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john humphreys The Revd John Humphreys, who was Moderator of the United Reformed Church’s National Synod of Scotland until his retirement in June 2016, died early this morning, 17 November, peacefully at home, after a short illness.

Mr Humphreys was the only person to have been moderator of two URC synods, having served in Wales from 1989 to 2001, as well as in Scotland from 2005. He also served as Training Officer for the Mersey Synod and as a minister in the Reformed Church of Hungary.

The Revd John Proctor, the General Secretary of the URC, said today: ‘Few of our URC people can have been more widely liked and respected. He was a man of great kindness and gentleness – wise, purposeful, caring, and deeply committed to our Church and its people.’

Read more: John Humphreys: ‘A man of great kindness and gentleness’

pexel newsDaily Devotions from the United Reformed Church will start on the first Sunday of Advent (27 November) and continue throughout the year. Each day, a reading, reflection and short prayer, written by one of 85 writers from different places and perspectives in the URC, will arrive in your inbox. Over 750 people have signed up to receive the free Daily Devotion service so far. See here, to add your name.

Read more: Find inspiration in your inbox!

PHB writing image 2016Deadline for submissions: 28 November 2016

Could you write for the 2018 prayer handbook?  We’re looking for prayer writers – established and new, all ages, and all backgrounds – to write for the 2018 lectionary-based prayer handbook. Might this be you?  See more here.

Robben Island graveyardA new mid-month poem from United Reformed Church poet-minister, the Revd Lucy Berry. This month, Lucy reflects on the leper graves at Robben Island, South Africa. She says: ‘I write this from Cape Town after just having visited Robben Island. I hadn’t realised that every kind of leper was incarcerated there; anyone with whom those in charge, (often we British), could not cope or did not approve: those with Hansen’s Disease, those labelled ‘mentally defective’, those unimpressed by imposed Christianity, those unwilling to be governed by an invading force, those who believed in racial equality. I left the island feeling the disgrace of Empire – and fearing the trumped-up reasons we give for demonising other humans.

Read more: Lucy Berry poem on ‘Leper Graves: Robben Island’

United Church of ChristOn 8 November the United States of America elected a new President, Donald Trump, in a victory which culminated in his pledging to be ‘a President for all Americans’.

Yet many in the US have been deeply disturbed by the bitterness of the campaign, and particularly by the use of racist, misogynistic, homophobic and Islamophobic rhetoric. One of the United Reformed Church’s long-standing partner churches in the US, the United Church of Christ, has published the following comment:

Read more: Post-election hopes and prayers for the US