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Away with discrimination and hatred

stop hatingThe United Reformed Church is encouraging its young people aged between 11 and 25 years, to enter a short article competition on the theme “away with discrimination and hatred”. The competition is a joint initiative sponsored by the Fellowship of United Reformed Youth (FURY) and the Racial Justice and Intercultural Ministry (RJiM) department of the URC. It is calling for articles of approximately five hundred words that answer the following questions:

• What would you do to counter discrimination?

• How will you engage hatred and intolerance to become an agent of change?

• How will you become part of the solution?

The competition hopes to encourage discussion on divergent expressions of hatred, tolerance and discrimination and offers awards for the four best entries.

Matthew Barkley, FURY moderator, said: “Youth Assembly concentrated on issues relating to disability as just one example of where people have experienced intolerance and discrimination. This competition offers an opportunity for young people to be a voice of change for all who suffer hatred and injustice.”

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Planting poppies for peace and remembrance

poppy seeds handsThe United Reformed Church is encouraging churches and individuals across the three nations to plant red and white poppies on Good Friday and/or during Holy Week to mark the 100 year commemoration of the declaration of the First World War.

The campaign is a joint initiative from the mission and communications committees of the URC and is part of the denomination’s commemorations to mark  the centenary of the outbreak of the four years of World War One.  The Church is encouraging the planting of both white poppies for peace and red poppies for remembrance. 

Gill Nichol, the URC’s interim director of Communications, said: “The idea is to encourage URC churches across the three nations to plant both red poppies and white poppies, in land, window boxes, or even tubs outside their church building during Holy Week, with the idea that they will be in bloom on or around 4 August – the 100 year commemoration of the declaration of war.

“This initiative was first announced at Mission Council in March, and then relayed to churches via the March Synod meetings ... we had 100 packets of red  and 100 packets of white seeds to give away – and we were thrilled with how quickly they were snapped up!  We’ve now sent those seeds out, and given every synod moderator some seeds too – so we hope that United Reformed Churches in every part of England, Scotland and Wales will be busy planting seeds in April, and watching them bloom in August!”

Resources – including prayers to be said during the planting of the seeds and a template news release which local churches taking part in the initiative can use – are available here.

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United Reformed Church nominates its next General Secretary

general secretaryFollowing the resignation of the Revd Roberta Rominger in November 2013, the General Secretary Nomination Group of the United Reformed Church has been seeking her successor.

The nomination group, which is responsible for bringing a single name to the denomination’s General Assembly this July, has now completed its work and is nominating the Revd John Proctor, currently vice-principal of Westminster College in Cambridge, to be the URC’s next general secretary.  If General Assembly accepts the nomination Mr Proctor will be inducted as general secretary on Sunday 6 July at the end of General Assembly.  His term of office will therefore overlap with that of Mrs Rominger who will formally step down from the role on 31 July 2014.

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United Reformed Church condemn state violence in Taiwan

URC-Logo-Medium-2014The United Reformed Church has issued a statement of support and solidarity for their partner church, the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, in response to the recent news release following the use of state-sanctioned violence against non-violent protestors, who occupied the Legislative Yuan (branch of government) on the evening of 18 March 2014.

The protests by the “318 student movement” were motivated by the government’s lack of transparency over the Ma Ying-Jeou administration’s decision to rescind the trade and service pact with China. The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, along with student movements, civil organisations and members of the general public, have argued that Taiwan’s ruling party, Kuo-min-tang, violated democratic  process “to ram through measures that favour the ruling party and its business interest” at the expense of the rights of the people of Taiwan.

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