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The new Moderators of General Assembly, Claire Downing and Peter Pay, have joined 75 other faith leaders to call for a ‘debt jubilee’ for the 77 poorest nations as they deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Saving lives in this pandemic is not only a health challenge, but a financial one too. Around the world, preventing the spread of the disease has required the shutting down of whole sectors of the economy on which many people depend for their livelihoods. In the UK the government has poured resources into supporting people through the resulting crisis – with welfare support, food parcels, business loans and job guarantee schemes, alongside making massive investments into the necessary health infrastructure, staffing and equipment.

As the virus spreads in some of the world’s poorest countries, similar challenges are faced – but governments are starting from a position of significantly more fragile economies and health systems, and simply don’t have the same resources to draw on. The World Bank estimates that between 71-100 million people risk falling into extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic.

Read more: Call for Covid-19 debt cancellation for the poorest countries

No plan B credit Markus Spiske UnsplashUnited Reformed Church (URC) Youth are celebrating that the wider denomination has officially recognised the climate emergency.

URC Youth presented a resolution, which subsequently passed, at Mission Council, the executive body of General Assembly, held digitally on 10 July.

Not only did the resolution ask Mission Council to officially recognise the climate emergency, it also asked that local churches across the denomination be challenged to “make conscious changes to their practices in order to reflect this.”

Read more: URC Youth achieve climate emergency action at Mission Council

Robert Waters formattedIt is with deep sadness that the United Reformed Church (URC) announces the death of the Revd Robert Waters.

Mr Waters, widely known as Bob, died peacefully in his sleep at home on 3 July, just four days shy of his 90th birthday.

The reverend trained at the Scottish Congregational College and served as a minister at East Kilbride from 1962 to 1968, Augustine Bristo in Edinburgh from 1968 to 1971, was Chairman of the Congregational Union of Scotland from 1970 to 1971, and General Secretary of the Congregational Union of Scotland from 1971 to 1995.

Read more: The Revd Robert Waters, MBE, MA 1930-2020

Face masks credit Mika Baumeister unsplashIn light of the various guidance issued by the governments in England, Scotland and Wales, the United Reformed Church (URC) Synod Moderators strongly encourage the use of face coverings for all people attending worship and other URC events that involve face-to-face meetings. 

We recommend that these do not need to be surgical-type masks but should have at least three layers of material, in line with World Health Organisation guidance.

Read more: Coronavirus: URC guidance around face coverings

GA2020 news bannerThe United Reformed Church (URC) held a live-streamed version of its General Assembly – the URC’s main decision-making body – on YouTube today (11 July).

The Revd John Proctor, outgoing United Reformed Church General Secretary, welcomed viewers to what was the first online act of General Assembly worship in the URC’s history.

Mr Proctor said: “Wherever you are, we are glad that you share with us,” before setting out how the service would run. Mr Proctor then invited Derek Estill, Moderator of the URC General Assembly, to constitute the meeting with prayer. After Mr Estill did so, he confirmed that Assembly was formally constituted.

Read more: General Assembly round up 11 July 2020

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