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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

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

Boris Johnson credit Yukiya Amano Wikicommons news bannerSeven Christian denominations have written an open letter to Boris Johnson, the new Prime Minister, expressing concern that a no-deal Brexit will hit those living in poverty hard.

The Church leaders say they have been “compelled” to write to the new Prime Minister because of his position that leaving the European Union without a deal is acceptable.

The letter states that “at a time when increasing numbers of families have difficulties putting enough food on the table, we believe it is irresponsible to consider a course of action that is expected to make that situation worse”.

Read more: No-deal Brexit is a massive gamble for the poor say church leaders

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

Nicola FS news banner 1The Revd Nicola Furley-Smith, who currently serves as Moderator of United Reformed Church’s Southern Synod, has been appointed as the church’s new Secretary for Ministries.

Nicola brings a great breadth and depth of experience of the United Reformed Church (URC) to the role.

After being selected for ministry and training in Manchester in the 1980s, Nicola served as a minister to churches in Mersey, Yorkshire and the south of England before becoming Synod Moderator in 2011.

Read more: United Reformed Church announces new Secretary for Ministries