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News banner Oct20 MC3 2016Paper A1: Plans for GA2018 and beyond

Paper A1 is an update paper, there is no resolution attached but several members of Mission Council wanted clarity on both the decision made and future plans.

Specific questions included: would the 2018 and subsequent Assemblies include a Children’s Assembly?; would the 2018 venue be fully accessible? (commenting that the 2016 venue, the Southport Convention Centre, had not been) and was there a possibility of Assembly being permanently located in one, fully accessible, venue?  The point was also made that the Assembly arrangements committee seems to exist to tell the Church what Assembly it’s having, rather than respond to requests to deliver an Assembly that will clearly benefit the life of the denomination. 

Read more: Mission Council day three 21 October 2016

News banner Oct20 MC2 2016Paper G1 The 2017 budget was presented by John Ellis, treasurer, who explained that the 2017 budget was very similar to the 2016 budget with the main difference being a decrease in the total number of stipends paid.

Mr Ellis also highlighted that the costs of the past case review are uncertain but that the Church was committed to pay what was needed. If it becomes clear in the next six months that the budgeted figure is far too small, then it will be revised and presented to the May 2017 meeting of Mission Council. The budget resolution was passed by consensus.

Mr Ellis continued, presenting an overview of future budget projections and highlighting uncertainties. He pointed to the 2019 budget as a particular challenge, not least because of the potential consequences on the Ministers’ pension fund of volatile financial markets following the Brexit referendum. The ultimate impact of this was unknowable as yet, but Mr Ellis said a larger pension fund deficit could make the overall budget deficit unsustainable and would require further action. He concluded by restating that these projections were presented for overview and were not binding – the detail of the 2018 budget will start to be worked up next Spring.

Read more: Mission Council day two 20 October 2016

Celebrating ‘remarkable’ Greenbelt success

Mission Council this afternoon heard about the success of the United Reformed Church’s involvement in Greenbelt 2016 as an associate partner. Dan Morrell, URC Youth Assembly Moderator-Elect, highlighted the various activities which made up the URC’s contribution to the annual Christian festival of arts and music, telling Mission Council that there was a very good response to the URC’s theme of Scrap the Church? Many people took part in conversations along the lines of, ‘Well what is the church, what is your church, what is the URC?’

The activities included a Cake and Debate session hosted by URC Youth.  Dan reported: ‘It was a remarkable success and it was great to see so many young people passionate about their churches and change within those churches.’

Read more: Mission Council day one 19 October 2016

The United Reformed Church, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church in Wales, the Church of Scotland, Quakers in Britain and the Methodist Church have released a statement calling upon the Syrian and Russian governments and other forces to stop their bombardment of Aleppo.

The humanitarian crisis in eastern Aleppo has become a tragedy. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has stated that in the two weeks following the collapse of the ceasefire, 376 people have been killed, one third of whom were children, and a further 1266 were wounded. The international humanitarian organisation Medicines Sans Frontieres‎ said recently that there have been 23 recorded attacks on Aleppo’s eight hospitals since the end of July. Seeking medical care has become a danger in itself.

The statement below has been signed by leaders from the six churches representing more than one million people in the UK.

Read more: Churches demand action on Aleppo

RajDuring Black History Month, the Church and society are called to affirm their solidarity with the struggles of people who have been discriminated in the name of colour and race, and I am going to take a look at Luke 16:19-31 as an offering towards decolonized readings of our texts. For ‘Black lives matter’ is our affirmation and we raise our voice for justice and liberation to our fellow brothers and sisters, whose voices have been marginalised, forgotten, silenced and never heard to. Black History Month therefore challenges us to listen to these subaltern voices in the texts of our scriptures and also in our societies, for the voice of the divine echoes in the voices of the subalterns. Over the years, in the colonial and modernist constructs, the voices of the powerless, vulnerable communities have been represented by the dominant communities, and have branded ‘unspeakability’ to such people. Allow me therefore to read this parable, from the perspective of the subalterns, for their lives do matter.

Read more: Black Lives Matter: In the Speech of the Subalterns, Echoes the Voice of the Divine