DigestNews from the United Reformed Church

MAY 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


In response to the escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Commitment for Life, the URC’s global justice programme, has launched an appeal.

The aim is to raise £10,000 to provide vital support and aid through partner agencies Christian Aid, the Culture and Free Thought Association (CFTA), and the

Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC).

On 18 March, the US government declared that Gaza’s two million men, women and children are facing ‘severe levels of acute food insecurity’.

The European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operation’s High Representative Josep Borrell and Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič said no analysis has ever recorded such levels of food insecurity anywhere in the world. This is the first time an entire population has been classified in this way.

CFTA is working across refugee camps in Rafah, piloting water distribution for hygiene by working with well owners across Gaza, and working with local farmers who are risking their lives to tend their crops, then distributing vegetables to their communities. PARC is providing food for displaced Gaza refugees in the most desperate of circumstances.

William Bell, Christian Aid’s Head of Middle East Policy and Advocacy, said: ‘Nobody is safe, but still our partners are doing extraordinary work in the most extreme conditions.’

To donate, go to the URC Commitment for Life page on the website donate.giveasyoulive.com.

Free to Believe asks: ‘What does it mean to have a body?’ The 2024 Free to Believe conference will be led by Kathy Galloway, Victoria Turner and the Revd Fiona Bennett on the theme ‘Coming

to our senses’. It takes place at The Hayes Conference Centre, Derbyshire, Wednesday 4 September to Friday 6 September 2024.

The theme focuses on embodiment, ‘a continuing challenge for churches, and worldwide.’ The organisers say: ‘Ultimately, we are all

Inside: • ‘The long and winding road’ • Most romantic Easter egg • WhatsApp worship

to BelieveFree

Committed to an open, inclusive and thinking faith

inconvenient, useless. Life is not a possession to be accumulated, but a gift to be appreciated

and cherished. The value of life is intrinsic, in the living of it.

‘What does it really mean to us to be embodied, to be creature? Perhaps to answer this, we need to come back to our senses.’

Kathy says: ‘We are embodied, whole persons, and the human body is to be cherished, not starved, beaten and killed, because it is holy ... We are co-creators – we can create nothing out of nothing, but only in relationship and exchange with the earth.’

Kathy Galloway is a former Leader of the Iona Community and former Head of Christian Aid Scotland. Also speaking is Victoria Turner, editor of the book Young, Woke and Christian. Leading worship with Kathy is Fiona Bennett, Minister of Augustine United Church, Edinburgh.

Tickets are £275. For more information and to book, visit freetobelieve.org.uk/conferences

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Digest • May 2024 • 1