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news banner coins 2512279 1920 pixabayFour churches, who have repeatedly expressed concerns about Universal Credit, have called the findings in a new report by the National Audit Office (NAO) ‘deeply concerning’.

Earlier today (Friday 15 June) the NAO released a report, entitled ‘Rolling out Universal Credit’ which stated the welfare benefit was not value for money and failed to meet its financial objectives.

It is the first official document to take seriously the concerns of claimants and acknowledges the problems they are facing.

Read more: Churches express 'deep concern' about National Audit Office report into Universal Credit

PIC Assembly Hall credit Google mapsThe Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, has expressed sadness after the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) voted to loosen its ties with the United Reformed Church and the Church of Scotland.

On Wednesday 6 June, during its meeting in Belfast, the PCI General Assembly voted 255 to 171 to accept the recommendation of the doctrine committee’s ‘Relationships with other denominations’ task group which was to ‘… no longer accept invitations to the Moderator of the General Assembly, or any other formal delegation, to attend the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland and the United Reformed Church and no longer issue invitations to those two denominations to attend the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’.

During the week the PCI also adopted a new policy that means anyone in a same-sex relationship cannot become a full member of its denomination and their children cannot be baptised.

Read more: Presbyterian Church in Ireland loosens ties with the URC

John Proctor with Dr Seth Agidi moderatorsA 50-year-old partnership that celebrated an ending and marked a transition in 2011 was reignited today (Monday 11 June), at United Reformed Church House in London.

The Revd John Proctor, General Secretary of the URC, and Mr Alan Yates, Moderator of the General Assembly, met with the Rt Revd Dr Seth Agidi, Moderator of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana (EPCG), the Revd Dr Emmanuel Amey, Clerk of the EPCG General Assembly, the Revd Frank Anipa, minister of EPCG’s Milton Keynes/Luton parish, and the Revd Derrick Sena Dzandu-Hedidor, who began his ministry in the EPCG and is now Clerk of the URC’s Southern Synod, to reaffirm a longstanding relationship and sign a new partnership agreement between the two churches.

Read more: URC and Evangelical Presbyterian Church Ghana renew partnership agreement

news banner Finding God in unexpected places credit Matt Collamer UnsplashAfter four years of training, Jo Patterson, a Church Related Community Work student, reflects on the experiences that she has been ‘blessed to witness’.

According to Jo, there are obvious places where people would expect to find God; a common place being ‘when we come together to worship in song, prayer and sometimes in ritual or liturgy’.

But, she asks: ‘What if we arrive carrying burdens, weighed down by grief, pain or sorrow?’

Read more: Finding God in unexpected places

News banner The Massacre of the Lamented Missionary the Revd J Williams and Mr Harris 1841 credit George Baxter 1804 1867 WikiCommonsAn ula throwing club and a Maori canoe bailer, brought back from the South Pacific by the Revd John Williams, a missionary with the London Missionary Society (LMS), have been sold at auction for thousands of pounds.

The items, which sold for £1,200 and £9,500 respectively, had remained in Mr Williams’ family since his death in 1839 at the hands of the indigenous population of the island of Erromango, Vanuatu. During an attempt to spread news of the Gospel, Mr Williams, along with fellow missionary James Harris, was beaten, killed, and eaten, by islanders who had been previously mistreated by the crew of a trading ship.

Read more: Artefacts owned by John Williams sold at auction