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A United Reformed Church event in November gathered people from around the United Reformed Church who are engaged in mission projects that just work. It turned out to be pretty life-changing for all involved!

Participants at the conference, hosted by the Windermere Centre, shared stories from local churches that are engaged in mission. They emphasised stories of action that are manageable, effective, and that have made an impact on the church and on the community.

Says deputy general secretary (mission), Francis Brienen: "The real outcome is to create a resource bank of stories and ideas so that others can find them and read and be inspired."

The resource bank is on the mission project page of the Things that work website.

Read more: Mission conference explores things that just work

The Revd Alistair Smeaton, Convenor of the United Reformed Church's Cumbria Area, brings an update on how churches are responding to the aftermath of the floods caused by Storm Desmond and appeals for prayers and practical support.

Thank you very much for your concern for the people of Cumbria and the United Reformed Church congregations within the county. It feels a bit like all the extreme weather events of the last 11 years have all come at once.

Read more: Cumbria floods: churches' response

Sandra Anthony was formally commissioned as Parish Nurse at Sutton Coldfield United Reformed Church on Tuesday 17 November during the regular weekly service of prayers for healing and wholeness.

Parish Nursing is all about supporting people and communities towards whole person healthcare. It can happen through a local church of any denomination. Parish nurses can be the link, between people in the community and the health and care services, ensuring that people use the health services appropriately, and understand their medication, care and condition.

Read more: The URC welcomes its first parish nurse

Shropshire URC member Howard Hutchings talks to Tomilola Ajayi, Christian Aid press officer, about what inspired him to walk from London to Paris, and why climate justice is an issue very dear to his heart. 

Just over a week ago, retired geography teacher Howard Hutchings completed a journey of a lifetime: a ‘climate pilgrimage’ that spanned two weeks, two countries and 200 miles, entirely on foot. 

Howard, from Shrewsbury, joined dozens other British Christians on a ‘Pilgrimage2Paris’, which saw them sleeping in churches, halls and homes for a fortnight, as they travelled through streets, roads, country lanes and fields from London to the French capital. 

Organised by Christian Aid, Tearfund, CAFOD and the Church of England, the journey was a way to show solidarity with communities suffering the adverse effects of climate change. With each step, they were calling on world leaders to strike a fair and ambitious deal at the United Nations climate summit, currently underway in Paris.

Read more: A pilgrim's progress to Paris

Churches in the UK are encouraging people to add Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith to their Christmas card list, and to include a personal greeting asking the minister to ensure that every family and child has enough this Christmas.

Paul Morrison, Policy Adviser for the Methodist Church, said: "The One More Card Campaign is an initiative by the Baptist Union, the Methodist Church, United Reformed Church and the Church of Scotland. The campaign will show care both for the families affected by the changes to the benefit system and also towards those who run the system reflecting the important job they do.

"No-one should grow up in a family that does not have enough to afford the basics of life. It is a message that has particular resonance at Christmas and I am sure shared by people in and out of churches."

Read more: Don't forget Iain Duncan Smith this Christmas

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