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In lifting others brett jordan unsplashLockdown has been hard on many communities and households but as we move beyond our restricted lives, what needs to change and what needs to remain? Mal Breeze, a Church Related Community Worker from Blackburn, reflects on this question:

The words of the song and album The Times They Are a-Changin, written by Bob Dylan in 1964, must have felt as true then as they feel now, 57 years on. Perhaps even more applicable given the last 18 months of Covid-19.

As individuals we have changed, families have changed, our communities have changed. So too have our churches, and many of us have had to rethink how to carry out our ministry.

Read more: Blackburn CRCW reflects on lessons from lockdown

Daleen Ten CateThis year’s winner of the MA in Mission prize is the Revd Daleen Ten Cate, Mission Enabler for the United Reformed Church (URC’s) North Western Synod.

Daleen’s MA dissertation ‘A critical examination of the theological basis of a Christian Charity engaged in community ministry’ was deemed by the judges to be a robust and rigorous piece of work which "clearly engaged a community of practice out of deep relationship".

Churches Together in England (CTE), alongside the Mission Research Network, set up the MA Mission Prize to draw out high-quality, recently passed MA theses to add to a small but growing repository of MAs and PhDs which will be made available on its new website. When launched later this summer, the resource will include about 50 MAs and 20 PhD theses. 

Read more: URC Mission Enabler wins Churches Together in England prize

GA worship generalThe Moderators of the United Reformed Church (URC) General Assembly are warmly inviting members of the denomination to join General Assembly’s Sunday worship service on 11 July.

The Revd Clare Downing will preach at the service which will be livestreamed from the URC’s national website and Facebook page from 11am.

The Moderators hope this will offer a number of possibilities for United Reformed churches:

Read more: Join in with General Assembly Sunday worship service

G7 flags Number 10 Flickr CC BY NC ND 2.0As world leaders arrive in Cornwall this week for the G7 Summit, the United Reformed Church (URC’s) General Assembly Moderators joined dozens of faith leaders to call on the UK government to use its presidency of the G7 and of the UN climate talks to drive real progress on addressing the climate crisis.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, they state, “As people of faith, we cannot stand by while world leaders continue to delay action. Delays on phasing out support for fossil fuels and on addressing climate impacts are destroying lives. From the Pacific islands to sub-Saharan Africa, from Bangladesh to Brazil, the climate crisis is a present reality for the world’s poorest people. They have little power to tackle this catastrophe which they did not cause. We ask you, who do have power, to use the UK’s G7 and COP Presidency in their interests.”

Read more: Faith groups call for G7 Summit to use power wisely


Update: The Speaker of the House of Commons has determined that a vote on the 0.7% aid commitment will not now be held as part of today’s (7 June) parliamentary consideration of the Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill. However, it looks likely that there will be an emergency Commons debate on the issue, possibly as soon as tomorrow.

Please continue to make your views known to your MP ahead of that debate. Many thanks to everyone who has already contacted their MP about this over the last few days.

 

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Members of the URC are being urged to write to their MP to ask them to back a restoration of the UK’s international aid budget in a parliamentary vote today. The recent cut in aid, from 0.7% to 0.5% of national income, broke promises made by the government at the last election and to the world’s poorest people. Billions of pounds of funding for international development projects has been slashed, undoubtably costing lives in some of the poorest places of the world.

Read more: Take action to restore the UK Government’s international aid commitment

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