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News Banner Conservative Party ConferenceWhile the media coverage focused on coughing fits, pranksters and collapsing lettering at the Conservative Party Conference, Alan Yates, Moderator of the United Reformed Church’s General Assembly concentrated on offering politicians pastoral support.

Mr Yates, along with Church leaders from the Baptist, and Methodist churches attended the conference in Manchester from 2 to 3 October.

Together with colleagues from the Salvation Army and Quakers they met with MPs including Andrea Leadsom, Dominic Grieve, Stephen Crabb and other politicians who live out their vocation in public.

Read more: Talking and praying at the Conservative Party Conference

man behind bars‘If you don’t believe people can change, what hope is there?’ asks the Revd Hilary Collinson United Reformed Church minister for several churches in the north of England, and prison chaplain for a young offenders institution.

From 8 to 14 October Christians are being encouraged to pray for prisoners, victims, their families, and communities as part of Prisons Week.

Prisons Week has been running for more than 40 years; here Hilary highlights the importance of prison chaplaincy and the positive impact it delivers.

Read more: Prisons Week: Praying for prisoners and their victims

Banner Philip BrooksThe Revd Philip Brooks, Secretary for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations for the United Reformed Church, reflects on the World Council of Churches (WCC) conference entitled ‘The motor engineer of the ecumenical movement’ in Geneva on 18 September.

Being the son of a motor engineer, I smiled at this title as a description for the work of ecumenical officers. More than forty of us from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America (all tasked with working on ecumenical relations) gathered for four days in September in Bossey and Geneva, Switzerland, to hear more about the work of WCC as well as learning from each other.

Read more: Ecumenical officers from around the globe gather for conference

Down in the River music 1 credit Gavin InglisThe Revd Mark Meatcher, United Reformed Church minister for the Chelmsford and Area Group of United Reformed Churches, reflects on Down in the River: Festival-on-Sea, a multicultural celebration of music, art, poetry, and film in Southend-on-Sea.

URC members and their families and friends enjoyed a fully packed programme of activities for all ages on 23 September, as part of the URC’s year of celebration of Feasts and Festivals.

Read more: Multicultural creative arts celebrated at fun festival

Free churches delegation and friends at labour conferenceFrancis Brienen, the United Reformed Church’s Deputy General Secretary (Mission), attended the Labour Party Conference in Brighton this week as part of a delegation of Free Church leaders. She was delighted with the response from many of the politicians she met during the event: ‘It was a fruitful and inspiring time. We met with a number of MPs and were impressed with the many concerns they share with the churches, how much they appreciate the role of the churches in their constituencies and how committed they are to public service.’ 

Read more: ‘Fruitful and inspiring time’ at Labour Party Conference