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Local churches are joining schools, businesses and campaigners around the country to support farmers and other workers in developing countries during Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs until 12 March.

Church-based supporters hold baking events for the Traidcraft Big Brew, which ties in with Fairtrade Fortnight each year, or add home-baked goodies to their regular Traidcraft fairtrade stalls. Many run fairtrade-themed Junior Church and other activities using resources from Traidcraft or the Fairtrade Foundation. The Fairtrade Foundation has also produced a hard-hitting film, Don’t feed exploitation, which underlines how some of our food bargains are made possible only by exploiting workers, including children, in producer countries.

Read more: Churches rally for Fairtrade Fortnight 2017

voting imageThe General Assembly task group, which was set up following the 2016 General Assembly, has been asked to bring to General Assembly 2018 proposals for running the General Assembly from 2020 to 2030. To do this it needs to consult widely and is actively seeking opinions or insight from around the Church. In short, the task group wants to hear from you – and has devised a short online survey (which will not take more than ten minutes to complete) to help them more fully understand what the denomination wants from General Assembly.

Read more: Have your say on the future of General Assembly

Line upHow can local churches, congregations and communities use their strengths to spark transformation and growth?

That is the question at the heart of a new Appreciating Church website and book written by Fiona Thomas, United Reformed Church Secretary of Education and Learning, and Tim Slack, founder and co-director of the Appreciating People organisation. They worked as part of a group of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) practitioners drawn from ecumenical partners, advised and supported by Appreciating People.

Read more: Appreciating Church: book and website launch

Ash Wednesday ImageMr Alan Yates, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, reflects on how Ash Wednesday opens the door to thankfulness and revelation.

Ash Wednesday is a day welded into my memory – thanks to growing up as a Roman Catholic. It was one of the few times in the year that we would go to a weekday Mass before school. I used to have quite a long bus journey in the mornings so to go to Mass beforehand meant a very early start for a teenager: one of those rare occasions when I realised there were two 6 o’clocks in a day!

Read more: Ash Wednesday: refresh and prepare for the journey

handoverKaren Morrison leaves her post as Head of Children’s and Youth Work today (24 February) after 18 years of service with the United Reformed Church.

Colleagues and friends from Church House gathered in Lumen URC, London, to say goodbye to Karen and wish her well for the future. She received many presents, including book and gardening gift cards, cookery books from one of her favourite restaurants, and five fruit trees (to be delivered to her home...)

Read more: ‘Hand over the keys’ to children and young people