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door of europe News images 554x415Jake Convery, United Reformed Church Youth Assembly representative to the URC's General Assembly and Mission Council, recently returned from a Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) fact-finding trip to visit refugee projects in Italy.

The professional organist and music teacher was one of seven young men from churches across Britain and Ireland to hear first-hand testimony from refugees and support workers on the islands of Sicily and Lampedusa, the ‘door of Europe’.

Jake, organist at Congleton URC and director of music at Saint Andrew's URC, Hampstead, said: ‘The trip to Italy was eye opening and educational as well as being incredibly heartbreaking.’

Read more: Call for United Reformed Church not to forget refugees at the ‘door of Europe’

Prayer

Following today’s vote to hold a General Election on 8 June, the United Reformed Church has issued the following call to prayer.

All knowing God, as People of the Way, we look on this General Election as an opportunity to take a new step of faith and faithfulness. We pray that the campaigns, shortly to be launched by political parties of all sizes and traditions, will recognise many of the concerns and uncertainties that face the British people. We ask too that every party will communicate its visions and plans for the future with confidence and sensitivity.

Read more: Prayer for UK General Election on 8 June

easter day News images 554x415 cross blue skyThe Revd Kevin Watson, Moderator of the General Assembly, reflects on ‘love so amazing, so divine’ this Easter – and always

I can certainly understand Cuthbert needing to get away from the responsibilities of his ministry to spend time just with God, in prayer and reflection, Bible study and fasting. All my life the Lenten journey has, for me, been a very personal and individual one. Brought up in the Methodist tradition, the preparation for Easter actually began at new year with the awesome Covenant Service, in which we invite God to take our lives for his use. 

I would use an old Methodist hymn: ‘O the bitter shame and sorrow’ the last line of each verse inviting us deeper into a personal relationship with Jesus. The first verse ends: ‘All of self and none of thee’ – I could confess this. The second verse: ‘some of self and some of thee’ I could acknowledge but verse three challenged me with: ‘less of self and more of thee’ and I never got to pray honestly the last verse: ‘none of self and all of thee.’

Read more: Easter reflection: continuing the journey with the risen Christ!

Good friday 554x415The Revd Jacky Embrey, moderator of the Mersey Synod of the United Reformed Church, tries to comprehend the anguish of Christ’s followers on Good Friday

‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ (American Spiritual)

However much we reflect on the suffering and crucifixion of Christ, we can’t put ourselves in his shoes, or in those of any of his followers – for we know what happened on Easter Day, and that changes everything. 

Read more: Good Friday reflection: The death of hope?