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Same sex marriage survey news images 554x415A Sarum College masters student is inviting local United Reformed churches to share their responses to the General Assembly decision last July, which allowed United Reformed Church premises to register for the marriage of same-sex couples. As part of her dissertation for an MA in Theology, Imagination and Culture, Carole Allen is keen to gather information on how many churches have discussed or voted on the option to register their premises and what the outcomes have been.

Carole says: ‘My dissertation aims to explore the theological arguments both in favour of, and against, same-sex marriage … I hope to report, as accurately as possible, the responses of individual United Reformed Church congregations across the denomination in the year following the July 2016 pronouncement and to reflect generally the situation within the denomination at this time.’

Read more: Study seeks responses to GA decision on marriage for same-sex couples

Vocations pic

Life presents us with many possible vocations, yet it is not always easy to discern our own calling. Vocations Sunday, which this year falls on 7 May, encourages us to reflect and ask the questions that help us to discover God’s call to each of us.

Over the last 13 years, each synod of the United Reformed Church has offered resources on behalf of the whole denomination to support worship and reflection on Vocations Sunday. This year’s resources are produced by a group of students and staff at Westminster College, Cambridge – a URC centre for learning – and are available to download here. The authors said:

Read more: Vocations Sunday 7 May: 'All are called … some are called to …'

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’

pots

Over 500 churches, including 50 United Reformed Church congregations, are now registered with the Eco Church scheme launched last year by Christian environmental charity, A Rocha UK. The 500th local church to register was Great Chishill United Reformed Church, south Cambridgeshire.

As the successor to Eco Congregations in England and Wales (Eco Congregations continues in Scotland), Eco Church is based on a simple online survey. Users register for free and can revisit the questionnaire as often as they wish to report on their eco efforts in areas of church life including worship, building management and community engagement. The website keeps note of their progress scores and indicates when they qualify for an award.

Read more: User-friendly Eco Church scheme passes 500 mark

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