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The United Reformed Church’s Mission Council is meeting at the High Leigh Conference Centre in Hertfordshire from 12 to 14 May 2017.

Mission Council is the executive body of the General Assembly, and meets twice a year to reflect on and make decisions about the day-to-day life of the Church. Items on the agenda for this meeting include a debate and decision on the future of the Windermere Centre; the Church’s context for mission, with reflection on the coming General Election and on our commitment to God’s creation, together with a paper from the synod moderators, on ‘where is God calling the URC?’.  All Mission Council papers are now available online.

Read more: Mission Council meets this weekend

lesley charlton and suk in lee

Kingston and New Malden in Surrey is home to one of the largest Korean communities in Europe. Kingston and New Malden URC serves them with Special Category Minister, the Revd Suk-In Lee. Kingston’s minister, the Revd Lesley Charlton, works alongside her South Korean colleague to encourage all the communities on their doorstep – and, as a result, she urges everyone not to judge a church by its postcode.

Lesley, who has been minister at Kingston for 20 years, explains: ‘Everyone thinks we’re in leafy, middle-class Surrey so what would we know about reaching those on the edge of society? The fact is that life’s a lot messier than that and a postal address never gives the full story. We have a foodbank which uses our town centre building on Fridays and Tuesdays, and it’s heaving with people. Surbiton Community Church runs the foodbank and we provide storage space and a welcome. There are hungry people here who need food because the cost of housing in this area is very expensive and many individuals fall through the cracks and need help.’

Read more: Kingston and New Malden URC: a place to call home for Korean communities

Vocations pic

Life presents us with many possible vocations, yet it is not always easy to discern our own calling. Vocations Sunday, which this year falls on 7 May, encourages us to reflect and ask the questions that help us to discover God’s call to each of us.

Over the last 13 years, each synod of the United Reformed Church has offered resources on behalf of the whole denomination to support worship and reflection on Vocations Sunday. This year’s resources are produced by a group of students and staff at Westminster College, Cambridge – a URC centre for learning – and are available to download here. The authors said:

Read more: Vocations Sunday 7 May: 'All are called … some are called to …'

Same sex marriage survey news images 554x415A Sarum College masters student is inviting local United Reformed churches to share their responses to the General Assembly decision last July, which allowed United Reformed Church premises to register for the marriage of same-sex couples. As part of her dissertation for an MA in Theology, Imagination and Culture, Carole Allen is keen to gather information on how many churches have discussed or voted on the option to register their premises and what the outcomes have been.

Carole says: ‘My dissertation aims to explore the theological arguments both in favour of, and against, same-sex marriage … I hope to report, as accurately as possible, the responses of individual United Reformed Church congregations across the denomination in the year following the July 2016 pronouncement and to reflect generally the situation within the denomination at this time.’

Read more: Study seeks responses to GA decision on marriage for same-sex couples


Over 500 churches, including 50 United Reformed Church congregations, are now registered with the Eco Church scheme launched last year by Christian environmental charity, A Rocha UK. The 500th local church to register was Great Chishill United Reformed Church, south Cambridgeshire.

As the successor to Eco Congregations in England and Wales (Eco Congregations continues in Scotland), Eco Church is based on a simple online survey. Users register for free and can revisit the questionnaire as often as they wish to report on their eco efforts in areas of church life including worship, building management and community engagement. The website keeps note of their progress scores and indicates when they qualify for an award.

Read more: User-friendly Eco Church scheme passes 500 mark