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Robert Kityo is a gay member of the Metropolitan Congregation of Wilbraham St Ninian's URC in Manchester who fled Uganda to seek sanctuary in the UK – he was put in immigration detention this week, on Tuesday 10 November.

The Home Office has ruled that that it is possible for him to live discretely and safely as a gay man in Uganda – despite a Supreme Court ruling to the contrary. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and it is the belief of many in the United Reformed Church that Mr Kityo will not be free to lead a full life in Uganda, and that, by deporting him, he will be put at risk.

His legal team is trying to secure his release and a court order compelling the Home Office to reconsider. Andy Braunston, former pastor of the Metropolitan Church and currently North Western Synod Clerk is asking URC members to pray for Robert Kityo and to sign a change.org petition to the Home Secretary calling for him to be granted asylum in the UK.

Update: Saturday 14 November

Today Robert Kityo has been released from the immigration centre in which he has been detained since Tuesday. He has been told that the Home Office has withdrawn their decision in his asylum case and will make a new one in due course. It is likely that any new refusal of his claim for asylum will include permission to appeal to an Asylum court.

Andy Braunston, North Western Synod Clerk, said: “The wonderful news that the Home Office have withdrawn their refusal to grant Robert asylum shows the power of the prayers of God's people alongside sterling legal work and passionate campaigning – nearly 2,000 people have signed Robert's petition which was only launched on Tuesday. Robert is encouraged by the amount of support he has received – particularly from fellow members of the United Reformed Church."

The United Reformed Church's annual New Ministers’ Conference has just taken place in London.

Seventeen new ministers, including one Church Related Community Worker (CRCW), met on 10 November for welcome talks from John Proctor, the General Secretary of the United Reformed Church, and Elizabeth Gray-King, Education & Learning Programme Officer.

New United Reformed Ministers 2015

New ministers from left to right: Peter Kimberley, Zadie Orr, Elaine Colechin, Matthew Prevett, Jim Williams, Sam Aspinal, Henriette Wentink, Ruth Wilson, Bruno Boldrini, Kirsty Mabbott (CRCW), Bryn Rickards, Nadine Snyman, Martin Belgrove, Chris Dowd, Janine Atkinson, Catherine McFie and Catherine Lewis-Smith
Image © Chris Andrews/URC

On 11 November the group met in Church House in London for a day of departmental presentations.

Elizabeth Gray-King said: "It is great to have so many engaged and engaging people entering into the ministry of the United Reformed Church. We look forward to seeing how a group of people with such varied backgrounds will contribute to all that the URC will be."

A team in Mersey synod has brought together two things at which the United Reformed Church excels – singing and eating cake – to reinvigorate worship.

cafejamThe idea of Cafe Jam is simple: every couple of months there's an informal worship service led by a band that is drawn from several United Reformed Churches. As it moves from church to church around the synod it draws in locals and dedicated followers.

As people arrive they are welcomed into a room set out cafe style rather than rows of chairs or pews. 

Read more: Cafe Jam breathes new life into worship

The autumn meeting of the United Reformed Church's Mission Council takes place at the Hayes Conference Centre in Derbyshire this weekend (13 to 15 November) opening at 2pm on Friday 13 November.group shot mc nov13

Mission Council is the executive body of the General Assembly and meets twice a year. Agenda items include a progress report on the denomination’s Safeguarding Historic Cases Review; an important discussion on extending the authority of some elders to preside at Holy Communion; a paper on 'Missional Discipleship' with an emphasis on making and releasing disciples within the URC and a fresh look at the Church's environmental policy and the steps it can take to reduce its carbon footprint.  Mission Council will also enjoy a presentation from The Revd David Grosch-Miller, moderator of the General Assembly, on his recent trip to Papua Guinea and Korea.

Read more: Mission Council meets

The Revd John Proctor, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church, considers hope, pain and the act of remembering

Silence is to remember – the dead of two world wars and a hundred smaller conflicts. But also wars that go on, and casualties that remain from wars that are past.

Remembrance Sunday, Rotherham 2014
Remembrance Sunday, Rotherham 2014 © chrisfp

Soldiers from your town and mine drawing breath after Iraq and Afghanistan, wondering where they will be sent next; Syrian refugees in camps, in transit, in boats, and always in fear; burned villages in South Sudan; tension and division in Ukraine; bodies on the street in Burundi; child soldiers in Uganda learning new ways to live; divided families in Korea; scars of Vietnam in the hearts of grey-haired men; walls in Israel, and slow rebuilding in Gaza. 

Read more: Remembrance