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Free churches delegation and friends at labour conferenceFrancis Brienen, the United Reformed Church’s Deputy General Secretary (Mission), attended the Labour Party Conference in Brighton this week as part of a delegation of Free Church leaders. She was delighted with the response from many of the politicians she met during the event: ‘It was a fruitful and inspiring time. We met with a number of MPs and were impressed with the many concerns they share with the churches, how much they appreciate the role of the churches in their constituencies and how committed they are to public service.’ 

Read more: ‘Fruitful and inspiring time’ at Labour Party Conference

Barbecue teamWhat does it mean to plant a church in a place where many people don’t ‘do’ church at all? The Revd Sally Willett reflects on how she and her husband Andrew – also a United Reformed Church minister – tackle that question at West Thamesmead in South London.

‘West Thamesmead, like many original new-build housing developments, had a focus on building houses and flats – with not so much thought about community venues where people moving into the area could come together. This has been a real challenge in trying to engage with a community that is difficult to find and we have been working alongside the local housing association and councillors with this. Our call, it seemed in part initially, was to help grow a community so we had a people to share the Gospel with. Our aim wasn’t to get people from any other church, we wanted to reach those you wouldn’t normally reach. 

Read more: West Thamesmead Community Church: finding the ‘heart’ of a new housing development

conversations554x415The United Reformed Church’s Secretary for Church and Society, Grace Pengelly, reflects on what it means to offer a radical welcome.

By the time you read this, the General Election will have happened and the UK will have elected a new government. Whatever the election statistics, it’s certain that some of us will feel jubilant and others deflated about an unwelcome outcome, while Parliament will be gearing up for the next chapter in this continuing story.

Read more: Leave behind your comfort zones!

NofaithbiblesUnited Reformed Church minister, the Revd Mark Meatcher, joined various religious and campaign groups in a week of action against the world’s biggest arms fair. The Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) event takes place at Stratford’s Excel centre from today (12 September) until Friday.

Pax Christi, the international Catholic movement for peace, and Quaker Peace and Social Witness were among those protesting against the biennial arms fair, which brings together arms companies and buyers involving some 35,000 people. The event has long been condemned by human rights advocates for its role in facilitating the supply of weapons and other security equipment to governments that include repressive and aggressive regimes. 

Read more: ‘Walking the walk’ in protest at arms fair

constance c News images 554x415On 17 September 2017, the United Reformed Church and the Congregational Federation in the UK will mark the centenary of the ordination of Constance Coltman as a Congregational minister. She was the first woman to be ordained in a mainstream British denomination – and she continued her pioneering role by remaining active in ministry as a married woman and mother.

Read more: Constance Coltman centenary celebrations

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