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end hunger weekEnd Hunger Week 2019, a focus of the growing movement of people around the country saying that action must be taken on food poverty, has been a massive success, according to organisers. 

The national launch for a new campaign, challenging the government to create a plan for ending hunger by 2030, took place at Sheffield Cathedral on World Food Day, 16 October.

The event featured a Food Glorious Food choir and was featured in The Mirror newspaper.

Read more: Success of End Hunger Week

stepwise yorkshire group oct 2019In April 2019, six members of the URC Yorkshire Synod answered the call for a pilot group to road test as facilitators Faith-filled Life, the opening stream of Stepwise, the URC’s discipleship development programme. 

Initially, it took some time for the group to familiarise itself with accessing the information online, and it raised questions on behalf of those who have no equipment or poor broadband and this was fed into the Stepwise Task & Finish Group. 

Over the next few weeks, as the group began navigating its way around the Stepwise Hub, the members also got to know each other and felt they had created a safe space for the work as well as a sacred space where they could share their stories. 

Read more: Taking the Stepwise Challenge

praying hands on bibleThe Moderators of the United Reformed Church (URC) General Assembly, the Revd Nigel Uden and Derek Estill, have offered a prayer for the families and friends of the 39 people whose bodies were found in a container lorry on an industrial estate in Grays, Essex, this morning. They have also expressed their shock and outrage at the abuse and exploitation that lead to those deaths. 

"We have learned with shock of the deaths of thirty-nine people in a lorry container that arrived in Essex from Bulgaria."

"With all people of goodwill, we are appalled that incidents of this nature occur. The suffering and then death of so many people is a tragedy. The callous abuse and exploitation of some by others is an outrage." 

"And the broader issues of a world where people end up feeling they must seek refuge in so perilous a way require urgent attention."

"Most immediately, we express sympathy to bereaved families and friends, and urge prayer for justice and peace."

Read more: Essex container deaths: Moderators' prayer, shock and outrage

windfarm tylercasey unsplashThe United Reformed Church Synod of Wales has decided to end investments in fossil fuel companies made on its behalf.

A Synod meeting on Saturday 19 October passed a resolution on divestment that had been proposed by members of Beulah United Reformed Church in Cardiff.

The resolution asks the United Reformed Church (URC) Synod of Wales to amend its investment portfolio to exclude investment in companies that derive more than 10% of their revenues from the extraction and/or supply of fossil fuels, including thermal coal, oil and natural gas.

Read more: URC Synod of Wales divests from fossil fuels

Syria mapThe United Reformed Church General Assembly Moderators, Derek Estill and the Revd Nigel Uden, with leaders from the Methodist Church and Baptists Together, have urged the UK Government to work for peace in Syria. Recent military attacks in the north-east of the country have left unarmed civilians caught between two fighting parties.

The pastors of three local churches have shared their concerns for the desperate situation facing families in the area, which includes disruption to the water supply, bombings, food prices soaring, people unable to attend their workplaces and some aged under 45 being forced to join the fighting. With the cold of winter fast approaching, people of north-eastern Syria are understandably deeply distressed and wish to live in peace and safety but they need help.

Statement on Syria

Following reports from our Church partners in Syria, we are extremely concerned about the impact on civilians of the assault on north-eastern Syria by Turkey. 

Read more: URC Moderators join call for urgent action to end violence in Syria