Newsletter - November 2011

Have you got 2020 Vision?

God calls us to mission. In Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit, God has set out to transform the world into the reign of God, a world of abundance, where there will be fullness of life for all, we are called and empowered to join in that mission.

For the sake of the world, for the sake of the church and for God, will we make a difference, tomorrow, in two years time, in ten years' time?

Local churches in the United Reformed Church are involved in God’s mission and since 1999 the U.R.C. has made several attempts to formulate a vision for mission for the denomination as a whole. Vision2020 was adopted by General Assembly in 2010 as the framework for mission planning and church growth for the United Reformed Church in the coming decade.

  • to support and strengthen local churches in their mission
  • to strengthen and support the development of Synod mission strategies
  • to help Assembly focus its support and resources

The elders have been looking at Vision 2020 for over a year as we grapple with the implications of planning ahead for mission. The following is from the URC Mission Committee, and after reading the background information please consider the Ten Statements of our Mission and Purpose. This will come up at the November 20th Church Meeting. What do you think?

November 2011

What is Vision2020?

Vision2020 is a framework which we hope can both inspire and support mission planning at every level of the United Reformed Church: local, Synod and Assembly. It recognises that congregations and Synods work differently and have a variety of needs. It is based on the idea that we are all in this together as a family of churches, and that we can do more together than on our own. lt is to give all of us a sense that we are part of something bigger, something special, something of God.

It starts with the local church

Vision2020 starts with the local church - bringing the gospel alive in our local communities. At the heart of Vision2020 are ten statements of our mission purpose or mission priorities. The ten statements set out a vision for the United Reformed Church for the next 10 years and beyond.
It is to give all of us a sense that we are part of something bigger, something special, something of God.

The key idea of Vision2020 is that on a regular basis churches identify one or two mission priorities which are particularly pressing or relevant to their own context. Not all ten, just one or two! With each statement comes a set of actions, suggesting things you might do as a way of working on your chosen priority.

Your church can identify one or more of these actions or indeed design your own. Once a local congregation has identified one or more activities, they will make a pledge or a commitment to try to achieve these mission objectives over the course of a particular period. This is what is called the Local Mission Pledge.

Many churches already know what their mission priorities might be: e.g. to involve more children in the life and worship of the church; or to carry out an environmental audit. Every situation will be different.

It is also for Synods and Assembly

The Local Mission Pledges are important for the Synods too and will help each Synod to plan how better to serve the local church in its mission and to ensure that the local churches get the right support and resources.

But it doesn't stop there, because Synods shaped by the mission plans of local churches can then make a pledge to the Assembly and in doing so help the denomination to see where support and resources are needed. This would shape the work of Assembly staff and committees. In that way Vision2020 will have significant implications for the United Reformed Church as a whole.

What happens now?

Vision2020 is a ten-year framework and will take time to put in place. In some Synods the preferred way is through the Local Mission and Ministry Review (L.M.M.R.), which has already been introduced by many Synods in response to a decision of Assembly. This is a new way of reviewing church life and ministers' vocations on a regular basis. Making local mission pledges will be a natural part of this process. You will know the process for L.M.M.R. in your Synod or you will hear about it in due course.
Every pledge counts

How you can get involved

You can get involved now. Indeed, many churches already make regular mission plans. Where you are already active, vision2020 can help you to reflect on what you do and strengthen it. If you are struggling, Vision2020 can help you to identify what you can do for God’s kingdom. Every pledge counts. Contact your Synod office for guidance and support. The Vision2020 statements and suggested actions are available on

Vision2020 grants

Vision2020 grants of up to £1,000 are available to local churches to support them in their work. For more information and to download an application form, visit

Ten Statements of our Mission and Purpose

Statement 1: Spirituality and prayer

We will grow in our practice of prayer and spirituality, nurturing strength for our witness to Jesus Christ, and developing our discernment of where God is and what God is calling us to do by reading and studying the Bible and through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Statement 2: Identity

The United Reformed Church will be a Church where every local congregation will be able to say who they are, what they do and why they do it.

Statement 3: Christian Ecumenical Partnerships

We will be more confident in our identity, valuing the treasures of our tradition, discerning when to seek ecumenical partnerships, and when and how to seek the further unity of the Church.

Statement 4: Community partnerships

We will be a Church that is more active in the life of local neighbourhoods.

Statement 5: Hospitality and diversity

We will be a Church committed to becoming even more welcoming and hospitable, and embracing all people equally.

Statement 6: Evangelism

We will be more confident to engage in evangelism, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God with friends, families and strangers, through story and action.

Statement 7 Church growth

We will be a growing Church with an increasing membership.

Statement 8: Global partnerships

We will be a Church that is an active partner in God's global mission with other Churches around the world.

Statement 9: Justice and peace

We will be a Church committed to peacemaking and reconciliation that keeps faith with the poor and challenges injustice.

Statement 10: The integrity of creation

We will be a Church that has taken significant steps to safeguard the integrity of creation, to sustain and renew the life of the earth.