United Reformed Church General Assembly

The General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, the denomination's executive body, meets from 8 to 11 July at Southport Convention Centre to consider and decide on a range of issues including the marriage of same-sex couples.

The URC's General Assembly meets every two years to celebrate, discuss, and make decisions on the life and work of the URC.

Assembly's first task will be the induction of the new Moderators of General Assembly – the Revd Kevin Watson and Mr Alan Yates – for a two-year term of service. Moderators are the URC's figureheads, chairing major meetings and representing the denomination internally, at home and abroad.

Among the key items for discussion and decision is the resolution around the marriage of same-sex couples. Assembly is being asked to consider if the local church meeting is the relevant governing authority to give consent to register buildings for the marriage of same-sex couples. If passed, the URC would become the largest denomination in the UK to freely permit the celebration of the marriage of same-sex couples in church.

Also for decision will be a proposal to support a campaign for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, alongside a new environmental policy.

In addition Assembly will vote on joining the growing Churches' Mutual Credit Union, providing savings accounts and lower-cost loans to people who may otherwise turn to pay-day lenders.

The moderators have chosen the Assembly theme People of the Way, calling for a time of renewed focus on the fundamentals of the Christian life; People of the Way is an invitation for United Reformed churches to return to the basics of their identity and life in Christ.

Mr Watson concluded: 'We have a real need to celebrate being the people of God, and to celebrate being the United Reformed Church. Assembly will be a celebration of God's grace, of what he has given us and what is embodied in God's people'.

Follow news and reports from General Assembly as it happens: visit the URC website, the URC Facebook page and our Twitter feed where you can follow discussions with the #URCGA16 hashtag. You can also follow the business session via this live video stream. The Book of Reports is also on the website.