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October is Black History Month and the United Reformed Church Global and Intercultural Ministries team are calling on churches, both in the UK and around the world, to reflect on what Black History Month means for us as people of faith.

To mark the occasion, we will be sharing weekly reflections from church leaders from around the world and sharing resources and materials on our Facebook and Twitter pages. The first reflection is by the Revd Dr Collin Cowan, General Secretary of the Council for World Mission:

Read more: Black Lives Matter…at all times

URCMembersThe United Reformed Church (URC) is sponsoring a new environmental activism programme, called the ACTCommunity, which is designed to equip Christian leaders with the theological and practical skills they need to tackle climate change – starting with their local community!

The year-long programme, which provides training and mentoring on a range of community organising techniques, helps Christians ground their activism at a local level, and hopes to enhance and develop church-led campaigning for climate justice. The pilot seeks to address one of the biggest challenges facing climate change activism, namely that it tends to attract individual enthusiasts rather than foster broad-based support from whole communities.

Read more: Launch of the ACTCommunity at Luther King House

The United Reformed Church has added its voice to a plea from faith representatives and leaders for the government to revise its policy towards refugees. More than 200 of the ‘people of faith’ co-signed an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, asking for more refugees to be admitted into the UK and that greater effort should be made to welcome them.

Acting in the face of what they described as ‘the unfolding human catastrophe’, supporters of the interfaith refugee initiative urged the government to adhere to four refugee principles:

Read more: Joining in call for government to give more refugee support

David HerbertThe Revd David Herbert was inducted as the United Reformed Church’s new Moderator of Northern Synod on 17 September, at a joyful service in St James’ United Reformed Church, Newcastle.

The service was attended by a large congregation, some of whom had travelled the length and breadth of the country to be part of the special occasion. People from churches of the Northern Synod joined in worship and celebration along with colleagues, David’s family and friends, and church and faith leaders. The Revd Steven Faber, Moderator of West Midlands Synod, represented other synod moderators – and civic guests included the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear and the Sheriff of Newcastle.

Read more: Celebrations to mark Induction of new Northern Synod Moderator

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published the biggest ever review into race equality in Britain. The report, ‘Healing a divided Britain – the need for a comprehensive race equality strategy’, found that life has got much worse for ethnic minority groups, especially young black people, over the past five years. The study covered every aspect of people’s lives, including education, employment, housing, pay and living standards, health, criminal justice and participation.

Reflecting on the findings, the URC’s global and intercultural ministries team, said it is evident that not enough is being done to tackle the increasing racial tensions and widening inequalities in our country. ‘These inequalities are not new,’ the team added. ‘They are deep-rooted. And as Christians we have a duty to work to guarantee the fullness of life for all, a life free of racism, xenophobia, hate-crimes and structural inequalities.’