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The Reverend Mitchell Bunting has been appointed as part-time Transitional Director of the Windermere Centre from 1 December 2016 to 31 May 2017. Mr Bunting is very familiar with the work of the centre, as he has been serving as convenor of the Windermere management committee since July 2014. Thanks are expressed to Rebecca Gudgeon, who willingly stood in during the absence of a Director.

Read more: New Director for the Windermere Centre

john humphreys

A new film released today highlights some of the challenges facing asylum seekers in the UK through a modern retelling of the nativity story. This release comes the day after new figures from the Government were published revealing that in September of this year 37,958 asylum seekers in the UK were in receipt of accommodation and/or financial support of less than £6 per day.

Read more: A Very British Nativity highlights UK’s ‘hostile environment’ for asylum seekers

Lent candleI am a hopeful ‘hopeless case’

The Revd Kevin Watson, General Assembly Moderator, explores the true meaning of hope at Advent.

Is it human nature, or is it just me? I am constantly reducing this amazing thing called hope to something that’s no more than a wish-list.

Once a year I hope I get something nice for Christmas.

Maybe once in a lifetime I hope I win the lottery.

And every day I hope there’s something good for tea!

Even when I am being less selfish, and call it prayer, I am still hoping for good things – that she is healed, or he gets a job, or they are saved from war. All good stuff, but the more I think about it, it is doomed to fail. Of course, I believe in the power of prayer and there are more miracles than we can ever realise but, if it is human nature to be always hoping for the good for yourself and for everyone else, then we are not going to have that prayer answered as we want all the time. All material things run out or wear out, and what we have is far from fairly distributed. So where is this thing called hope?

Read more: Reflecting on the true hope of Advent

Signing a statementThe United Nations has warned mass starvation in Aleppo is a real prospect if aid is not allowed in. As the city comes under further bombardment and food is about to run out; Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh and Hindu faith leaders – including the Revd John Proctor, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church – call on the UK government to act.

The faith leaders issued the following statement today (28 November).

Read more: Churches call for government and UN to act on Aleppo

Warwick CastleOpen up those 2017 diaries and make a date for Saturday 20 May when the whole URC is invited to enjoy The Big Day Out, organised by Pilots, at Warwick Castle.

This is festival for all ages where activities will run from 10am to 5pm in the historic and beautiful setting. Individuals and groups, with their church communities and wider family and friends, are all welcome to be part of what promises to be a day to remember.

Read more: Book now for The Big Day Out!