Beyond Immanuel

Syria: recent events – statement from the URC

The United Reformed Church is pressing the British government to avoid participating in any further military action in Syria and instead to urgently work with international partners to pursue peaceful solutions.

In response to a chemical attack launched by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad on 7 April where scores of innocent people were killed or injured the Revd Kevin Watson, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, said:

“The death, devastation and terror being imposed on the people of Syria is tragic and deplorable. Our prayers for peace and their protection continue. As a faith community, we acknowledge that challenging the use of chemical weapons is right, and those responsible should be held to account. However, we are concerned that more military strikes will lead to more deaths and add to the devastation and displacement that the people of Syria are already experiencing. Jesus calls on his people to be peacemakers. The road to peace is a long and hard one, but ultimately this conflict will only be ended through negotiation.

We will continue to pray for the safety and well-being of the Syrian people, and urge our political leaders to redouble their efforts to bring all parties together to broker a peaceful solution.”


Loving God,

We hold before you the people of Syria.

Comfort those who today mourn or live in fear,

and may those scarred by violence know healing.

We hold before you those with influence in our world.

We pray that they will use their power wisely,

respecting every life and pursuing all that makes for peace.

We hold before you our own needs and our own hearts.

Help us to respond to suffering with compassion, to enemies with love,

and to aggression with a renewed commitment to peacemaking.

We pray in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.





Although much that we do at Immanuel takes place within our walls, we do try to be outward looking as much as possible and include in our prayers those situations we know of in the community around us, the town and the wider world.  

Amnesty logo 001We feel it is important to show Traidcraft 2017apractical support when we can, and as well as showing support for Christian Aid, two such ways are in our affiliation to ‘Amnesty International’ and the fact that we are a ‘Fairtrade Church’ (we use fairtrade products whenever we can and there is a stall  on  many Sunday mornings.)


Another way is our Harvest Appeal: for more than thirty years  throughout October, in addition to bringing gifts of produce on Harvest Sunday for later distribution to the homeless of Swindon or the Women’s Refuge, we challenge our members to give to a specific charity – normally it is a charity in the Third/ Developing World, which has been proposed by our World Concerns Committee.



Up-date….. on “Help Madina”

In 2015 we worked to raise funds for a community in Sierra Leone. Our hope was to improve the local sanitation system and also provide a well.  Initially constructing the well proved to be problematic when  the builders hit  solid rock strata and were obliged to bring in heavy machinery in order to break through  to the water table below.

Help Madina 2The good news is that  they have succeeded : as the pictures show. It has taken some time for the photos to come through to us, but I am sure you will all rejoice with the villagers of Madina that good CLEAN water is now readily available and no longer has anyone  to make a long trek with containers and bring back water that was at times ‘highly suspect’.

Help Madina 1



Smiling faces prove that it was £3500 well spent!

Help Madina 4




Previous Appeals:

2000 Kabarore, Rwanda: nursery school classroom £2538

2002  Joint Appeal for Prospect Foundation (Swindon) and Stepping Forward (Swindon) £2,600

2003 Centre for Rehabilitation for the paralysed in Bangladesh £2,641

2004 Kigali, Rwanda: wells and water catchment system £3,733

2005 Twingi School, Zambia: school construction and lighting £3,049

2006 Kagitumba (a partnership project) 3 classrooms, toilet block and water tank £12,000

2007 Joint Appeal for The Swindon Mediation Centre and Missionvale South Africa (feeding programme) £2,657

2008 Ankavandra (Madagascar) –  a village well building project £3,447

2009 Muniguda (India)  –  a hospital for cataract operations £3,100

2010 Mbale (Uganda): Musiquality – support and tuition for abandoned children £2,945

2011 Phnom Penh; Cambodia: medical centre – first aid facilities £3,469

2012 Casa Materna, Ocotal, Nicaragua: Training programme to raise awareness of sexual abuse £3112

2013 Lebanon and West Bank (Partnership project) Christian Aid supported project to support the disabled £10,354

2014 Christians Against Poverty (Swindon) Harbour Project (Swindon) the latter is a project to support refugees and asylum seekers £3,446

2015 “Help Madina” – a project to build a well and improve sanitation in a village in Sierra Leone  £3,970

2016 Bamyan High School, Afghanistan: a project to build and equip a science lab for girls, £3,000

2017 The Swindon Foyer (a partnership project) raised funds to support homeless young people of the town and improve the facilities on offer: £8,700