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One hundred years ago, Constance Coltman blazed a trail as the first woman to be ordained into a British mainstream Christian denomination. The suffragist and pacifist was a Dissenter.

As Protestant Christians who separated from the Church of England because they could not ‘in good conscience’ (conform to) the Articles of the CofE, the Nonconfomists faced many battles – the women even more so.

Constance, who had been brought up as a Presbyterian, had met resistance from the Presbyterian Church of England when exploring her vocation, so applied to the Congregational foundation of Mansfield College, Oxford. She was finally accepted because of her deep sense of God’s call even though there was no certainty that she would be ordained after the three-year course because the denomination had no agreed policy on the question. 

Read more: Who are the modern-day Daughters of Dissent?

david tatem News images 554x415Colleagues and staff, past and present, gathered to say farewell to two United Reformed Church ‘stalwarts’ in July. Wendy Cooper, Administrator for Church and Society (Mission), and the Revd David Tatem, Secretary for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, both retired after collectively serving 74 years with the URC.

Wendy, the longest serving member of staff at Church House, retired on 31 July after 36 years’ service with the URC. David was honoured for his 38 years of ministry with the Church.

Wendy’s faithfulness and professionalism in her work spanning more than three decades was at the heart of the tributes during her farewell lunch. Opening the proceedings, Francis Brienen – Deputy General Secretary (Mission) – praised Wendy for having ‘survived’ at least six Church and Society Secretaries and 32 General Assemblies.

Read more: Affectionate farewells to long-serving Church House staff

Migration Matters 554x415The Face to Face programme, ‘Freedom from the clutches of Empire: Face to Face with migration and human trafficking’, took place during June and July in the UK. Hosted by the United Reformed Church, the programme gathered together nine participants from Council for World Mission member churches and ecumenical partners to explore migration and human trafficking. 

Read more: ‘Transformative and inspiring’ Face to Face programme

warning sign 554x415The Revd Craig Muir writes the latest URC blog for Greenbelt. As an Associate Partner of the festival, the URC will this year focus on a theme of More than Welcome.

‘All Welcome’ say church signs. Yet many will have stories of being ignored, barred, dismissed, dismayed. What can we learn from each other? How can we improve the welcome we offer? How can shared experience create communities filled with people who know what it is to belong to a culture of welcome? 

Read more: United Reformed Church asks: ‘Are you really welcome?’