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MissionCouncilwebsitestoryThe United Reformed Church’s Mission Council is meeting at the High Leigh Conference Centre in Hertfordshire from 19 to 21 October.

Mission Council is the executive body of the General Assembly, and meets twice a year. Items on the agenda for this meeting include discussion on issues surrounding the deployment of Ministers of Word and Sacraments, the nature of call – in particular to ministry, the redevelopment of Church House and the 2017 budget.

Papers of the Mission Council are now available here.

The URC communications team will be reporting on Mission Council. The news pages and Facebook page will include updates on the main decisions throughout the meeting and a full report will be included in the December/January issue of Digest in Reform magazine.

Tea timeA new poem from United Reformed Church poet-minister, the Revd Lucy Berry. This month, Lucy reflects on Silent Stars, which was the theme of this year's Greenbelt Christian arts festival. She says: ‘Broadly, church and Church are in steady decline in Britain, with the exception of inner-city Pentecostal churches. I admire the silent stars in any organisation but it will not be individual acts of love, unselfishness, courage, or sacrifice which will save church.

Read more: Silent Stars

Bramhall youth imageBramhall URC in Stockport decided to join in with the phenomenon that swept the nation this summer: Pokémon GO!

The game, played on mobile phones, involves searching for – and catching – cartoon characters (called Pokémon). The characters appear on screen in houses, public areas, parks, beaches, gardens, shops, libraries and churches. If players want to catch Pokémon characters and score points, they have no choice other than to go to the physical place where the virtual characters might appear.

Read more: Joining in with PokéMission

Tessa Henry RobinsonTessa Henry-Robinson, who has been greatly involved with the Racial Justice Network and Cascades of Grace, offers the following reflection for Black History Month.

The times in which we live call for change, for us to be self-aware and to act in a way that brings a positive difference. The way we act ought to demonstrate deep awareness of how profoundly what we do in our lives matter. So seeking justice, sharing love and waking up to the fact that Black and other historically marginalised communities matter to God too, should matter to us all.

Read more: A call to liberating love

The United Reformed Church (URC) is launching the second phase of its Past Case Review on 4 October 2016 when the public are being invited to raise concerns formally about the behaviour, or conduct, of anyone affiliated with the URC since its formation in 1972.

The first phase, which ran from September 2015 to May 2016, involved reviewing all URC ministers’ files – both Ministers of Word and Sacrament and Church Related Community Workers.
The Revd Richard Church, the URC’s Deputy General Secretary (Discipleship), is responsible for the Past Case Review. He highlighted the progress to date and outlined the next phase of the ‘transparent, comprehensive and robust’ process. He said: ‘A specialist team read the records of everyone who held ministerial office from 1972 onwards, around 2,500 files, to look for any historic incidents of inappropriate behaviour or abuse that may have been overlooked at the time. Some significant cases emerged, but the majority were found to have been handled appropriately at the time.

Read more: United Reformed Church in second phase of Past Case Review