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Planet B news bannerThe Wessex Synod of the United Reformed Church (URC) has joined a growing number of organisations in divesting shares from fossil fuel energy companies.

The move, announced on 27 July, is in line with policy approved at the URC’s May meeting of Mission Council where the Church unanimously approved a proposal to divest from fossil fuel companies.  

Read more: URC’s Wessex Synod divests from fossil fuel companies

Syrian refugeesChurch representatives from across Europe have expressed disappointment at the failure of EU ministers in agreeing any arrangement for search and rescue in the Mediterranean.

At the EU interior ministers’ meeting in Helsinki on 18 July, further discussions and proposals for a temporary arrangement were also postponed until September.

Dr Torsten Moritz, General Secretary of the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) – of which the United Reformed Church is a member – expressed dismay at the results.

Read more: Churches dismayed as EU ministers fail to strike search and rescue deal

Nigel Appleton and couples news bannerIt’s been three years since the United Reformed Church (URC) became the largest UK denomination to allow its churches to decide whether they want to register to perform marriages of same-sex couples.

Cumnor URC, in Oxford, was one of the first congregations to register. The Revd Nigel Appleton, who at the time was its associate Minister, reflects on the church’s journey.

Like many other congregations in the URC, Cumnor URC’s initial discussions around the place of LGBT+ people were tentative.

Read more: Same-sex Christian couple provide catalyst for church’s change

Simon Loveiit and ministersSimon Loveitt, the United Reformed Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) for the Manor Church and Community Project in Sheffield, celebrated 30 years of service last month.

Simon reflects on the past three decades serving communities:

I was commissioned on 18 July 1989 and my first post was at Hulme URC in Manchester. I have also worked in Middlesbrough and Bradford. Thirty years later, I work in Sheffield with the Manor Church and Community Project, an ecumenical initiative comprising Anglican, Methodist and URC partners.

Read more: CRCW celebrates 30 years of service

boat 998966 1920sMore than 100 faith leaders – including those from the United Reformed Church – have written to new Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking him to honour a commitment towards welcoming refugees.

The open letter refers to a commitment made by the Home Office on 17 June when it announced that the UK will welcome up to 5,000 refugees between 2020-2021, following the expiration of the current resettlement programmes.

In the letter published by The Guardian on 26 July, the leaders seek assurances from the new Prime Minister that he will “ensure this recent announcement is not a one-off, but rather the start of a lasting commitment by the UK to welcome its share of people seeking sanctuary globally."

The leaders also suggest that the number of refugees being allowed to resettle in the UK could be increased. 

Read more: Faith leaders urge new PM to accept more refugees