than divide us. We welcome opportunities to re-discover and grapple with our faith. The keynote of our congregation is love, with a warm atmosphere. We are constantly told by newcomers, both casual and regular, that they always feel welcomed, and that there is a warm atmosphere about the church, even when the building is empty.
Our Church Vision is that we should be ‘Motivated by Christ’s love’ as we offer opportunities for:
- Worship and Friendship
- Exploring the Bible
- Community groups to use our premises
- Social gatherings
- Exploring world issues
Our Mission Statement states: ‘We seek, in everything we do, to show Christ to the world through loving action.’ We are doing this through:
- Nurturing our community through worship and care
- Encouraging people to explore “faith”
- Using our resources to enable people to come together
- Sharing our resources with the community
- Promoting peace and justice in the wider world
c. What do we do?
The Worship Team, of three retired Ministers and a retired CRCW, meet quarterly, together with others involved in worship, to plan our services of worship.
We hold weekly worship on a Sunday morning at 10.30am when government regulations allow. In non-covid19 times this was followed by coffee and tea and the opportunity to purchase items from the Fairtrade stall. The second Sunday of the month includes Holy Communion. We operate an open table, and welcome children to partake of communion with their parents’ consent. Average attendance is 35-40. Generally speaking, we follow the Lectionary readings. During the current restrictions we have made the church building a COVID-19-secure environment getting 25-30 attendees. The service is zoomed out to those who are unable to attend. We also hold Afternoon Praise at 4pm which is attended by zoom only with over 20 people involved. This is led by members of the Worship Team and volunteers from the congregation
In non-covid19 times we held an evening Communion service at 6.30pm on the fourth Sunday of each month. This was a less formal service, held in our main church meeting room, and was led on a rota basis by members of our Worship Team and others. Attendance was around 10 – 15.
Many of our members are on the rota for reading the lessons, and individual members are invited to lead intercessions on two Sundays in the month. We have a choir who lead our singing but at present covid19 restrictions say we cannot sing. We normally use ‘Rejoice and Sing’ and ‘Combined Mission Praise’ as our sources of hymns but we also regularly enjoy singing hymns and music written by one of our members.
Church and Elders’ Meetings
Church meetings are normally held in January, March (AGM), June, September and November (Election of Officers and Representatives), together with a non-business meeting in May, to which we usually invite an outside speaker, or debate a topic of common interest. Our meetings are currently held on the evening of the third Wednesday in the month. At our Church Meetings ministry and worship, pastoral care, church activities, the wider church and community activities always appear as agenda items, together with reports submitted from our Church Groups covering mission and outreach, social events, and buildings and finance matters, although we do not necessarily discuss each of these items in detail at every meeting. Our average attendance at Church Meeting is around 30 members.
We normally hold eleven monthly Elders’ Meetings in the year, with the option to meet in August as well if necessary. We generally meet on the first Monday of each month, but reschedule when necessary. Our standard agenda is similar to that for Church Meetings, including sharing of pastoral concerns, and we encourage convenors of our Church Groups to submit written reports in advance of each meeting to minimise the need for detailed discussion of day-to-day items.
Church Groups and Activities
We have two home-based Bible Study Groups which meet fortnightly in the day-time, both well attended. One continues by zoom, the other keeps up regular contact with members by visits and telephone.
Extra Bible study sessions are arranged for Lent and Advent.
In addition, there is an evening monthly Book Club, which in pre covid19 times took the form of a bring-and-share meal, followed by discussion of a Christian Book. Sometimes we also used art or music to trigger a discussion. This is presently done by zoom. When Covid19 allows we have several social activities. 3Cs is a group that invites a variety of speakers and attracts some from outside the church membership. We also had an afternoon tea session for a few who valued the companionship which included a variety of activities. Our Quiz nights and Fish and Chip suppers with a film have been very popular. We hope these activities can be shared again soon.
One of our members produces a daily prayer calendar which is distributed to everyone in the congregation. Another member produced the ‘LINK’, our monthly church magazine. The ‘LINK’ was one of the main methods of communication within the congregation as well as on our website. This is currently circulated on-line with printed copies for those without on-line access. Our web address is www.loughboroughurc.co.uk Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Buildings Management and Finance
This group, which includes the Treasurer, oversees the maintenance and development of our buildings, ensuring that all legal requirements are complied with; manages room lettings and rentals; and has general oversight of our finances. The main focus currently is on marketing our premises to groups within the town and developing a long-term plan for further modernising and improving our premises. We now employ a Centre Manager and two paid cleaners.
A number of improvements to our buildings have taken place, including extensive work on the sanctuary for our centenary and, commencing in 2010, work on the Community Centre. The kitchen was completely refurbished to commercial catering standards and a ground floor DDA toilet upgrade. The larger ground floor rooms have been completely refurbished to a specification for conferences and classes that require overhead projection onto a wall mounted screen. These rooms are also fitted with a hearing loop system.
The Minister’s Vestry/Church office and Choir meeting room on the ground floor have been upgraded and fitted with a telephone, PC Computer, multi-function copier and Wi Fi access. The large first floor room has accessible male and female toilet facilities and a self-contained kitchen.
We have a car park at the side of the Church suitable for a limited number of vehicles.
The Church Rooms are regularly let to the following external user groups: –
- Loughborough U3A and Charnwood U3A,
- The Stroke Club,
- Loughborough Charnwood Concert Band,
- Loughborough Boxing and Judo Club,
- The Well Church Language Class,
- Over 80’s Exercise Class,
- Kumon Maths,
- Guides and Brownies,
- Maria’s Little Singers,
- Slimming World,
- ESNA Theatre Group,
- Neal Academy of Dance, J K School of Dance,
- Jo Jingles Group,
- Greasepaint Theatre,
- Starlight Youth Theatre,
- Boogie Bounce,
- Frenzie Drama,
- The Creation Station.
- The Well Church have their office on the mezzanine floor with toilets adjacent.
The University Students operate a weekly Soup Kitchen for the homeless from our premises on a Sunday evening. This is part of the Loughborough United Reformed Church’s outreach to the local community. The provision of food storage areas and the use of the kitchen and rooms being free of charge.
Mission and outreach
This group brings together many of our activities and other work that we support. These include: Christian Aid and Commitment for Life, Traidcraft (we are a Fairtrade church), and the concerns brought by our Peace and Justice sub group. Other support is given to Loughborough Town Of Sanctuary, Street Pastors, Equality Action and Loughborough Council of Faiths.
There is a choice to use the current Manse or to purchase a place for a new minister. The Loughborough Manse is situated at 127, Valley Road, Loughborough LE11 3PY, was built in the 1960s, and was purchased by the Church in 2002. It is a four-bedroomed property, with a dining room/study to the front of the property, as well as a conservatory and utility extension to the rear.
There is a garage and carport to the side elevation. The front has an extensive large block paved parking area. The property is situated on a good local bus service from outside the door and a variety of schools within easy reach.
We continue our journey of exploring, deepening and sharing our faith, by building bridges of hope, love and peace with our communities in Loughborough and around the world.
a. What are our resources?
We have a committed congregation most of whom take part in activities of the church as well as joining for worship. We also have several non-members who play a part in the life of the church. We have a Worship Team who maintain a high standard of regular worship
We have a superb suite of buildings which we use for ourselves and for the community.
We have a good income from letting out our premises which supplements the generous giving from the congregation.
We now have a Centre Manager who has had many years of experience managing a church-based centre locally. As that centre has recently had to close, we are also getting some requests for use of rooms from groups who have been displaced. This appointment will relieve our Elders (two in particular) of some of the administration work and we hope will also improve links with our user groups.
From our 2019 annual accounts, the Church income from giving amounted to just over £36,000, and our community income from lettings £40,000. Both our Annual report and accounts are available on request.
b. What are our opportunities?
We are hoping for a Minister to be called to share in ministry with Melton Mowbray URC, the East Midlands Synod office and ourselves. This, we hope, will open up new possibilities of strengthening our congregation and friends, enhancing our links with our ‘user groups’ (maybe in a role as chaplain) and increasing our involvement in ministry in the town together with others.
Involvement in Loughborough Churches Partnership gives us opportunities to work with other churches, sharing in joint services, supporting outreach and sharing in serving the community.
We also use our membership of Equality Action to gain opportunities of working with issues of discrimination, and of Loughborough Council of Faiths on broadening our understanding of faith. We also have opportunities of working with other local voluntary groups to serve the community.
a. What do we need?
For our church fellowship: We need to ensure our worship inspires and encourages us in faith and commitment to Christ and thus to the world. We need to ensure our pastoral care includes all who come to us and, in these COVID-19 times, holds us together in love and concern for each other. We need to ensure that our place of worship and areas of meeting are friendly, accessible and encourage sharing of faith. We need to ensure that there are opportunities for sharing, learning and deepening our faith.
For those who use our buildings: We need to provide a caring relationship showing them the love of Christ. We need to increase our contact with them, looking to encourage them to share with us in a variety of ways, e.g. taking part in services or celebrations when COVID-19 allows.
For our community of Loughborough and beyond: We need to increase our involvement with voluntary groups who serve the community in a variety of ways, e.g. Charnwood Food Poverty Group, Equality Action, food banks and those who care for the homeless. We need to find ways of sharing our faith with others, not aggressively but in a spirit of love. We need to make sure that, in these COVID-19 times, we are on-line, with an up to date website and publicly accessible worship.
We are looking for a Minister who, in consultation with the churches, can lead and communicate spiritual vision, and guide us into the future.
The current plan is that we will share with Melton Mowbray 75% of the Minister’s time with the remaining 25% being allocated to work with the Synod.
In particular, we hope that a Minister: –
- Can support, motivate and delegate to, the Elders, members and adherents
- Is open to the scriptures and is able to embrace new ideas
- Has good communication skills
- Can be pastorally aware, is a good listener, and an enabler for others by providing guidance and feedback, and by undertaking crisis visiting
- Is willing to engage with the challenge to attract people of all ages, including younger families and young people
- Has good time-management skills. (recognizing that travel between Melton, Loughborough and Synod destinations will be involved)
We are a loyal, warm fellowship with almost all our 56 members and 10 regular adherents taking an active part in our Church life. Fifty percent of our fellowship are very regular attendees at worship. The rest are less regular due to family commitments and calls on their time or lack of transport to Church. On Sunday mornings our average attendance at Worship is 40.
We have a number of young people under 25 associated with our Church worshipping with us.
- Members Under 60yrs 6
- 60-69 9
- 70-79 20
- 80+ 21
- Members Living under a mile from the Church 9
- 1-4 miles away 29
- Outside the town 15
- Abroad 3
None of our members are in Care Homes and none are completely housebound, although some do have great mobility problems. Seven members are dependent on receiving lifts in cars from fellow members in order to come to Church.
We currently have 9 serving Elders, who are also Trustees, and 16 non-serving Elders.
In the last five years we have admitted one member on transfer of membership.
We have lost 5 by transfer of membership and 15 by death.
3 Infant Baptisms have taken place and 3 Weddings.
The Church meeting agrees with our Church Sanctuary being used for any Christian Wedding, Infant Baptism, Believer’s Baptism or Funeral providing that the Minister agrees to conduct the Ceremony having held the relevant discussions with the parties concerned.
One of our members is our Appointed Officer for marriages and another the deputy Officer, as our building is licensed for conducting marriages.
All necessary protection policies are in place.