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wall artThe Revd David Downing, of Maidenhead and Marlow United Reformed Church, joined a delegation of faith leaders to Calais to see the plight of unaccompanied refugee children at first hand. Following the closure of the notorious ‘Jungle’ refugee camp, many young vulnerable refugees remain living in the area. He reflects on what the delegation saw there.

‘It started as a discussion, after a group of leaders from Christian, Jewish and Islamic communities in Maidenhead wrote to the government in support of the ‘Dubs Amendment’ to the Immigration Act. The amendment was sponsored by the Labour Peer Lord Dubs, who was once himself a child refugee. He was rescued from the Nazis and brought safely to the UK by Kindertransport thanks to the work of Nicholas Winton, who became known as the ‘British Schindler’. 

Read more: Life after the ‘Jungle’ camp clearance in Calais

CC lecture speakers and organisers reworkedOver the past few days the United Reformed Church has been at the heart of celebrations marking the centenary of Constance Coltman’s ordination and its legacy.

Between Thursday and Saturday, leaders in women’s ministry from around the world attended the Women of the Way: Global Pioneers’ conference at Church House.

The celebrations continued over the weekend, with two public events – a lecture and a special thanksgiving service. 

Read more: Constance Coltman celebratory weekend: 'Don't lose your identity follow God's call'

Constance Coltman at Wolverton ChurchThe centenary of the first woman to be ordained in a British mainstream Christian denomination is being celebrated this week – with the United Reformed Church and the Congregational Federation gearing up to mark Constance Coltman’s historic achievement.

Constance Coltman was ordained into the ministry of the Congregational Union of England and Wales on 17 September 1917. Now, 100 years on, final touches are being made to the commemorations. 

Read more: Celebrating the life and ministry of Constance Coltman!

mayhem imageOften it happens that strangers, to whom I am introduced, hear that I am a minister and expect me to be a lunatic. Kindly, and in order to spare me the pain of trying to convert them to Christianity, they break it to me, as gently and as soon as they can, that they are atheists. Perhaps they have suffered at the hands of pernicious religion, or been inculcated, early, into sloppy thinking.  Whatever their reason, they make the mistake of attributing to me a faith that I couldn't possibly hold. In future, to avoid all this, I may well hand out cards on which this poem is printed. 

Read more: ‘Call Yourself an Atheist?’ A poem by URC poet-minister, Lucy Berry

NofaithbiblesUnited Reformed Church minister, the Revd Mark Meatcher, joined various religious and campaign groups in a week of action against the world’s biggest arms fair. The Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) event takes place at Stratford’s Excel centre from today (12 September) until Friday.

Pax Christi, the international Catholic movement for peace, and Quaker Peace and Social Witness were among those protesting against the biennial arms fair, which brings together arms companies and buyers involving some 35,000 people. The event has long been condemned by human rights advocates for its role in facilitating the supply of weapons and other security equipment to governments that include repressive and aggressive regimes. 

Read more: ‘Walking the walk’ in protest at arms fair