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StarThe URC celebrated a successful debut as an associate partner of the Greenbelt arts, faith and justice festival. Greenbelt took place in the grounds of Boughton House, Northamptonshire, over August Bank Holiday Weekend, and the packed programme featured four URC-led events on the theme of ‘Scrap the Church?’. A panel discussion took place on Saturday, considering whether the Church is what Jesus had in mind when he talked about the Kingdom of God; Cake and Debate on the same theme for young people took place the next day; and pop-up liturgy focused on discovering Jesus at the tomb, on the road to Emmaus and at the lakeside. A star-themed treasure hunt proved to be particularly popular, while an art installation featuring a scrap metal church prompted many a discussion as it changed shape over the course of the weekend! Plans are now being made for the URC’s involvement in Greenbelt 2017.

greenbelt image 1Final preparations are now underway for the United Reformed Church’s debut as an associate partner at the Greenbelt Christian arts festival where the programme will feature URC-led events on the theme of ‘Scrap the Church?’

Those events are to include the transformation of a large-scale, scrap metal church installation over the course of the bank holiday weekend. The festival, running from Friday (26 August) to Monday at Boughton House in Northamptonshire, will also be the setting for a panel discussion considering whether the Church is the kind of thing that Jesus had in mind when he talked about the Kingdom of God and, if not, considering alternatives to a ‘business as usual’ approach to church life.

Read more: Ready to ‘Scrap the Church?’ at Greenbelt

Some say The End is coming.
Some say the Time is Nigh.
Some say this current mayhem
bodes Justice from on high;
There’s talk of Armageddon
on some believers’ lips:
the final Time of Trial,
God’s great Apocalypse.

Read more: Armageddon

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees has launched an enquiry into the experiences of new refugees in the UK. The enquiry will look particularly at the experiences of refugees who have claimed asylum in the UK, as well as those who have arrived in the UK through other paths, such as the Syrian vulnerable person resettlement programme. They have requested that organisations involved in supporting refugees submit evidence to the inquiry panel, who will consider what more could be done to support refugees and those communities and organisations which support them.  

The Joint Public Issues Team would like to hear from you if:

  1. You are a refugee in the UK
  2. If your Church is involved in supporting refugees in the UK
  3. If you directly work with or support refugees in the UK
Read more: If you’re a refugee, or helping refugees, we want to hear from you

Church leaders in Britain have expressed their deep sadness at the ‘brutal murder’ of a French priest, Fr Jacques Hamel, in his church near Rouen. The joint presidents of Churches Together in England say in a statement:  

‘That a man of peace who had dedicated his life to serving people, could be killed during Mass, is testimony to the evil that drives the actions of those who commit such a crime. 

‘We offer our deepest sympathy to his family, friends and parishioners. We pray for the wellbeing of those who were taken hostage, their families and the entire community served by Fr Jacques; indeed we pray for the peace of France, Europe, the Middle East and the world for which Jesus, the Prince of Peace, gave his own life.

The presidents of Churches Together in England include the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, and the Free Churches Moderator, Hugh Osgood.

They go on to call upon all people of goodwill to pray and work for justice and peace. In particular, they implore everyone to help people everywhere to pursue the path of peace and human flourishing – which is the will of Creator God. 

The General Secretary of the United Reformed Church, the Revd John Proctor, added, ‘We care – for the sanctity and safety of life, for the sorrows of friend and stranger, and for the peace that God calls us to seek in prayer, attitude and action. These are times to live by that care, for Christ’s sake.’

More details at www.cte.org.uk