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Foodbanks resource commended to churches

FaithInFoodbanks-Logo1-429x450The Faith in Foodbanks? resource pack produced by the Joint Public Issues Team was unanimously commended to churches by Assembly. The Revd Tracey Lewis, presenting the resolution, noted increasing numbers of people having to use foodbanks, who are not “scroungers” but people, often working, who cannot make ends meet. It is presently only available online, but Assembly agreed that a print version should be produced, which the Mission Committee agreed to. To download the pack, visit here.

Community Project Award winners

 DSC5877This lunch time the General Assembly celebrated the work of the many community-based projects based in or linked to United Reformed Churches the length and breadth of the three nations.

At a short awards ceremony Michael Jagessar, the immediate past moderator of the General Assembly and one of the judges of the awards, made mention of the high standard of the awards and of the very difficult task the judges had faced in choosing just four winners.

The overall winner, presented with a cheque for £3,500 and a wall plaque, was Glenorchy Work Club. Based at Glenorchy United Reformed Church in Exmouth, the Work Club provides specialist help to the unemployed community following the closure of Exmouth job centre. No formal records are kept, but in the two years since the project opened, at least 110 people have found work as a direct result of help received at the Work Club.

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Assembly discusses marriage of same-sex couples

Assembly-Hall-imageFollowing a discussion on the marriage of same-sex couples, General Assembly is to appoint a facilitation group to draw up a resolution on the issue, which will be debated later in the Assembly.

Before the discussion began, chaplain Nigel Uden led Assembly in prayer, asking that the “lively presence of the Holy Spirit” would not be resisted. Elizabeth Caswell, convener of the Human Sexuality Task Group, explained that the group had not wanted to steer Assembly by bringing its own resolution. Instead it wished to encourage open discussion, allowing General Assembly to “listen and listen”, trust the Holy Spirit and “see what happens next”.

A range of views and personal stories were shared in a plenary forum chaired by moderator David Grosch-Miller:

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The future of the United Reformed Church

facebook banner assembly14General Assembly discussed the future of the church, and agreed to three resolutions instructing the Faith and Order committee to continue with its work on this and bring a proposal to the 2016 Assembly. Presenting the resolutions, the Revd Elizabeth Welch, said that they affirm the United Reformed Church’s identity as both united and Reformed. They affirm the URC’s gift of conciliarity while opening up conversation on how well it is working and how to develop it, she said. And they match a need - the lack of ministers - with a gift of the Reformed tradition - eldership.

Comments from delegates included the following: “The URC should be a prophetic witness to unity even if other denominations are no longer so interested.” “We need to consider how developing URC conciliarity will effect LEPs.” “Changing the role of elders should be done for theological reasons, not just to plug a gap.” Mrs Welch said the committee would look at the issues raised before presenting their 2016 proposal.