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A new film released today highlights some of the challenges facing asylum seekers in the UK through a modern retelling of the nativity story. This release comes the day after new figures from the Government were published revealing that in September of this year 37,958 asylum seekers in the UK were in receipt of accommodation and/or financial support of less than £6 per day.

Read more: A Very British Nativity highlights UK’s ‘hostile environment’ for asylum seekers

Signing a statementThe United Nations has warned mass starvation in Aleppo is a real prospect if aid is not allowed in. As the city comes under further bombardment and food is about to run out; Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh and Hindu faith leaders – including the Revd John Proctor, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church – call on the UK government to act.

The faith leaders issued the following statement today (28 November).

Read more: Churches call for government and UN to act on Aleppo

Warwick CastleOpen up those 2017 diaries and make a date for Saturday 20 May when the whole URC is invited to enjoy The Big Day Out, organised by Pilots, at Warwick Castle.

This is festival for all ages where activities will run from 10am to 5pm in the historic and beautiful setting. Individuals and groups, with their church communities and wider family and friends, are all welcome to be part of what promises to be a day to remember.

Read more: Book now for The Big Day Out!

Lent candleI am a hopeful ‘hopeless case’

The Revd Kevin Watson, General Assembly Moderator, explores the true meaning of hope at Advent.

Is it human nature, or is it just me? I am constantly reducing this amazing thing called hope to something that’s no more than a wish-list.

Once a year I hope I get something nice for Christmas.

Maybe once in a lifetime I hope I win the lottery.

And every day I hope there’s something good for tea!

Even when I am being less selfish, and call it prayer, I am still hoping for good things – that she is healed, or he gets a job, or they are saved from war. All good stuff, but the more I think about it, it is doomed to fail. Of course, I believe in the power of prayer and there are more miracles than we can ever realise but, if it is human nature to be always hoping for the good for yourself and for everyone else, then we are not going to have that prayer answered as we want all the time. All material things run out or wear out, and what we have is far from fairly distributed. So where is this thing called hope?

Read more: Reflecting on the true hope of Advent

cropped jpit logo updated small 05 16Ahead of the government’s Autumn Statement on Wednesday (23 November), the Joint Public Issues Team – comprising the United Reformed Church, The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland and the Methodist Church – is calling for assurances that families will be protected from the expected rise in inflation.

The JPIT Churches are calling for the Chancellor to not allow higher than expected inflation to further erode the value of benefits.

Read more: Church leaders: ‘Benefits freeze is putting the poorest in the way of economic harm’