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DigestNews from the United Reformed Church

APRIL 2024

United Reformed Church House, 86 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9RT | www.urc.org.uk | 020 7916 2020 Share your news with us – email reform@urc.org.uk or pressoffice@urc.org.uk

URC WELCOMES WELBY U-TURN

The United Reformed Church has welcomed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s decision to meet with the Revd Dr Munther Issac, pastor of the Christmas Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bethlehem. Justin Welby had previously said he wouldn’t meet Dr Isaac out of concern for his relations with the Jewish community in the UK.

The URC has strong links with Dr Isaac, who responded positively to the decision by the 2021 URC General Assembly to pass ten significant resolutions relating to the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. At the time, he said the resolutions were ‘a confirmation to us in Palestine that our calls have not gone in vain … This gives us hope.’

In February this year, Dr Isaac spoke at a Palestinian Solidarity Campaign in central London and at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church the following day, where he was supported by URC members and friends of the denomination (pictured). He had attracted widespread media attention after his Christmas sermon went viral. He suggested that if Jesus was born today, it would have been under the rubble.

In reconsidering his position, Justin Welby said: ‘I was wrong not to meet with my brother in Christ from the Holy Land, especially at this time of profound suffering for our Palestinian Christian brothers and sisters.’

Churches support voting registration An alliance of Churches has been accredited as ambassadors for the Voter Registration Champions initiative set up by Citizens UK.

The Baptist Union of Great Britain, Church of Scotland, Methodist Church and United Reformed Church are helping drive a scheme that will equip local churches to increase democratic participation through registering people to vote, providing information about the need to

Inside: • Dream on with Greenbelt • Cycling to her centenary • Bristol celebrates Ukraine have appropriate photo ID, and encouraging people to vote on polling day.

The Electoral Commission warns that eight million eligible voters may not vote at the next General Election because they haven’t registered to vote in time, and four million may not vote because they do not have appropriate photo ID. Among those most likely to be impacted are young people, non-UK nationals, home renters, and those who are economically disadvantaged or from an ethnic minority.

Local churches are encouraged to sign up as Voter Registration Champions, as a way of helping to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate and be heard in the democratic process.

Thomas Hart, Youth President of the Methodist Church, said: ‘I would particularly encourage our young people to register, and then to exercise their democratic right to vote. Young people have the greatest stake in the future, so our engagement in the democratic process is vital.’

For more information, go to Voter Registration Champion and register as a faith or community group: bit.ly/3ltrwBF

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Digest • April 2024 • 1

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